By Constance Dobbs, Remedial and Counseling Program Coordinator, New Hope Staff since 2003
Nabulungi Scovia*, 16, was abducted by the rebel group “Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA) when she was nine. She escaped after six months but the scars from that time run deep. Scovia came to Kobwin with a lot of anger. Though she enjoys living in a place where she is not referred to by the demeaning label “Kony’s Wife” that she has often heard, she is still very insecure and affected by the trauma of her ordeal. The Kobwin staff continue to love her and look forward to seeing her freed from the chains that bind her.
14-year-old Latolo John*, one of 15 boys now living full-time at New Hope’s Kobwin Children’s Centre, spent significant time in Interally Displaced Person (IDP) camps following the chaos and atrocities of the LRA. Such camps can be quite dehumanizing as those there have no work opportunities nor hope of providing for themselves. The only option often seems to be to sit and wait for the next relief agency to come and provide food.
John’s father had died and his mother was unable to pay for any schooling. There seemed to be no future. John enjoyed getting to know New Hope teams who would come to his area and offer camps. When Kobwin officially opened in March, John and his mother jumped at the opportunity. Now, receiving daily remediation schooling, John is preparing for his P7 exam. He talks about being so thankful for the opportunity to go to school and looks forward to one day being able to help his family with the skills he is now acquiring. Though he is still fairly quiet, he has started to develop into praise and worship leader among his peers, even though he is one of the youngest at Kobwin. John is very much still developing, but God is transforming his life and he now lives with hope.
*Names have been changed
Our Kobwin Centre opened officially with the first 21 children like Scovia and John and coming to live with us in mid- March of 2010. All of these
children came from Amuria District and where each of them either lived in an Internally Dispaced Persons (IDP) Camp for a prolonged period of time and had been either traumatized by the war in the North or had actually been abducted by members of the LRA and consequently, had become a part of them.
Kobwin Centre was a long time in the making, but God’s timing is always perfect! In 2003 while members of New Hope Uganda’s Kasana Children’s Centre were part of a month-long relief effort in Soroti, the vision for Kobwin Centre was birthed. We actually took possession of the land at Kobwin in 2005, after having moved from what we thought would be the start up site in nearby Bugondo. From 2005-the end of 2009 only a skeleton staff of two couples and their children were in Kobwin, developing the gardens, planning for the future, building the existing structures. Those two couples are still with us as part of the current Kobwin staff and have had the joy of seeing their long wait pay off this year.
In August of 2007, after having identified Amuria as the area that we would bring our first children from
the group of 50 children from Amuria, came to Kobwin to attend our first camp held for them. Thus we slowly began building relationship with a large of traumatized children from whom we would eventually chose the first 21 children from 2 ½ years later. These camps continued as our relationship with the children continued to blossom so that when they arrived in March of 2010 it was more like a homecoming than a coming to a new place. The two years of camps was one of the best investments we could have ever made in these children and really was testimony to how waiting on the Father’s perfect timing has great rewards!
We currently have 21 children from Amuria lining in the family group headed by one of our own sons with his wife and three young boys. The children range in age from 14 – 18 years plus one 21 year old. Of the 21, 10 are former abductees. They were each with the LRA for varying amounts of time, from 2 months to 1 ½ years. The other 11 had their lives tremendously disrupted by the life in various IDP camps. All are behind where they would be in school if not for the war in the North. There are six boys who attend a nearby (walking distance) secondary school and are in S1 and S2. The remaining 15 attend our primary school on the Kobwin site and are in P4, P6and P7. We have 5 girls and 16 boys.
In their time outside of school hours, our kids can be found in the normal activities of the people of Uganda. They dig in the gardens, maintain our compound, fetch water, clean their houses, wash their clothing, help with the family parent’s children, play football and other games, develop their artistic talents attend family devotions, small group mentoring and counseling and just enjoy one another, in general!
We currently have maize, cassava, ground nuts, sweet potatoes, and vegetables growing in our gardens. We are yet to be self sufficient but should produce 40% of our own food this year.
We praise God for all He is doing at Kobwin and for all of the prayers and support that have made it possible.
Staff housing, both for singles and families
Completion of our admin block
A Clinic building
Vehicles and the funds to operate and maintain them.
Two primary teachers
Child Sponsorship: This is a non-relational sponsorship that involves commitment to prayer support for the child and $30 a month financial support.
Staff Sponsorship: Two couples, nurse, two additional teachers, when they are in place
Donate to Kobwin
Contact our Sponsorship Office