The task of bringing the fatherhood of God to the fatherless does not come with a one-size-fits-all manual. Each community, family, and child has a unique story with unique beauty, unique needs, and unique pain- calling for unique responses. One of the core values of New Hope Uganda is to uphold and strengthen a child’s biological family and to in no way usurp their God-given authority and responsibility in a child’s life. Each child has a family. Be it broken, dysfunctional, unknown or deceased, he or she has family. And this must be the place we begin as we seek to bring God’s fatherhood to those who are suffering. Many times, the family a child has is not able to care for them, is no longer living, is unknown, or is not safe. In those times, Hope Family staff provide tender love and care and a safe home for those little ones.
But many times, a family simply needs guidance, assistance, or intervention and then they can step into their God-ordained role in a child’s life.
This is where Hope Family’s Outreach Program comes in.
“Our main priority,” Sambwe Rogers, Hope Family’s Social Worker shared, “is to strengthen the ability of a family to care for a baby, instead of bringing the child from their community into Hope Family. We want to make sure a child is supported where they are… encouraging the family to care for the child… rather than looking at Hope Family to do everything.”
“We can’t help everyone who comes to us asking for help,” Sambwe continued, “so we have to do very careful investigations.” If immediate medical care and intervention is needed, New Hope Uganda steps in to help right away, while still continuing to investigate and gain a clear understanding of the child’s whole story. A study is done to determine how vulnerable the child is, how strong the extended family is, what the actual needs are, etc.… Once it is determined that there is a network in place for the baby’s care (and the baby doesn’t need to be brought in to Hope Family), the outreach staff begin to work with the relatives to create a support plan for the little one.
NHU through Hope Family Outreach provides formula for tiny babies, cow’s milk for babies 7 months and above, and highly nutritional porridge for those transitioning to solid foods. They also provide medication and medical care through our own clinic and Kiwoko Hospital. Another major component of the support plan is counsel. Hope Family staff spend much time meeting with, listening to, and giving advice to the baby’s guardian(s) with an ultimate desire of introducing the family to the true Father to the fatherless, Defender of widows, and Savior to all who call on Him!
When a child becomes old enough to eat solid foods only, and Hope Family is convinced they are secure, are healthy, and no longer in need, they are transitioned off the program. However, Hope Family staff continue to visit the child each month, and follow up with phone calls to ensure that the child is thriving and the guardian is doing well.
Little Helen was one such child. Hope Family staff were made aware of her when she was 4-months old. Her mother had died, her father was no where to be seen, and little Helen was very malnourished in the care of her grandmother. Helen’s grandmother requested New Hope Uganda to take the child from her and raise her, as she had no way of giving Helen the care and nourishment she needed. However, Hope Family was able to offer formula, medical care, and moral support, and to encourage the grandmother of the invaluable role she had in the life of this little girl. Through the help and encouragement given, Helen soon stabilized and began to grow and flourish. Today, she is still living with her grandmother and is now in preschool!
Another story is of twins who were found in Luweero in terrible condition. Their mother had died, and the father had no way to give them the milk and care they needed. He was also overcome with fear because he believed that his wife had died as a result of witchcraft. However, as Hope Family outreach staff stood with him and began to help him practically care for his children, they also began to reach out to him as well. He was grieving, overwhelmed, and scared. “Because of the visits I used to make, the phone calls, and spending time with him,” Sambwe shared, “the father gave his life to Jesus!” He is now attending church regularly, and caring for his own children. He also now understands the medical reason his wife passed away, and is not bound by fear as he was before.
Currently, Hope Family Outreach is caring for 21 babies in the community, all of whom are living with relatives. 21 babies who might otherwise have died, 21 babies being cared for by their own relatives and being raised in their own communities. 21 families being empowered to care for those who need them most!