Building Relationship with the Community Around Us

Kobwin Children’s Centre received the first group of children onsite on November 3, 2009.  We started with five staff members who took turns in caring for the children in the family since we did not yet have permanent family parents.

We had a number of challenges – spiritual, material, and social.

In addition to our internal challenges, the external pressure was mounting and hitting us so hard.

The community around us had not understood what, why and how we were doing things. They felt they had nothing to benefit from since we were caring for children from Amuria District who had been rescued from LRA rebels – not children from Kumi District where Kobwin Children’s Centre is located.

So the community tried all ways of getting us out of Kobwin.  They even denied us many services like water and let their animals destroy our crops, etc.

As time went on, by the grace of God we continued pursuing relationship with the community.  We went out to the community sharing our vision and the Word of God.  Slowly, we started seeing and experiencing a positive response from a few individuals in the community, and some started visiting and coming for church services on site.

When we started recruiting children from the community into our programs, our relationship with the community began growing because they saw themselves directly benefiting.

We also started carrying out medical outreaches which turned out to be a huge blessing to the community, hence deepening our relationships.

Frequent pastoral trainings and seminars have also played a key role in improving our relationship with the community.

Pastoral training was one of the great needs we realized in the communities around us.  We started with just a few pastors who became “letters” to others after they had tasted something good in these trainings.

The numbers of pastors coming for the trainings kept on growing as the relationship also was growing & deepening.

This September, we had the privilege of hosting more than 120 pastors for a five-day training.  This has helped us reach out to the communities around us with the Word of God.

The famine that hit very hard starting last year (and is still there in some parts of the Teso sub-region), was yet another circumstance that the Lord used in order to deepen our relationship with the communities around us.

By the grace of God, our partners, friends & well-wishers were able to raise some funds that we used for buying food to give out to the communities around us.  The famine was so severe that some people in the community didn’t even have enough for porridge as their daily meal!  This famine relief happened monthly for more than five months and was yet another huge blessing to many people in the communities around us.  Now, many people in the community, including the local authorities, see us as friends and good partners.

In a nutshell, I would like to give praise to God for the different ways He united us with the communities around us & the local authorities. I can confidently say EBENEZER – thus far the Lord has brought us!!

I would also like to extend my gratitude & many thanks to our partners, friends, sponsors, and well-wishers who have stood with us at all seasons!  I also can’t forget the leadership of New Hope Uganda, thank you very much!!! May the Almighty God bless you all!

by Charles F. Ikwarit,
Kobwin Children’s Centre Manager