In 2005, while sitting next to me in a crowded room, our eight year old daughter leant over and whispered, “Daddy, God just spoke to me!”
“Really? What did he say?” I asked.
“He said I will care for orphans and the poor, and write children’s books and illustrate them.”
“Wow! I replied “Tell your mother!”
We had no idea that Orphans Know More would grow from that conversation. Soon our girls had decided to sell some of their toys to “raise money for orphans”. They also got their older brothers involved in selling salad dressing to neighbours.
As a family we prayed that if God wanted us to specifically help orphans anywhere in the world, whatever it was, we would do it. A few months later, after finding numerous friends wanting to make it happen, OKM was born. Thus, our official birthday is 21st July 2005.
So much has happened since then! A few highlights include!
Partnering with YWAM Uganda and families like the Kisolos, Kirondes and Wamakales, HIV and AIDS counsellors, who were already caring for orphans.
Encouraging the formation of the Jinja Foster Family Network now caring for almost 150 orphans and vulnerable children.
Employing a full time social worker in Uganda committed to ensuring everything is done legally and properly with social services and that the children and families are visited and looked after.
Training the families through workshops to assist the children through grief and trauma.
Developing child and family scrapbooks to record biological and adopted family information and memories and hopes for the future.
Improving the families’ food production with the help of a part-time agriculturalist and distributing improved seeds and training to other needy families.
Making small enterprise loans and seeing small businesses grow.
Partnering with Habitat for Humanity and YWAM Uganda to build 80 new houses for families who desperately needed them.
Installing rainwater harvesting and water storage tanks on houses.
Celebrating with our first group of OKM sponsored vocational school and university graduates.
Thrilled that young adults are finding life partners and getting married! Some even including in their promises a vow to care for orphans as they were cared for, fully integrated in the local families and the local community.
Partnering to start a local primary school for a village without one.
Partnering with Our Trees Our Future to distribute varieties of trees and coffee plants to families and provide training for their use in income generation.
Years later the uniqueness and worth of each child has been recognized again and again. Strengthening families who create belonging and lifelong commitment is the most effective way to equip children to reach their potential. Families have been able to break the cycle of poverty and restore dignity and hope for the future. Working together these children are ‘orphans no more’.