Friday, August 20, 2010

What about us?


He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives,
and release from darkness for the prisoners.
-Isaiah 61:1

If you follow Christ, then this is your purpose.
It's important to remember that He's the powerful One--we are simply His vessels.

This photo was taken last Friday during our outreach to a slum in Jinja, Uganda. Most of the people in the slums were Karamojong. Let me explain a bit more about them...

80% of street children here in Kampala are Karamojong children. They come from Karamoja, which is a rural area in northern Uganda. Back home in Karamoja there is severe poverty, violence (cattle rustling, etc), and lack of resources.

Unfortunately, Karamojong people are not given opportunities here in Kampala. Quite the opposite: they are looked down on and treated unjustly--treated almost like they're not part of society. They're crying out, "what about us??" They're denied access to public bathrooms. They're denied jobs/employment. They face countless challenges.

The fact is, Karamajong children are Uganda's children and Uganda's responsibility. They do not belong on the streets.

Dwelling Places has been working hard the last few years to remove Karamojong children from the streets and resettle them back in their home. This is an incredibly challenging task for a variety of reasons. The fact is, we can't do it alone.

So we held an Advocacy Day today. Karamojong children (supported by D.P.), government leaders and other NGO's (non government organizations) were in attendance, and we discussed "how best can we remove Karamojong children from the streets?" It was also a chance for the children to speak out and let their voices be heard, as they pleaded with the government to continue helping those who are still on the streets. It was incredible for me to sit and listen to testimonies from these young people who used to be out begging on the streets, scrounging through garbage dumps for food, etc. And now, because of Dwelling Places (and God! :) they are taken care of and have been offered a bright future. But there are many others who are curling up to sleep on the sidewalk tonight, and those are the ones we are fighting for...

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