Friday, July 20, 2012

Children abandoned at the prison

Three girls, Marias 6 years, Helena 13  and Catherine 11  yesterday found themselves at a crisis,after  they were abandoned at the prison gate where their mother called Bonny is serving a 12 year jail term for killing their father in a domestic brawl.

 Hailing from Ntungamo ,Western Uganda ,these little girls  were brought by their aunt the sister to  their  mother who did not want to care for them although from our investigation she seems to be fairly well off. We tried to convince her s to take care of the children but she refused, she almost disappeared from us at the prison. She maintained that taking on these children threatened her marriage and her own livelihood and that she has her own children to look after,  and that she was just being kind to have brought these children to their mother so that she can determine where she can take them. She said she had gone to the village to attend a burial of a relative and the villagers forced her to bring these children to Kampala city, so she decided to dump them at the prison.

The welfare officer of the women prison called me and informed me about the crisis these children were facing, because the prison does not allow children older than 18 months to stay with their mother s inside the prison. We had to divert our attention from our planned work to redeeming these girls. Normally we go to villages to trace these children ,but yesterday was a rare case.
Since all this time when their mother was imprisoned they did not know where she was, it was a mixture of joy and sadness when they met in prison yesterday. Bonny begged us while on her knees to take her children.

The story goes that in 2010 , when Bonny  a mother of six children, including these little girls was jailed , her  eldest  daughter became the leader in the home, after a period of 8 months she ran away from home because she was tired of looking after her siblings. However, after a period of one year she returned with a baby of 2 months old and disappeared later.

Meanwhile,one of the boys, disappeared from the home but would seldom  return to check on his siblings with birds he had hunted down,he would then disappear for several months.One other boy was taken on by an orphanage  in Kampala.

During  all this time the three little girls stayed at home, and would take charge of the home. Helena and Catherine’s school report  shows that the last time they appeared in a classroom was in December 2011.They told us that they would sustain the home by cultivating food crops and sometimes well wishers on the village would render some help.

The two girls (Catherine and Helena) would attend school in turns ,because one of them would have to stay behind to care for their  sickly sister Marias and generally to care for the home and to cook their food. Some days both of them  would not go to school, and since this year began they had dropped out.

Marias the youngest girl, of six years looks like a 3 year old  baby, we had trouble deciding whether we should take her on, because our policy requires that we select children aged between 5-10 years. Marias we have been told suffered from Kwashiorkor when she was 3 years and her condition worsened when her mother was thrown in prison. As such she is stunted and her growth is retarded.

From yesterday, these little girls became part of the Wells of Hope family of children of prisoners. We will provide them education, food ,medical care and other needs as the Lord will provide. As you will see in the picture attached, those are the only clothes they have. They are in need of urgent medical checkup and treatment, clothes, mattresses, bed sheets, knickers. There was joy for the children at the girls side to receive these girls, however, one of the female teachers cried on seeing Marias in her state.

Early this year 60 prisoners applied to have their children helped, we have a big challenge of reaching all the villages, our problem is that we don’t have a car of our own,we have to use special hires which are so costly.

There are many children like these with parents in prisons hidden away in remote places, you can choose sponsor a child at Wells of Hope or give onetime donation to help us make a difference in the lives of children with parents in prison.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Will my Father Return Home?

Will my father return home?This is the question on Joan’s lips.Joan ‘s father was released from prison in January this year ,but he never returned home,he had spent 8 years in Prison ,his children always looked forward to the day he would come home,but alas this not happened yet .

Last Saturday Joan who is 10 years old asked Marjorie our outreach coordinator whether it was true that her father was released and whether he will return home, Joan told Marjorie that she loves her father and would want to meet him outside the prison walls and stay with him but she doesn’t know where he is.

For the last three years with the help of Wells of Hope she has been meeting him within the prison environs, it would be a great joy for Joan to meet her father this time outside the prison. Please pray for Joan so that she can meet her Dad.

Joan is a happy and friendly young girl . she has two sisters,Lillian and Maureen . She loves being at school and believes it is a big chance she has acquired.

Joan’s father was jailed for charges relating to acid burns he is alleged to have inflicted on his wife Aida. as days of Joan’s father’s release drew nearer ,Joan’s mom ,who has many scars on her body became more worried because she feared that the father of her children would return to kill her and when she got to know that he had been released she abandoned the children and went to southern Sudan to work as housemaid. The children are now under the guardianship of Aida’s sister.

This is now a dilemma for these children, Dad is no where to be found and their mother has also abandoned them.

We have other children like Joan whose fathers were released and never returned home, yet they are believed to be alive. Such children include Nagujja Mary, Nalugo Jackie.

On the 21st and 22nd July 2011 we will be taking the children to visit their parents in prison, however,for Children like Joan, they have to be helped to handle the disappearance of their parents.

In the picture attached, Joan (Extreme right in green uniform)is seated with her father in prison, this was last year when children visited their parents in prison.

Francis Ssuubi

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Young Workers - Watoto North visted childtren of prisoners at Wells of Hope Academy on the 25gth June 2011 Saturday.They played,prayed for them children.They counselled them and donated some foodstauffs and an assortment of clothes

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sports Competition

Children of Prisoners at Wells of Hope Academy are competing with a neighboring school.The games include football and netball

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A test of forgiveness

Last week will be one for me and the ministry to reckon, we had a marathon of outreaches in prison. Children of prisoners visited their parents in four different Prisons. Working with VFI we took the gospel to Kasangati and in Kigo Prison we worked with Watoto 360.Everything was real magnificent.

On Thursday, while visiting the prison, I saw Godwin Tumusiime, one of the suspects who reportedly confessed to killing Khan Kakama a 16-month old baby, and dumped the dead body in a swamp. The media was awash with the gruesome murder of Khan for over two months from 8th June 2010 when the baby disappeared.And the story goes that Godwin connived with Molly Nabassa a housemaid who handed Godwin the baby. And Godwin connived with one Brian Ssajjabi to abduct the baby. Godwin had earlier demanded a 30 million ransom for the child which was paid to him and had promised to direct Khan’s parents where the boy was, but this was not done ,together with his accomplice he went ahead to suffocate Khan to death .

When I saw Godwin Tumusiime among the inmates we were going to preach to, I was filled with rage, actually at that instant I wanted to go and confront him (I don’t know what I would do to him),but I remembered immediately that I was within a prison environ and besides I was there as a prison minister who has to reach out to inmates with love and not think of the crimes they committed.

We find ourselves at crossroads everyday as we reach out to prisoners, while inside the prison we are fueled by the love of God to reach out to the prisoners without considering their crimes( we teach the volunteers never to ask the inmates the crimes they committed), Outside the prison walls people are asking us why we reach out to criminals, actually others have said that we are rewarding crime by helping children of prisoners.

But the question here will always be “ What would Jesus do? “ Our answer just like for all prison ministers is embedded in Matthew 25:36,where Jesus says ,:…. I was in prison and you came to visit me.' As you may see,its not the prisoners we are reaching out to, but Jesus Christ the master . I think Jesus understood that all of us whether in prison or not are not worth, so He places Himself in our situation to shield us.Jesus lovingly presents Himself and pleads on our behalf. Again God through Jesus understands the pain of the suffering people for instance the sick, hungry ,poor and prisoners, he places Himself in their position, that is why Mathew 25:31-46 can be regarded a pivot for the future of the Human race. In these scriptures the reality of judgment is brought home where a distinction is made between the Sheep and the Goats.

As the service in the prison went on, I convinced myself that I had forgiven Godwin , and so I was able to re-compose myself because I was the main preacher, the other volunteers from Watoto 360 encouraged the inmates through testimonies and scriptures and words of exaltation. I can witness that the inmates were really touched and blessed.

When the service ended, as it happens normally at the end of the service prisoners come forth to shake hands, I realized Godwin was also stretching forward to meet us and shake hands ,I began struggling inside me, one voice inside me said that if i did that it would be as if I am appreciating what he did and at that point I had already started moving towards the gate out while telling the other volunteers to start moving away, but a still voice came to me and said,’ forgive, when I was in prison you visited me’, so I immediately turned back and at that time he had already finished greeting the other volunteers ,so I gave Godwin a smile, shook his hand .He thanked me for the message and for visiting them and I answered ,”you are welcome, God bless you, immediately I regained my peace.” This was a test of forgiveness .

Francis Ssuubi

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Party for Children of Prisoners

We held a party for the children of prisoners, it was a lot of fun for the children ,they were treated to ot of entertainment , a sumptuous meal and each child got a Christmas gift from. Click here for photos

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wells of Hope Christmas time Special Update

On the 25th December 2009(Christmas day) we reached out to Beatrice who is grandmother and caretaker of two boys Andrew and Edmund, their father is in Prison and living with HIV/AIDS, Edmund is also living with HIV. Their mother past away.
On this day we failed to reach their house, because their house was flooded, instead we sent a message that they find us across the waters. They had to wade through the heavy pool of waters almost falling in; the deepest end was covering above the knees.
This did not hinder them from being happy; we had taken them Christmas gifts and money for upkeep and medical care a donation from one of our friends-Dana Scott.Beatrice has been sick for the last two weeks, yet she has to look after these little boys.
The father of these little boys is in Prison and living with HIV/AIDS. Edmund is also living with HIV/AIDS. I am happy that the Lord continues to use us. Follow this link to see the photos

On the 24th December 2009, we visited Jinja Main prison and we were able to have prayers with inmates on death row 9 of them being women. We donated 150KGS soya posho to the HIV/AIDS sick inmates among other gifts. We visited with a team from Watoto 360 lead by Jesse Ntaborwa and Linda Duncalfe, they provided the transport and also were a great encouragement to the Prisoners especially on this day. One of the Prisoners said that the relatives had abandoned them and on such a day we had made a big sacrifice and showed them love and that they were touched by this visit.

On the 23rd December 2009, we hosted 17 children of prisoners to a Christmas party, we had almost given up but God provided for these little ones. One of my friends Ronald Kaweesa I studied with at King’s College Budo together with his wife Esther and sister in law Patricia donated the gifts. They attended in person together with their own children and blessed the children whose parents are in prison. We also gave three care takers cash gifts to buy food at Christmas time. The children's choir presented special songs with the help of Rachel one of our volunteers. Follow this link to see the photos

Meanwhile, on the same day 23rd December 27, 2009, we signed an agreement and paid rent for six months for premises where we are going to conduct the school, however, we still need friends to stand with us as we establish the first school for Children of prisoners on this land possibly even the first on the African continent .One of our friends Joan will be donating 20 basins for the children. Our website has details of the school needs.