Building a Better World One Child at a Time

The first time the rebel soldiers came to Asifiwe’s village in Congo, they killed his father. The second time they came they left his mother severely wounded, with six bullets in her body.  She was hospitalized and survived, but is unable to walk unaided.

She and her three children were afraid to return to their family home and fled to Uganda’s Nakivale refugee settlement.

There were no rebel soldiers in Nakivale, but Asifiwe found life there difficult. He had nightmares about his experiences in Congo, but he missed his old life and the friends they had left behind.  In Nakivale, they were very poor.  They had lost everythng and had to start over, building a shelter and digging a garden on the small plot they were allotted. As the oldest child, Asifiwe was expected to do most of the work, since his mother was disabled and his siblings were too young to be much help. Every day was a struggle, trying to find ways to meet the family’s basic needs.

Asifiwe became angry and, faced with what seemed an impossible task, developed a ‘hard heart’, fighting with his siblings and disobeying his mother.

When he was enrolled in a Better World for Kids, his life began to change. Twice a week, he attended story telling sessions with friendly grandparents.  He met other children who were facing many of the same problems.  He played games with his new friends and drew pictures and learned techniques to help him sleep better and to manage his angry feelings.  He participated in setting group rules and deciding on rewards and penalties to help all the children learn how to keep themselves safe.  And he started to bring the stories that the grandparents told home to his siblings, so they could be safe as well.

Asifiwe’s behavior has changed.  He has become more confident and no longer feels so alone. His mother and siblings like to have him at home and appreciate his hard work and his thoughtfulness.  He is now enrolled in school and doing well.  Life is still hard, but he likes himself better and is confident that he and his family can build a better future. You can view his story here

There are thousands more children in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement waiting for the grandparents program to come to their neighborhood.  Can you help us build this grassroots program so it can bring hope to these children and their families?