A Child Story: Betty of Uganda


This is Betty's first year attending school—even though she’s 13 years old. Despite her shyness at being the tallest and oldest in her primary two class (equivalent to American grade 3), she’s quickly getting used to school and loving it. “I was very happy because now I’m going to study,” she says of her reaction when she first started school this year.

At a very young age, Betty lost both of her parents, making her one of many orphans in Uganda, Africa. She and her older brother went to live with her aunt and uncle near Lira, and that’s where she’s been ever since. But her aunt and uncle didn’t have the funds to send Betty to school, so she remained at home. And when cousins were born, she became their full-time babysitter. But Betty knew what she was missing out on—she longed to join the children in her community on their way to school each day. “I was worried because all the children were going to school and I remained at home alone with the kids,” she says.

When her uncle found out about child sponsorship through Children of the Nations’ (COTN) Village Partnership Program nearby, that all changed. COTN–Uganda staff recognized Betty as one of numerous children in need when they launched the program in 2010. That meant she could begin attending school. Her smile shows her enthusiasm. “COTN’s school is better because the way they teach is very good,” Betty says. “They teach every subject well.”

The transition into school was difficult at first. “Because of her height, she felt that she was misplaced,” says Betty Achola, her teacher at COTN’s school. Recently, though, she’s been fitting in and making friends who are helping Betty slowly but surely come out of her shell, which in turn will help her in class as she works to catch up with her peers. “Education gives you so many things,” Betty says. “You can get a job after school. It gives you knowledge to read and do so many things.”

Something else Betty says she gets at COTN’s school is love. “The teachers take good care of you," she says. "We share love.”

Now that she’s part of COTN’s Village Partnership Program in Anai-Okii, she’ll receive an education, enabling her to do something when she’s older other than just babysitting. “She is having a future, she [loves] learning,” her teacher says. The motivated young lady agrees. “I used to think I would never have the chance to come to school,” Betty says, revealing her timid, yet happy smile. “My story is just about thanking God only—for giving me this privilege to be at COTN’s school.”

To sponsor a child in Africa like Betty, visit our child sponsorship page.

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Children of the Nations is a registered 501(c)3 Christian charity whose mission is to help children in Africa and the Caribbean by raising children out of poverty. Find out how to sponsor an orphan or child living in poverty.