Sponsorship Makes a Difference for a Child in Uganda

05/27/11

Lameck Olwit loves getting letters. That's why he's thrilled when Hardson Ongura, Children of the Nations–Uganda Sponsorship Coordinator, hands him five letters in one day. Lameck opens each letter carefully, poring over the contents slowly in spite of the growing crowd of children gathering around to see what he’s got. "It's raining there in their country day and night," Lameck says, summarizing one letter, "so it's hard for them to stay outside."

Lameck corresponds regularly with his three sponsors, whom he names without a moment's hesitation: Dennis, Todd, and a family with three children mothered by Carol. "The three children also send letters," he says. "They are learning science and farming. Making things; planting."

Lameck’s sponsors also spur him along in his schoolwork. "They encourage me to study hard," he says, "and are asking how my studies are going." Does it work? "Yes. I work harder in school." Lameck wants to be a structural engineer so he can build buildings. He helps with the ongoing construction of COTN’s Uganda Children's Village in Lira, Uganda, which recently completed construction on a block of classrooms and a large central gazebo. "I helped fetch water while builders worked," he says. "[I did] loading and offloading of sand, ferrying bricks, and also taking cement to the side." Though it was hard work, Lameck enjoyed himself enough to dream of a future designing buildings.

This dream isn't easily realized for most children with Lameck’s background. Lameck lost his parents when he was only three years old. He lived with a grandparent and would sometimes go days without eating. "I would do petty jobs to get money," he says, "like digging people's garden." COTN became involved after discovering Lameck and several other children living at the Lira Cultural Center. In 2007, Lameck was one of the first COTN children to come under residential care in Uganda, and one of the first to get a sponsor. He was also the first child in Uganda to receive a sponsor letter. "They have been encouraging me from the first time I came here," he says with a smile.

He and his sponsors also pray for each other. The sponsors pray for his health and studies, and he prays "that God should continue to bless them."

These long-distance relationships have become a meaningful part of Lameck's life. He keeps all his letters in an envelope near his bed and carries photographs from his sponsors in his school backpack, showing them off with pride. While candy and toys are nice, it's the letters themselves and the messages of love and encouragement that he likes best. "I want to tell them all," Lameck says earnestly, "may God bless them for being my sponsors. I thank God for making them my sponsors. May the Lord lead them to continue paying for my school fees. May the Lord lead them to have faith in God."

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