Out of Poverty to Lead her Peers: Hanna's Story

05/03/12

Singled out by her teachers and peers for her school performance and natural leadership, Hanna of Uganda has a lot to be proud of.  But the tall, quiet fourteen-year-old has a strong sense of humility when sharing her life story.  Her shy smile is small at first, but soon breaks across her whole face as she speaks of the love Children of the Nations (COTN) partners and in-country staff members have shown her.  Hanna has three sponsors whom she names without hesitation:  "Adam, and his wife Nicole; another is called Dave, and his wife is called Pilirani; also Maci."  She prays for them daily, and for their families, "so that God may prosper them."  When asked why she thinks so many people chose to sponsor her, Hanna pauses, and then, slowly lets her face break into her enormous smile.  "Maybe," she speculates, "they love my smile."

Hanna's life has not always been easy, and she knows it is the care of her sponsors, and many other COTN partners, who have made this transformation possible.  "Before I came to COTN, life was so difficult," she shares.  "I didn't have any hope."  Hanna's days were hard, and she had little to eat.  "We were not eating at lunch.  When we were eating, we only ate once a day. And, we didn't have any clothes.  I was not attending school, I was just staying at home."  Because she lacked the clothes and tuition to attend school, Hanna did domestic work all day.  "I used to carry a lot of water," she remembers.

Hanna will never forget the day she learned that an organization called COTN was coming to her community to care for orphaned and destitute children like herself. Her grandfather told her that she could go to live in COTN's new Children's Village, and Hanna remembers, "I was very happy when I heard that."  Her grandfather prepared her one last meal before she left, but Hanna says, "I didn't eat because I was so happy.  I said, 'I am now going, I don't want anything.'" That day, she moved into COTN's full-care Children's Village, to a family-style home with "brothers" and "sisters" from similar circumstances, and house parents who cared for them as they would their own.

"My life is so different now," she says.  "Here I always eat.  I now go to school, and I have learned that God is so faithful, so loving, and He cares for everybody, and He provides everything for everybody."  Hanna explains that she had never been taught about God before she came to COTN, but now she knows Him.  "My favorite story is the Good Samaritan," she shares.  "I like this story because it makes us know that God loves us, and when your friend is not well, you can help him or her."

Hanna has done exceptionally well in school, which is why her teachers chose her as an academic prefect, a position of great responsibility and honor in the Ugandan school system.  "The work of the prefects is to guide the children," she explains.  Those who know Hanna well marvel at her natural leadership. Her hope for the future is to become a lawyer because, she explains, "I've been hearing that lawyers of today are not so good, if the people send some people, or money, they just judge unjustly.  So I want to be a lawyer, to transform this nation, to help people have justice."  Hanna loves her country and has great hopes for both its physical and spiritual transformation.  "I want Uganda to be a prayerful country," she says.  "I want all of the Ugandans to love God."

Hanna's life has been transformed by sponsorship.  Sponsor a child today!