Two days ago, I shared with you about the Baby Homes that Watoto has. Today we will learn more about the actual Children’s Villages!
The guide told us that they only take in double orphans – orphans that have lost both parents. But I’ve been learning here that it is so difficult to get the full story on the orphaned and vulnerable children. Even at Rafiki they find out months or years later that the child’s story isn’t what they originally thought. Because of this, Watoto has a grace period once they bring a child into their program – it can be up to three years and within that time, the child’s parents can turn up and get their child back. After that time is up, the child is in Watoto’s custody.
The villages have quite a bit of land. Each child lives in a home with 7 other kids and a house mom. The moms are always widows and are committed to taking care of the kids for life basically. Ideally there are four boys and four girls. In each house, there are two kid bedrooms, a living room and eating area, a kitchen and a bathroom.
The houses are all arranged in circles of nine houses called a cluster. This is intentional to give the kids community to grow up in. The village is the child’s home forever if they want it to be. They can come back when they are on holiday from University and they can come back when they graduate if they can’t find work somewhere.
Both children’s villages are in areas without running water. They collect and pipe water within the village, but they also create a water source for the local community to get water, which I think is pretty cool.
Within the village is also a school and a church.
Suubi Village has a secondary school called Hope High School that is producing some of the country’s top scholars, which is super cool. The campus was SO nice and was on a mountain top type area – in every direction the view was incredible and it is so quiet and secluded. They not only have an academic school, but vocational training as well. The vocational training includes carpentry and welding. In this program they create the furniture needed by the schools and the homes. We got to listen to the students’ worship team rehearse for church the next morning.
Melvin, our guide, told us that the children all have equally horrific pasts, and they have a social work team that meets with the children, assesses their needs, and helps them move past the trama in their past to move forward and have a new and transformed life.
Each of these children have 9-12 sponsors to make possible their new lives in the Childrens Village. The children also have the opportunity to go on one six month tour with the African Children’s Choir, performing world wide and raising awareness, money, and sponsors for the program. Choir number 54 just got back from touring in the United States. They came to church on Sunday to be welcomed back. Some of the chaperones on the trip grew up in the Watoto villages as well.
We were all so overwhelmed on this tour. A couple weeks back, a speaker at church talked about the people who are on the other side of our obedience to God. Back in 1992, Gary and Marilyn Skinner listened to and obeyed the Lord speaking in to their life and began this ministry. Thousands of lives have been transformed because of their obedience to His calling. God is working in powerful ways here in Uganda and it is amazing to see a small glimpse of it.
If you want to learn more about this ministry or learn how you can sponsor a child, click here