I partnered with Barnabas Legacy Children’s Dream Foundation, a Christian Ugandan charity in 2018. The Foundation serves 250+ vulnerable, needy and orphaned children in the Buikwe District, a remote rural area of Uganda just outside Jinja, the 2nd major city in Uganda. Kampala is the capital (and the principal city of Uganda). The population of Uganda is around 45 million and just under 50% are children. About 1 in 5 children in Uganda are uneducated. There is deep poverty and the impact of HIV, government policies and conflict. The Foundation was founded by Steven Wamala in 2013, a young Ugandan Pastor who serves at the Katunda Pentecostal AOG Church.
In 2019 I started up some micro-business projects with a group of women at the Church to help them generate income to look after their families. Orphanages are illegal in Uganda under government policy, so many of the orphaned and neglected children, are raised by extended families, grandmothers and carers, so a lot of the women have very large families to care for and support. The projects are sewing, crocheting, baking, jewellery/crafts and farming. It was a joy on my field visit in June 2023, to see these projects, now four years on – the women have learned to sew, crochet and bake and the farm produces beans, bananas, maize, tomatoes, eggplants and cassava. The women contribute from the farm also to the Foundation’s school for food. We leased a space in 2020 from which the women could do their projects, and have a business stall outside the space to sell the farm produce. We are now going to look at turning some of the space into a retail section to sell the sewing, crochet and baking items. The Foundation also supports a group of women learning to sew in the Nghooya Community, one of the outreach communities the Foundation serves.
I am currently the Board Chair of the Foundation. In 2021 we began a discussion on building a school as many of the children were missing out due to their carers/families being unable to pay school fees. We purchased some land at Namatovu Village, in the Buikwe District and began the build in 2022, through the generous support of a handful of donors. The school opened in February (Term 1) of this year (2023). It was a privilege and humbling experience to officially open the school on 15 June 2023, exactly one year since the first brick was laid at the school grounds. There are currently 180 students registered at the school. The school has 7 classrooms, a small staff room, a toilet block and an outdoor kitchen area. The children are provided with breakfast and lunch each day. The school runs from 8am to 5pm. The classes are Kindergarten (starting at age 3) through to Primary 4 (children are 12 years old).
Our school motto is ‘For the love of God compels us’ (2 Corinthians 5:14). God’s love will continue to propel us as we seek God for His direction and provision to strengthen the school and the women’s projects. Our desire is to add on some dorms and also some secondary school classrooms. The Foundation raises funds through the support of donors in Australia and New Zealand, such as some who are providing an annual scholarship for a student of $350 and donating to specific projects. Currently, our core project is Project Outside, to finish the grounds, including the play areas, toilet block, outside painting, guttering, fencing etc and our next project is to raise funds to build a dorm facility to open at the start of 2024. We also have a sustainability project, through a banana plantation on the school land and in time we intend to add eucalyptus and orange trees, maize and other crops.
It was an honour to see the projects and school on my field visit and also to have the companionship of my dear friend Karen Andrew. There were many adventurous moments, from the heavy traffic and conditions of the roads to navigating lost-in-translation moments. There was the privilege of attending the wedding of the Founder, Steven and his bride Josephine. We gave out 60 hygiene (reusable pads) kits to teenage girls, 40 pairs of socks to the women, 40 quilts for the children, 50 knitted teddy bears to the Kindergarten children and stationery packs to each of the 22 scholarship students. It was a delight to see what our faithful and gracious God is doing, and how God can use what we have in hand, though it seems not much, as we do the possible He will do the impossible (Luke 18:27).
We would love for you to join us on this journey and information about the Foundation and the School can be found at our website, www.barnabaslegacy.org. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. Please uphold the Foundation and School in prayer. We stand together, compelled by His love, believing that our God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above that which we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Above all that the glory, honour and praise goes back to Him and Him alone.
In His service
Co-Founder Agape Star Christian School
PS Come join us in August 2025: https://barnabaslegacy.org/blcdf-august-2025-missions-trip/