My name is Namugenyi Teddy. I am the founder of Hope for Orphans, Uganda. I was born out of wedlock on December 15, 1988 in the heart of Mbarara District in Uganda. At the time of my birth, my father was one of the village elders. He had been married for ten years, but God had not blessed him with a gift of a child, because the woman to whom he was married was not able to conceive a child. I became his firstborn child though another woman. To protect his reputation in the community, he arranged that my existence be kept secret. So during my early childhood years, I grew up with my single mother and the identity of my father was kept a secret.
When I was three years old, my mother was struggling financially as a single mother and she had other four other children to care for, left by her late husband. My mother decided she wanted my existence and my father’s identity to be revealed in hope that my father and his family would accept me and care for me. So she requested of my father than I be introduced to his family. My father agreed, and at age of four, my father accepted me and he took me to permanently live with him and his wife, who became my stepmother.
LIFE IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE
Life for me as a young child in my father’s house was not happy. I missed my mother terribly and I was not allowed to ever go back to see her. I began to suffer the wrath of a step mother who had struggled with the pain and shame of not being able to conceive a child. She resented having to take care of me, another woman’s child, when she could not have one of her own. My basic needs as a child were not important to her instead. I was forced to become only house help—cleaning, washing, cooking, grazing the cattle and farm chores were all I did in those early childhood years. My education was not important to my stepmother. Once in a while, she might send me to school if she had no work for me to do at home. Sometimes she could tell me to first finish all the work, then I go to school. At that time my father’s help was really unavailable. He was just not there. He would leave very early in the morning while I was asleep and would return late at night while I was again asleep. And he trusted his wife to take care of me.
RETURN TO MY MOTHER’S LOVE, BUT OH TOO BRIEFLY
It was on a Friday and it was a day we were on holiday from school, but my father sent me to school to get my report card since he knew that it was the routine for me to school every day. On my way home way from school, I met a cousin of mine who was very much older than me. She was aware of the painful situation I was in, so soon after this, she called me and asked me to go with her somewhere. Little did I know that she was taking me to go see my mother. On reaching my mother’s place I saw her break down and cry due to the fact that I was malnourished and looking bad with torn clothes. At that time, I remember her telling my cousin, who has now passed away, may God rest her soul in peace, “You are not taking back my daughter to that house!” My mother kept me there with her. I was so glad! I then stayed with her through all hardships she faced as a single mother in overwhelming poverty. She lives under the stress and threat of my father trying to get me back. She had to protect me with her life. Finally, my father disowned me and swore that he would never give me any help, since I was no longer one of his own. Now disowned by my father, my mother and I struggled together to survive; at times we would even fail to get a meal for the day, but we found comfort and peace in our love for each other. Most importantly, she was a true Christian believer. She taught me the importance of prayer that God is real and Jesus loves us. After five years together, mother contracted HIV/AIDS. With the lack of proper medical care and financial support, she lost the battle and I was left as an orphan at when I was ten years old. My father never reconsidered his decision to disown me. He never took me back nor supported me through school.
THE DAY OF SALVATION, GOD'S MERCY AND CALLING.
My Heavenly Father was so good to me that He did not leave me in the time of great need. Among the people who had come for to my mother’s funeral, there came a “Good Samaritan” whom God had sent to rescue me. He took me into his home and gave me everything that I ever needed and lacked in life, nourishment, protection, and peace. He provided for me to attend the best schools and I was able to receive the best education available in Uganda. Life as a youth was so promising for me. While attending Makerere University, in our capital city of Kampala, I started doing community-based research engineered by the course major I was doing: Social Work and Social Services. It was then that my eyes were opened to the everyday life struggles and deprivations of community members, especially the young children who are orphaned and vulnerable. God was giving me a growing compassion for this needy children.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”(II Corinthians 1:3-4). I began to realize that my own experience as an orphan had sensitized me and prepared me to reach out and care for other orphans. All the pain, the fear and dread at night, the deprivation I see in their eyes, I have felt before them. My heart could never have gone out to them as it does today, had I not had this experience. My Heavenly Father would use my past pain and the comfort He gave me, to offer comfort to them. God works all things together for good to those who love Him!
I graduated from Makerere in _2010_____ with a B.A. in Social Work. In March 2010, I made the decision to embark on a faith journey to care for orphans full-time. I prayerfully considered this decision, and felt like this is what God was calling for my life. It has become one of the most rewarding jobs I could ever imagine. God led me to a home outside of Kampala, that was right across the road from Luweero and was available for rent. After much prayer, I decided to rent the house and opened Hope for The Orphans Ministry there. I began visiting some children that I had heard needed care and nourishment. I visited villages, pastors, homes, streets, etc. so I could see their situations. There are faith challenges every day. The needs are great. But when I see these lovely, innocent children saved from misery and hunger I know it is worth all I can give. I am clinging to the promise that He will provide. And now we have seen the land that we are interested in to buy and build our permanent home there. This is a huge faith challenge! But with God on our side and with our dear friends, who partner with us, we will make a difference! There is Hope for The Orphans!… Praise be to our Lord Jesus!