“Let your hearts be broken by the things that break the heart of God,” says James Kaawha from World Vision Uganda.
James was speaking from Pajule in Northern Uganda, where Christian global development charity World Vision is working with poorer communities to bring lasting, positive change.
He was talking to World Vision supporters in the UK who joined a virtual trip to Pajule, over 5,600 miles away. James described how God’s heart breaks when he sees children suffering. Through Chosen – a new World Vision initiative – children in Pajule’s poorest communities are getting the opportunity to make positive choices and the power to transform their lives.
James described how World Vision’s staff are working to protect youngsters from disease and infection as well as increasing the number of children who can read and write. “Our vision for every child is life in all its fullness,” says James.
That vision is directly inspired by Jesus’ words in John 10 vs 10: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” This year World Vision is partnering with New Wine at United, giving people who attend the chance to take part in Chosen and help children in places like Pajule have the chance to live life to the full.
For over 70 years World Vision has offered people the opportunity to sponsor children in poorer countries. Chosen flips the lid on the traditional child sponsorship model. Rather than sponsors choosing a child from a gallery of photographs, by volunteering to be Chosen, a sponsor is photographed and, as the name suggests, is chosen by a child in one of the communities where World Vision is working.
“Through your support, we have increasingly been able to bring hope to these vulnerable communities. Northern Uganda was greatly devastated by the Lord’s Resistance Army war which left the community displaced and without hope,” says James. The Lord’s Resistance Army was a rebel group whose brutal massacres saw more than 100,000 people lose their lives.
The LRA abducted 60,000 children and the majority were forced into becoming child soldiers and ‘bush wives’ according to the United Nations. While the conflict ended 15 years ago, the impact can still be seen, especially for children who were born in captivity and those who were abducted.
Geoffrey Ivan Isingoma, Project Officer, led a virtual tour of Pajule, showing schools which now have clean, running water and learning centres giving children the chance to learn how to read.
World Vision’s Pajule programme reaches 22,000 people indirectly, and directly works to improve the well-being of 6,382 children. Support with nutrition means Pajule’s community has hundreds of beehives producing honey and they are able to grow their own bananas and sim sim (sesame).
The Revd Canon Dave Richards, from St Paul’s and St George’s Edinburgh visited Pajule in December 2019, just a few months before the pandemic saw the UK in lock-down and travel no longer allowed.
“The people (in Pajule) were so warm and welcoming,” he says. “I met a widow who had watched her husband shot by the Lord’s Resistance Army. I met a pastor who leads an Anglican church and was able to pray with him at the burnt-out site of his church. It was one of the most profound prayer times I have ever had.
“The next day to see the Chosen party was a mind-blowing experience. It was an incredibly moving time as we saw hundreds of children choose hundreds of church members to be their sponsor. To see the children come alive and grow in their confidence was incredibly powerful.”
As of March 2022, 50,000 children have Chosen a sponsor globally. World Vision will be coming to United this year – offering you the opportunity to be Chosen. By doing so you’ll be helping World Vision – one of the world’s largest children’s charities in its work with communities tackling the root causes of poverty in more than 100 countries.