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Hope Makers

A woman and her family by their home in Uganda

On Wednesday, we shared stories of what life has been like over the last year for Namulawa, Beatrice, and Florence – members of our Ugandan ROWAN community.  Today, we want to share some year-end thoughts from Robina and Anet.

A woman and her five children in front of their home in Uganda

Robina shared that 2021 was a ‘unique experience in my life, the family, and the community at large.”  She felt a great deal of fear about the COVID virus and all the unknowns surrounding it.  Robina wrote that COVID lockdowns imposed by the Ugandan government caused her business to come to a standstill, making it impossible to purchase basic necessities for her family.

A woman and her daughter in Uganda

Anet shared that she struggles with increasing poverty due to COVID lockdowns.  She also worries greatly about the children, especially the teenage girls, who were sent home due to school closures.  Anet wrote that she hopes that schools reopen soon and that when they do, they will have special programs to help the children get back into life as they knew it before the pandemic.

Like Namulawa, Beatrice, and Florence, Robina and Anet shared their gratitude for the help they and their families have received from ROWAN throughout the last year.  Both women wrote of the difference ROWAN’s provision of food, safety equipment, and other necessities made for their families. They also shared their thanks for ROWAN’s educational materials, virus education, and counseling services.  Each time ROWAN was able to step in and help, it gave Robina, Anet, and their families hope, a much-needed commodity in times of struggle.  

This Christmas season, ROWAN has chosen hope as our focus.  Our Blessing Basket campaign is all about giving hope to our Ugandan families.  Hope in the form of having their immediate needs met with food and educational materials and hope for the future in the form of seeds to plant. Once planted, these seeds will become crops that can help each family start 2022 on more solid ground.  Christmas 2021 One Act of Hope Campaign

We are so excited and grateful to say that we are now over halfway to our Blessing Baskets campaign goal!  Our goal is to provide 400 families with a Blessing Basket and, as of this post, we have received enough donations for 230 baskets!  If you are interested in purchasing a Blessing Basket or learning more about this campaign, click here.  

Thank you to all those who have donated to our Blessing Basket campaign!  You are hope-makers!  In a world that can feel cold and lonely, you are spreading love – one act of hope at a time.  

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Challenges and Hope

a woman and her children in Uganda

As 2021 draws to a close, members of our ROWAN community in Uganda have been reflecting on what the last year has looked and felt like to them.  This week, I wanted to share some of their stories with you.  

Namulawa K. shared that one of the hardest things about this past year was her father’s death.  When her father passed away, Namulawa was unable to attend his burial due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions put in place by the Ugandan government.  Being unable to attend her father’s burial service has been a very hard and painful thing for Namulawa and she struggles with it every day.

A mother and her 10 children in Uganda

Beatrice K. told us that the restriction of movement and school closures have been the hardest things for her.  Before the pandemic, Beatrice sold ripe bananas to the schools, but this income source went away when schools shut down.  Beatrice said that her family has struggled with the increased poverty and a lack of food and other basic necessities. “Life,” she says, “has been very hard.”

Two women sitting under a tree in Uganda

Florence Y. shared that for her, the increased levels of poverty and fear and the significant number of deaths have been very hard to deal with this year.  She worries about the children who were sent home due to school closures and fears that they may never return.  

2021 has been a challenging year.  There is no denying that.  But amid the hardships of 2021, there has also been hope.  Namulawa, Beatrice, and Florence all shared that ROWAN has been there for them and their families throughout their hardships. Each of them expressed gratitude for the much-needed safety items, basic necessities, and food supplies that ROWAN provided them with over the last year.  These provisions helped them know they were not forgotten amid their struggles.  

We at ROWAN are so thankful to each of you who have sponsored, donated, and prayed this year.  Your donations, prayers, and love make a difference in the lives of many!

If you are looking for more ways to help spread love and hope this year, our 2021 Christmas Blessing Baskets campaign is now live.  Each Blessing Basket contains 40 pounds of food, educational supplies, basic necessities, and seeds for the families to plant to help them get a more solid footing in 2022.  We have set a goal of earning enough for 400 Blessing Baskets by the 20th of December, and with your help, we can reach this goal!  To learn more or to purchase a Blessing Basket, please click here.  

Christmas 2021 One Act of Hope Campaign

Thank you for standing with ROWAN and the people of Uganda!

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Believe in the goodness of people

A woman holding a baby in Uganda

We are nearing the end of October and, here in the US, that means one thing – the holiday season is fast approaching.  We at ROWAN have been busy putting things together for this year’s Christmas campaign, and we can’t wait to share it with you over the week of Thanksgiving!

A smiling little girl in Uganda

Your generous donations during our annual Christmas campaigns have made a difference in the lives of so many.  When Uganda shuttered schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  your contributions to our 2019 campaign – Education Opens Doors, allowed Rowan to continue our children’s educations through the learning center.   And when Uganda went under lockdown due to the pandemic, ROWAN was able to get much-needed food and supplies to our members with the bus your donations funded during last year’s Christmas campaign. 

A happy woman smiling in Uganda

With the lockdown in Uganda in effect through the end of January, this Christmas will look a little different for our ROWAN members.  While they may not be able to gather together to celebrate, we are hoping that with your help, we will be able to deliver baskets of joy to each of them.

A woman holding a small child in Uganda

We at ROWAN believe hope, faith, and love can prevail – even in chaotic times.  Helen Keller once said, “Alone, we can do so little; together we can do so much.”  We are so grateful for the love shown by our sponsors and supporters.  It is because of you that we have had the privilege of witnessing the power of love in action – a truly wonderous sight to behold.

 

All photos by Bob Ditty

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Get ready for Fall with our new merchandise

White mug with the words, "Hope does not disappoint" written on it in scrabble pieces

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.” – Oscar Wilde

Happy first day of  Autumn!  Crisp mornings, colorful leaves, and pumpkins on porches – all sure signs that Fall has arrived.  What better way to celebrate the arrival of a new season than by making a purchase that helps lift someone else?  The new ROWAN merchandise gives you a chance to do just that.  All proceeds from our Fall merchandise go to feeding our ROWAN families during the continuing COVID-19 lockdown in Uganda.  

                   

 

To see all of the merchandise available or to make a purchase, click the link below:

https://www.bonfire.com/store/rowan-store/

If you are interested in learning more about the situation in Uganda, click here.  Please continue to pray for the people of Uganda and our ROWAN families, and if you can, please consider purchasing a shirt or a mug to help keep food on the tables of our Ugandan families.  

 

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

“Gratitude is our foundation.”

A learning center in Uganda

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3: 5-6

A young child in Uganda

Recently pastor Paul said, “The world is in total confusion, but Uganda is confused more.”  Like so many places in the world right now, there is a lot of uncertainty in Uganda right now.  People are not sure where to turn or what to do.  Children long to be back in school and their caregivers don’t have any clear answers as to when that will happen.  The Ugandan government is saying that schools are reopening and is now demanding school fees be paid in order for children to return to in-person learning, but there is a general feeling of mistrust surrounding this.  Ugandans are worried that they will pay these fees and then schools will close once again.  For many these fees take up a large amount of their income, ROWAN would have to pay $6,000 (USD) in fees to have all of its children return to school right now. 

Pastor Paul is meeting with ROWAN staff to brainstorm ways in which the Learning Center can be used for help in continuing the education of ROWAN’s children.  You may remember that thanks to last year’s Christmas campaign, we were able to purchase an educational curriculum and now have a staff of 4 teachers in our Learning Center.  So, thanks to the generosity of so many of you, our ROWAN children will have access to education during this time of uncertainty.

A desk with chairs in a classroom in Uganda

As Pastor Paul says, “Gratitude is our foundation.  COVID has pushed ROWAN outside of its walls, outside of its programs.  What does ROWAN look like when we are outside our walls?  We rely on God’s daily bread for our direction, inspiration, and provision.  Our courage is expressed in surrender.”

A young boy smiling in Uganda

 

We at ROWAN have so much to be grateful for – even in these uncertain times.  We have not had a single member of the Ugandan ROWAN community test positive for COVID.  We have supporters whose generosity and kindness have allowed us to meet the needs of our members throughout this pandemic.  We have been on the receiving end of miracles and had so many answered prayers during this season of hardship.  And we have seen the power of love in action.  God is great.  Prayers are heard.  Hope is real.

A little girl smiling in Uganda

All photos by Bob Ditty

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Facing the food crisis together

Group of people in Uganda standing behind bags of food

Conflict, climate catastrophes, and the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed people in East Africa to a crisis-level food shortage.  According to a report by World Vision, over 7.8 million people in the region are facing starvation, and an additional 26 million people in the region are living on the brink.  The United Nations reports that over 12.8 million children in East Africa are severely malnourished.  

Large-scale flooding and an inundation of desert locusts in late 2019 through 2020 caused crop devastation and led to a sharp economic downturn.  When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2021, it only exasperated the continuing food crisis with its lockdowns.  Farmers could not tend to or harvest crops, and people living in urban areas in eastern Africa became stranded with limited food access.  

According to an article written by Godfrey Olukya for AA News, members of the Uganda parliament have begun urging the government to move some of those living in urban areas back to their rural villages where they would have better access to food supplies.  When questioned by AA News about the food crisis, Thomas Kapo Kigozi, a local leader in Uganda, said, “Many of us are either starving or on the verge of starvation.  Police have blocked all roads to the city center.  We are asking the government to provide us free transport to take us to our villages.” 

ROWAN continues to work to help the people in our Uganda villages as they face this food crisis.  Recently, Kelsey Hargadine, a founding member of ROWAN, held a birthday drive that raised close to $4000 for additional food supplies for our Ugandan members.  And last week, Kremmling Community Church gave ROWAN a $5000 donation for much-need food supplies for our widows and orphans in Uganda.  We are currently serving close to 400 families in our Ugandan villages, and these donations will allow us to give each family around $25 for the month.  While $25 may not seem like a lot to some of us, it means a great deal to those who receive it.  

Two women sitting near a bag of food 

We are so grateful for each of you who have donated to our food campaigns.  In addition to helping provide much-needed food supplies for our Ugandan families, your donations are letting each of them know they matter and are loved.   

All photos courtesy of Bob Ditty.

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

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