…and if you know anything about the people of Mawanga, they know how to party.
For those of you who don’t know what a party in Mawanga looks like, here’s what you would have seen if you were there. There were 2000 community members, ROWAN members, spiritual leaders, government officials and an international team of 17. The ROWAN women and children danced and put on skits. ROWAN honoured the 32 students who have worked hard and graduated the program. These students were awarded certificates. But the celebrations didn’t stop there.
Tom Dluzak and Troy Nibbelink, who were instrumental in the design of the Hall of Hope were able to make the trip to ROWAN and see the completed project. They were excited to see the work that had been done. With over 8,000 square feet of space, the Hall of Hope will be a pillar in the community and ROWAN will be able to host all their programs and events within these walls!
Help is still needed
The Hall of Hope still needs some work to be fully completed and ready to serve the people the way it was designed. If you are willing to help fill the need of a solar panel and a water pump, please click here and donate.
Why Build a Hall?
This week the world watched as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, caught fire. Part of her centuries-old structure was destroyed, and her grand spire burned away.
Historian Yvonne Seale writes at vox.com:
Notre Dame de Paris was never the preferred cathedral of kings. Notre Dame was instead the cathedral of ordinary Parisians. Since the Middle Ages, it’s been the backdrop against which the city’s inhabitants have lived their lives. The building, which stands on a small island in the Seine River, was a constant amid the upheaval of the French Revolution and the terrors of the Nazi occupation. As one 14th century scholar wrote, the cathedral was “like the sun among stars.”
There’s been a church on the site now occupied by Notre Dame since at least the sixth century. In 1163, Bishop Maurice de Sully launched an ambitious project to build a new cathedral for the city’s growing population. For centuries, the cathedral has been a tourist draw, a meeting spot, a place of refuge in times of crisis. It fostered both the beginnings of the University of Paris and, quite literally, the city’s abandoned children in the orphan home it ran.
“It’s just a building,” some say. “It can be rebuilt.” This is true. However, people bond with places. And the longer a building exists, the more memories are housed there and in the people who make it part of their lives. The cathedral has stood for centuries as a symbol of beauty, help, and refuge. Sometimes a building matters.
ROWAN is building a Hall of Hope. Why build a hall? Ten years ago ROWAN began under the Ugandan trees. Most organizations start up and fairly quickly look for a building. Widows and orphans began gathering with ROWAN staff under the trees, in harsh weather, rain or shine, with no thoughts of a building. But God began to bring more women and children to ROWAN and ten years later the family is overflowing! The Hall of Hope will have two large classrooms for tutoring, literacy, Bible studies, tailoring, jewelry-making, and much more. There will be additional office space; most of us know the value of a desk or table to work from. What might be most exciting though is that the Hall holds 600 people and will be able to house the entire ROWAN family, at once. The ROWAN family has never had a place where they can all gather together. In the past, it was difficult to even get people to come on the property, as the word AIDS is in our name. The shame and stigma are high. But God lovingly brought dignity to those who came, and more came, and it became clear it was time to give them a place, a beautiful building, their “sun among stars”. They can look at their Hall of Hope now and think, “WOW, that is for me.” People will pass by and see who this beauty is for.
We know that Notre Dame began as a place for ordinary Parisians to worship God. “If anyone is worth a beautiful building, let it be the widows and orphans. ROWAN is their family and the Hall is our family room.”— Co-founder Kelsey Hargadine
The Hall of Hope will be dedicated on May 26, 2019.
Pastor Paul is traveling all the way from Uganda to the United States to meet all of you!
As ecstatic as we are to have him here at last, our great news doesn’t stop there—
Pastor Paul’s purpose in coming is to help raise funds for … (drum-roll please) …
the first actual ROWAN building: the Hall of Hope! Most organizations build big structures and hope people show up. Instead, we’ve served thousands of people under the trees for 10 years, and it’s finally time to build a building!
Our fundraising efforts and Pastor Paul’s visit are about so much more than just a building, though. The way we serve Ugandan orphans and widows is through our programs, and ALL of our programs will be housed there— savings groups and business courses, Saturday kids’ programs, tutoring and counseling, HIV training, sewing and jewelry-making classes, and every other meeting or event imaginable will all take place in this building:
This will allow us to be even more inclusive and hospitable to those in the surrounding community, and it will also make our programs and service more effective! THANK YOU for partnering with us as we take this next step!