Last week, I journeyed out from our new home at Kasana Children’s Center to visit Musana Camps. I spent the week meeting with the management team there regarding the transition out of my administrative role at camp, new organizational structure, and making preparations for the 2019 budget. After some work with that team, I was joined by the rest of the members of the New Hope Uganda “National Team”.
The National Team is a representation of the spiritual and administrative leaders from across the organization. This team meets three times a year to discuss the vision and direction of the ministry, and to update each other on the progress and problems being realized at our dispersed locations.
I am so thankful for this team, and the wisdom they possess. God has gifted this team with very different personalities and gifts. Each person is uniquely qualified and empowered by God to speak according to their talents. This really helps us to understand each other and respectfully debate. This mutual trust and respect is invaluable to our ability to change and meet the needs of the people we are trying to best serve. One of the greatest aspects of this National Team is that several are sons or daughters of the ministry, actually raised by New Hope Uganda as orphans and now contributing back to the ministry in levels of authority.
One of the outcomes of the meeting this year was a resounding commitment to improve compensation for our Ugandan staff members. Uganda is developing very quickly, and we have been seeing double-digit inflation rates taking their toll on our people. As a ministry, we are already somewhat limited in what we can pay. Unfortunately, the inflation has greatly out-paced our pay scale and ability to match that growth.
We are thankful for the generous donors who support this ministry. We are also thankful for the progress made by our US based team (New Hope Uganda Ministries), who have aggressively pursued financial accountability and our endorsement by the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). This has helped to develop trust as we seek to be great stewards of what is donated to the ministry.
At the beginning of 2018, NHUM set a goal of 300 new child sponosorships. This goal was seen as being achievable, but quite ambitious. The crazy realization I had as an administrator is the logical conclusion that this means there are more than 300 sponsorships available! Child sponsorship is the path to employee compensation. In reality, a huge reason why our staff are underpaid is because the system depends on the sponsorship of our children. 300 children at $35 each equates to 39 Million Shillings per month. That would go a long way to helping us to reward our staff members for their investment into our children.
Each child may be sponsored by 1 donor at $70, or 2 donors at $35 each. Our sponsorship department ensures that the children are only sponsored by either 1 or 2 donors. For most children, we are seeking relational donors who will send communication to the children, and receive communication back from those kids. Those donors are also encouraged to come to Uganda if they have the chance, and see first-hand the difference their support is making in the lives of the children. There are still some children who have non-relational support. Those children are from especially complicated situations that require extra diligence on our part to ensure stability, which can at times mean limiting outside relationships that could further confuse them.
Another avenue for support of this ministry is staff sponsorship. Sponsoring a member of our staff is also relational, and allows you to see the fruit of that support. Those funds help us to continue their education, improve their salary, and support the ministry’s ability to pay their existing salary. We think of our Ugandan staff as missionaries in every way. In a developing nation that is drawing people out of remote areas and toward life in the major cities, our staff are giving up some advantages of their education in order to come back to our remote children’s centers where they join with us in ministry to these orphaned children.
Will you advocate for our children? Maybe you would be willing to get the word out in your church, perhaps even set up a booth for child sponsorship. Orphan Sunday is coming up on November 4th, which is an excellent opportunity to get the word out on the value of child sponsorship. Also, you can direct anyone interested in sponsorship to the New Hope Uganda website for profiles and more information, found HERE.
Help us to sponsor our kids and staff, to deliver fair compensation to our staff who invest so much of themselves, and help us carry forward the vision of bringing the fatherhood of God to the fatherless. Some day the very child your sponsor might be standing in a picture like this one, leading another generation of Ugandans in the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.