Saturday, November 10, 2012

Check out our new Newsletter!

We are excited to be closing our blog and will be publishing periodic Newsletters instead.  Please check out the latest. African Hearts Newsletter Page.

Friday, November 2, 2012

October 2012 Update

Dear friends and supporters,

It is always a pleasure to bring to you the latest news at African Hearts. We thank you for taking the courtesy of reading our news blog. We are happy to report the following news.
Slum Outreach
I am thankful for all of you for standing with us in prayer when I communicated about the slum children falling sick.  Many of you kept us in your thoughts and prayers, and some also made financial contributions, and for that, we are grateful. The children who were sick are now much better. With your giving we have also been able to treat more children with medical needs.  The feeding and literacy programs are going on as usual.

We have several boys doing their national exams this year. These are so important as they will determine their progress to other levels of education.  Please remember Awori Moses, Matalo Joel, Kisaaky Brian, Lubega Brian, Sebagala Moses who are all in Senior Four classes and also Mukasa Derrick who is in Primary Seven.

At the African Hearts Junior School, we are in preparations for the end of year concert.  Children are rehearsing tirelessly as well as continuing their class work. We expect several dignitaries and possibly the vice president of Uganda to attend the concert, if all goes well.  Just a few days ago, one of the teachers came and thanked me for the printer and computers we bought at the school because this has greatly made their work easier.  Now they can type and print to send home remedial work for weak children. I saw the gratitude on his face and felt I should share it because our faithful donor gave this printer, not me.  We are grateful!
The construction of the dormitory and vocational center is starting soon but with a new twist! The engineer from the district came and advised that due to the slope on our land, we need to have a storied building for strength and good use of space. We also realized that with this we could have both a dormitory and vocational center at the same time in the same space. Please join us in prayer for provision for this need.

Brass Band
Our band has been doing some business recently.  We have also been accepted to play at Nakumatt, one of the leading shopping malls in Kampala during the festive season.  We are going to perform for free, but the management has allowed us to sell our Christmas carol CDs to people in the mall who enjoy our music. This will be a great way of raising some of the money needed for the dormitory and vocational center construction, for our agriculture project and for the youth micro-loan program that we intend to begin.  These are examples of using what God has given us for self-sufficiency and food security.

I am happy to report that all the boys are healthy and happy, and all are excited about the end of year concert at school among other things. They are also looking forward to attending the Word of Life Christian Camp December 7-13 as God provides.

Our goat gave birth to two kids, and all the boys were so excited to see the multiplication of their goats. We are also in the final touches of completing the new Youth Home. We have paid for electricity to be installed, and we are just waiting for the company.

Another Success Story

Allow me to introduce you to a young man whom I have had the opportunity to minister to for over eight years now.  He is Bashir Isiko, commonly known as PEM, because he is so good at Physics, Economics and Mathematics. PEM lost both parents and life became so hard.  After his parents died, the landlord kicked him and his brother out of the house. He wandered looking for survival and found African Hearts. We took him back to school after a long time out of school, and he proved to be a good student with good grades. He has currently finished his last year of Diploma in Procurement, and he emerged as the best student of his class! Today Bashir is leading the Youth Home and program, as well as working at the African Hearts Junior School.  He is an assistant math teacher helping with remedial work, and he recently took on a new role of assistant school bursar.  We are very proud of Bashir Isiko, and we praise God for blessing his life!

We are grateful to our friends at Morning Star Foundation who have supported our new area of operation in Kyerima by providing safe drinking water through a borehole. This entire village was fetching water from a pool of dirty water, and they have no church, school or health facility since it is basically a remote area in Uganda. They now at least have a borehole though more are needed, but they are grateful for this one they have. This is the area where we bought our farmland, and this is a good entry point for us and for our future projects in this area.  We intend to grow our food and form cooperatives so that we can supply milk and food to help families economically and spiritually.  In short, we want to invest wisely on this land to sustain existing African Hearts programs and also to transform this area of Kyerima for the glory of God.

Prayer Requests 
1.     Funds for dormitory/vocational school, farming, micro-loans
2.     God’s wisdom for children doing exams
3.     Good health and protection for all our children and leaders

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 2012 Update

Dear friends, family and supporters, we wish to inform you of new tidings as they unfold at African Hearts Community Organization.

African Hearts Junior School
Head prefect Peter Sentongo clad in a scout uniform.
School Elections
Thirteen year old Peter Sentongo was chosen by African Hearts Junior School pupils as the Head Prefect. He won over Adam Kanabo with a big margin in the campaigns with each of the contestants promising to deliver what is needed if voted into office and ended with the voting  on July 19.  “I feel so great as a former street child to lead more than four hundred pupils. It is a great honor, “ says Sentongo.  Sentongo is committed to serving his fellow pupils, and he promised to treat every one fairly without fear or favor and that is his number one responsibility as the new school term commences. This former street boy who was rescued a year ago from the slums of Kivulu, now lives in the Ssenge Home.  He is devoted to serving and honoring God.  He wants to be a doctor when he grows up, and he desires to have good grades in his studies. 
This time around the campaigns and the voting were so amazing as six year old Jeremiah Kasule of primary one managed to take on and defeat Edwin Mukisa of primary six .
Jeremiah Kasule, the newly elected school timekeeper
During the campaigns the lower primary and even most of the upper primary class pupils could sing and chant out Jeremiah’s name all the time saying, “Our man, our man, our man!“
In Mathew 18, the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” The answer was that any one who welcomes a little child in his or her house is welcoming Jesus, and they were told not to look down on any of the little ones (children) because in heaven their angels are always in the presence of the Heavenly Father.
School Shoes
Eleven year old Anna Ervin from White Oak Elementary School in North Carolina spearheaded the fundraising of children’s shoes when she learned of children in Africa going to school without shoes. In June, little Ervin brought over one hundred pairs of shoes to the pupils of African Hearts Junior School.
“I wanted to help and thought of what to do.  When I found out that mom and I  were coming to Uganda with a mission team that was to conduct medical clinics, I had to think of how to help and then did a shoe fundraising drive,“ she said.
Anna promised to continue praying for the children of Uganda and that the Lord enables her to visit again .

Ssenge Home News
Our newest addition to the Ssenge Home is Regan Onyango.  A few weeks back Onyango was rescued from Kabalagala Police Station after nine months living with police officers wondering what the next day would be like. The nine year old boy was abandoned by his parents last year in Kampala city and was picked up by a Good Samaritan who sought help from police.  In a letter presented to African Hearts Community Organization, the Kampala City Council Welfare Officer requested the organization to offer alternative care to Onyango as tracing for his family continues.
Joshua Eyaru, a Sunday School teacher at Kabalagala who got so concerned about Onyango’s vulnerability, says that he came to know about Regan’s life as each Sunday children were asked in church about their lives.  Children who were friends with him told the church that Onyango has no parents.
’’Onyango was dropped at the police barracks as a missing child.  He could sleep and  eat everywhere on the streets. The church became keenly interested to help him out, but we had to follow the right way as required by the law,‘’ Mr Eyaru told African Hearts officials recently.  “We also tried to put him in a boarding school, but now we are relieved since he is going to be staying in a transition home in the mean time,” Mr. Eyaru said.  According to Silvia, the house mom, Onyango is adapting to living in the African Hearts Ssenge Home and enjoys music and soccer.
Other children from the Ssenge Home got to visit with their relatives as plans are under way for resettlement and re-integration into families ordained of God.
Mr.Joshua Eyaru with Regan Onyango at the Kabalaga Police Barracks

Prayer Requests:
1.  Funds for building the dormitory at African Hearts Junior School.
2. Good health for the children under our care.
3.  Wisdom for the children going for last term before national exams.
4.  Youth micro-loan program

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

July 2012 Update

Dear friends, family and supporters:

Warm greetings from African Hearts Community Organisation.  I thank you very much for taking the time to read our news blog. I am happy to report on all that transpired in the month of July.

Slum Outreach
It is always a joy for the children living on the street to come to the outreach programs because that is when they get a hot meal, get their wounds treated, get someone to talk to and dream with and feel the comfort. In fact, some street children come to our programs in the community center to have some good sleep because that is the only time they feel safe. This month we had several children rounded up by police; some were rescued but others are still missing. We pray they are safe. Kisenyi, the biggest slum in Kampala, is being taken over by some rich people, and many children come to us worried about where they will go.  This is a huge worry added to the troubled life they are leading.

The children in the home are doing great, though we had several, especially the very young ones, fall sick. In fact, at some point all the three of them were sick.  But I am happy to report now that they are fine. We have been trained on the new government rules for running homes, and they stressed that we should not keep children above 17 years of age in a home. This is a tough demand as the children we get have been robbed of their childhood, and for some, it will take them a longer time to heal. According to the government, if someone turns eighteen they are mature and don’t need to be in a children’s home. All the Ssenge boys have been to a camp recently and have great memories from the camp.  We are grateful for the generous gift of two cows from Peter and Helen. We bought one of the high milk- producing cows which we hope is going to boost our Ssenge House income and provide enough milk for the children to drink. This holiday we are also focusing on the children learning life skills.

School is going well and finishing strong. We officially closed our second school term on August 3.  Some children performed well, but others are still struggling. We tried to investigate, and most of the findings are related to too much work at home or a lack of electricity so children cannot revise at home.  Many of the children said that after the meals they get at school, they don’t get anything else to eat when they go back home, and therefore they are hungry and cannot revise. The head teacher advised that we establish a dormitory to house some of these students so that we can meet all these challenges. Please pray that we get the funds to do this. The term also closed with the swearing in of a new prefectorial body which was voted in by fellow pupils.  It was a great joy for the new leaders.

Youth Micro-Loan Program
We had the first training of the four young men selected under this program. They have classes on business and discipleship three days every week.  They meet with their mentors to dream with them, and after that they will have exams in everything they have learned.  Then they will present their business proposals, and successful candidates may receive loans from African Hearts depending on the funds we will have available.

Success story
Dibbya Samuel Joined African Hearts in 2003.  He was trained in the brass band and  was able to regain his self-esteem. Sammy became one of the best musicians in the band at African Hearts and later joined a church group where he plays a bass guitar and keyboard.  He recently returned from a European tour performing with a band for four months.  Sammy now lives independently and earns from his music.  With the money he earns from his music, Sammy has supported his mother to have some brickmaking business and also paid for some of his siblings’ school fees occasionally. He is also working with African Hearts as the administrative assistant.

Friends of African Hearts
Friends of African Hearts is a fundraising strategy mainly targeting the local population. This idea was birthed after realizing the great need for funds to run the growing ministry. Under this we approach people to become friends of African Hearts through prayer and financial support. We are amazed at the great response in the first month. Even some boys who were raised by the ministry are financially giving back to African Hearts.  Pray it goes well.  We hope to expand even to other countries.

I am going to be traveling to the U.S. on August 25 to September 17.  Please pray for my travel.

Prayer requests:
  1. Funds for the dormitory at the African Hearts Junior School
  2. Good health of all the children under our care
  3. Wisdom for the children going for their last term before national exams
  4. Youth Micro-loan program

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 2012 Update

Dear friends and supporters, I have the pleasure to bring to you news from African Hearts in a different version.  Please enjoy these updates of how God is blessing our ministry.

Children in Our Ministry

Ivan Lusiba, a boy rescued from the streets in 2008, is now able to explore his talents. He is a craftsman who can play with anything to make something of his own. Creative ideas just flow from him every day. This time he made a toy ship by connecting used cells on a motor and then displaying for his brothers how the water becomes an ocean in the basin. Ivan wants to be an engineer.  His teachers say he is one of the best performers in class. We are very proud of Ivan.

Kassim and John, our youngest children, started school this term year. They pretty much don’t know what it is all about but they enjoy the early morning breakfast. They love to play, and to them it is cool to carry their backpacks as they go to school. Steps to their future have begun.

Kisito Issa is one of the pioneers of African Hearts Community Organisation. He was picked by the organisation in 2002.  He has been through the school system and finally discovered his tailoring talent. African Hearts took him to a tailoring school where he emerged as the best student of his year. He is now the uniform designer at the African Hearts Junior School.  He is able to meet all his needs and support himself. He says he is forever grateful for the support from African Hearts, and we at African Hearts are also grateful to God and all the people who support our mission. We have a vision of expanding this project and other vocational skills because with such schools, youths are able to get jobs more easily than waiting for white collar jobs.

School News

School is going well.  Enrollment increased to 403 pupils.  We have been blessed by visiting teams, and they conducted a massive medical treatment of children and their parents at the school.  Furthermore, some vulnerable children and orphans were blessed by their fellow child Anna from America who collected over 200 pairs of shoes that were given to the children.  Happiness was all over the place.

African Hearts office
We feel blessed to have this new office block for African Hearts operations. This is a government requirement, but also it is a good place for all of us to meet as a team on a regular basis and for proper custody of official documents. African Hearts has taken a journey to professionalism and this is one of the needs we realized in our SWOT analysis. This is a journey, so please keep praying for us.

Future Plans and Prayer Requests
We are first of all grateful to God for how far he has brought us. We look back and say there is no way we would have gotten here by our own.  One of the issues hitting my heart really hard is the struggle to help the children who have grown up in our ministry and have become youths. How can we prepare them to launch in life?   Although, they have had great opportunities and hope from African Hearts, many of them reach this stage and feel not hope but dependency.  Some of them may not make it to the university due to finances, while others even after university find it so very hard to find jobs. Unemployment is very high in Uganda. The youths are greatly affected because they cannot even access credit facilities to start up income generating activities.  Banks often ask for collateral security which in most cases is land, yet most, if not all, of them don’t have land in their names.

It is against that background and other issues that African Hearts has started up a youth program where it seeks to train the youths in entrepreneurial skills and a micro-loan scheme for successful candidates as a launch plan for the youths to start up their journey of being independent and productive members of society. We also want to place these young men with mentors to train and disciple them so that they can be prepared for life in the real world.  Pray that we get clear direction and also the funds to establish this program to help many young men as they transition from childhood to youths and then to men with families of their own.

Other Prayer Requests:
  • Health
  • Children who are taking their exams that they may go well
  • Safety of the children living on the streets; there have been several round ups recently and some children managed to escape from the government rehabilitation facility
  • More business for the African Hearts Band.

God Bless,
Executive Director African Hearts Community Organisation

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 2012 Update

Dear friends of African Hearts! 
I hope this finds you well. I am grateful that after a long time I am able to send another update. God has been good to us, and much has happened! 
Slum Ministry

Everything is going on well in the slums except that there was a police round up recently, and they took some street children to prison.  Kenny was able to retrieve some of the boys, but some are still in prison and in the government rehabilitation facility. We had a very successful International Street Children's Day celebration.  We had good weather, and many people joined us including some media houses.  Hopefully the voices of the street children can be heard at some point.  We had all the boys in the homes and the band go to the slums and join their brothers.  We did community work and sports.  Our boys from Ssenge were playing soccer against the children living on the streets.  There was music, and we also had a street children's march led by our Royale Band.  Street children suggested ideas that we put on the signs that were shown to the country as we were marching. I am glad at the end of it that they all felt they had communicated their hearts and that they are recognized the world over.

The school is going on well.  We are about to close the term on Friday, April 20.  Children have taken their end of term exams.  Those of you who are sponsoring children in the African Hearts Junior School will be receiving report cards and letters from your sponsored children. We have also installed electricity in the school since it was a need communicated by the head teacher that they need to be able to print education materials any time to help children pass. So we are believing God for printers, a photocopying machine and computers for the school.  We are also planning to add a school gate in order to increase protection and security at the school. We are also thinking of building a school dormitory in order to accommodate children for boarding.

The children in the Ssenge home are doing well.  We are building a permanent home in Ssenge for the older boys who used to live in the Kampala house. The boys in Ssenge enjoyed their time in the slums.  They gave their testimonies and also liked meeting their old friends. The two little boys, John and Kassim, will be starting school for the first time next term. 
The band is still getting some business. We are still in touch with the community children, and whenever there is a performance, we call on them for practice and performance.  The older boys who are on holidays have been very helpful in building the new home in Ssenge and making bricks.  We paid for one of the boys named Kizito Issa to get training in tailoring. He finished his course successfully, and we have agreed to employ him at the school to make school uniforms and other designs. We also think that he will train people from the community who need to learn tailoring. Kizito is another African Hearts success story!  In a new development, we have finished all the negotiations for land acquisition, and we may conclude the deal next week.
Prayer requests
1.  Photocopying machine, school computer and printer
2.  Provision for dormitory construction
3.  Good health for all our children 
Thank you for your prayers and support!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March 1, 2012 Update

Dear Friends, 

Greetings from African Hearts. I hope this finds you well. We are all fine except for Peter Sentongo in the Ssenge Home who is sick.

Will you please take a moment and read the following updates: 

We are moved from the Kampala Home this week. I am very proud of these young men because they thought it would be fitting to clean and leave the house in very good shape.  They have been a great testimony to the landlord, and he is very proud. He said he prays he gets new tenants as good as we have been. We have pretty much packed up everything.  We have decided to take every boy living in the Kampala Home to boarding school and hostels to give us time to prepare the new place we want to build for them in Ssenge. 

The Ssenge Home is doing well. I am glad to report that we managed to rescue 4 more boys off the street, and they are now happily living with us in Ssenge.  Yusuf, Alafat, Marvin, and Hakim are the four new boys in the Ssenge Home.  They are very grateful to belong to a family and to have an opportunity for an assured meal, medical care, love, devotionals and an education at the African Hearts Junior school. We decided to put them in school right away while we look for sponsors for them since the teachers say they are a good fit.  According to the assessment, Yusuf needs to have more coaching and building up his esteem, but all this will be taken care of.  Lubega George is also back with us to study at the African Hearts Junior school. He has been taking good care of our new goat.

Thanks to everyone who prayed for Sabote.  We were all scared, but God healed him from the dog bites.  I saw him, and he was smiling again which he had not done in days after he was bitten by dogs.  The slum programs are going well.  The rains have started, and this is the most challenging time for street children!  Please remember them in your prayers that they will not die or be overtaken by running water. Pray that God will be their shelter even at night.


As you all know, the new school term began January 31.  We started with classes from nursery to primary six.  We have about 400 children this academic year. We started using our new classroom block to accommodate the new students.  The kitchen is also in operation.  We have managed to put a fence around the school, and we still have some small construction projects.  We have hired new teachers, and the children look very happy. Many thanks to those sponsoring some of these children to have an opportunity for an education. 

The boys have started making bricks for the new Ssenge House to replace the old Kampala House. We are thinking of offering services locally to generate funds.  One of the boys has learned how to make liquid soap and he is going to teach others so we are can produce for large shops in Kampala. Also looking at the Ssenge Community, many women are widows or single parents, and the reason most of them cannot pay to send their children to school is lack of jobs so they cannot earn any income. So we decided to revive the training we had offered to help them take care of their families. We are brainstorming about proper implementation so please keep praying for us as we plan.  We praise the Lord that through our partners Engage Hope we got a loan to buy a van to transport our band, and we hope to use it also as an income generating project.

Prayer requests
1. Wisdom
2. Equipment especially for the babies at school
3. Healing for the sick boys
4. More business for the band

God Bless.