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Christian Life orphanage helps lift needy Ugandan children

November 2, 2017 GMT

In Uganda, very little in life is guaranteed for people who live there, including being able to obtain an education.

“There is no free education here in Uganda,” said Betty Nansiri, a team leader for Christian Life Ministries and Orphanages.

Because of a high poverty rate, many children in the country of 37 million people can’t afford to attend school. Many are also orphaned because their parents have died from disease. Christian Life Ministries in Seeta is giving these children a second chance -- an opportunity that team leader Nansiri couldn’t pass up.

“I fell in love with the people,” she said. “I was so touched, and I said God is calling me to do something.”

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School officials say 863 Ugandan children attend the school, and about half of them are orphans while others come from families that don’t have much money. The students’ education is completely funded by private donations, and a large portion of those come from U.S. donors.

“They have grown up without people loving them,” Nansiri said. “They have grown up in homes where there is violence.”

Irene Nalukenge, 17, started attending the school when she was 6 years old and hopes to become a nurse someday. Her benefactor is Dr. Michael Haglund, a Duke University neurosurgeon who has supported the teen’s educational goals for 10 years.

“I’m so pleased to have him,” Nalukenge said.

Members from the Duke Global Neurosurgery and Neuroscience group have visited the orphanage during their annual trips to Uganda to perform medical procedures.

Moses Ssekandi, 19, came to the school when he was 9 years old after his mother could no longer afford to care for him. His goal is to become a medical doctor.

“I came from a very poor family and a very poor city, so I wouldn’t be anyone if it wasn’t for them,” Ssekandi said.

The students live very simple lives. Some 14 students are assigned to a house mother, and they all reside in small, concrete homes on school grounds that do not have running water. Their food is cooked en masse in large vats and transported by wheelbarrows to the dining hall.

But the students have smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts, especially when they attend their daily chapel service. The youngsters said a big part of their education involves their Christian faith, a belief that gives them hope that there is more to life than struggling to overcome poverty.

“It makes me happy and proud because I feel like we are touching lives,” Nansiri said. “Seeing something from nothing becoming someone.”

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