This week’s #FortunateFriday feature is HopeBuilders International, an Australian not-for-profit charity organisation whose aim is to build hope and provide a future for at-risk and vulnerable orphans, so that they can grow up to be a generation that will change the culture of poverty and greed that they now live in.
I’ve personally never been to Uganda but the stories I’ve heard from people who have is simply heartbreaking. We forget at times how fortunate we are to be living in a society where we don’t have to walk days just to collect water for our families, where we don’t have to choose between going to school and working to ensure our families are fed at such a young age, where we don’t have to feel so broken because a bright future simply doesn’t look like it exists for us.
This is why organisations such as HopeBuilders International is so essential for these communities, and for us to – to always remind ourselves how grateful we should be and how we can help others to lift them out of that ruthless cycle of poverty.
Who is HopeBuilders International?
Established in 2007, HopeBuilders International is run by a small team of volunteers who are motivated by their faith to love the destitute, marginalised and abandoned. The volunteers are determined to build hope into the lives of these precious people.
So far, they have been able to construct 14 homes on 4 acres of land which sits on the high side of the Jinja District with a view of Lake Victoria, in the Wairaka parish. This parcel of land has been named ‘The Village of Hope’. How apt! Each house in the village has been designed to house up to 8 orphans and a house mother, who in most cases would be a widow. This creates that homely atmosphere these orphans so badly need.
These homes are constructed out of earth bricks which are produced by widows that have been trained and equipped by HopeBuilders International. The organisation has also been able to purchase two commuter buses which operates from the village as a commercial activity providing funds back to the village.
These heart-warming homes provide the opportunity for these children to grow up in a family-like environment and the village even has an administration centre which provides offices for the running of the village, as well as vocational and other life-skill type training programs for the mothers and children.
What is Go the Extra Mile?
HopeBuilders International holds an annual charity walk – Go the Extra Mile, which happens to be taking place tomorrow! The event is a 50-km endurance walk where participants walk along well worn shared paths and trails that wind their way from Jells Park all the way into the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. The walking course will take in peaceful parklands and breathtaking vistas overlooking the cityscape of Melbourne.
The charity walk attracts people from all walks of life and people of all ages! After all, who doesn’t like to get fit for a great cause? Now, eventhough the deadline for registration is now closed, you can still help out by donating directly to the organisation here.
The funds from the charity walk goes towards creating homes for Uganda’s orphans, rescuing them from the slums and streets, providing them with a safe, secure, and loving home. Funds are also raised to educate, feed, clothe and provide medical care for each child HopeBuilders International is able to help.
HopeBuilders International has also founded other projects such as:
Home of Hope – which is a community based organisation that takes care of children with multiple disabilities;
Youth Support Uganda – which helps support youth in Uganda with the daily challenges they face such as drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual violence;
Jinja Christian School – which provides quality Christian education to children in the Jinja District; and
Schoolies Revolution – which makes a difference in the lives of young people in Australia and in third-world countries over a 3-week trip.
It amazes me how selfless some people are, taking care of the needs of others and putting others before themselves. As a society, especially in our society, we often think we’re invincible. Always thinking, “oh, that’s their problem, it doesn’t affect us!” We seem to quickly forget how we could’ve easily been in their shoes instead and living their lives.
Let’s try to be more caring and sincere with others. Forget what we own (or don’t yet own), forget what our nationality or race is, forget what the colour of our skin is, let’s treat each other as though we’re all family.
I know sometimes it can be hard, especially when we hear all these selfish voices screaming about how we have to work longer and earn more money just to save for a home, how refugees are taking our jobs and our leaders constantly debating what needs to be done to “keep our borders safe”. But we have a duty, to always help those in need. Because in some way, it helps us in so many more ways.
Please note, our #FortunateFriday posts are not sponsored. They are chosen to be featured by our team in consultation with our students, and they are chosen because we believe in what they do and want the world to know about them!
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‘Till our next #FortunateFriday feature, have a great week and remember to be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Your act of kindness could create immense change beyond your wildest imagination!
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