As I’ve probably shared with you on Facebook, Sweet Sleep is doing some amazing things in Gulu, Uganda–where the country’s history is being made. If you’re not especially familiar with that, here’s the skinny:
Sweet Sleep has partners in northern Uganda (Gulu) which include World Vision, American Refugee Committee (ARC) and the Child Protection Office. There are still 1 million people living in IDP camps (Internally Displaced Persons) and an estimated 750,000 of those are children in child-headed households. Our partners are working to trace their family name back to their home tribe and then working with the village tribe leaders to determine what land their family owned. They’re then trying to relocate the children into their home land and give them a new chance and hope at life.
The million people in the camps are referred to as EVI’s (Extremely Vulnerable Individuals). They are the poorest of the poor: the disabled, the poor, the elderly, the sick, the widowed, the orphaned. They have no possible way to leave the camps…without outside help. However, even with that outside help, many of them are still greatly fearful of leaving. They’ve been living in the camps for 20 years. These children have been born into the camps, so even as horrible a place to live as it is, it’s all they’ve ever known. They’ve lived with endless experiences and stories of what the rebels have done and are fearful of leaving the “safe” camps to return home. The camps are hardly safe as completely awful things happen to them there.
Our partner, ARC, has shared with us that it has been hard to resettle the last million people from the camps, even though the Government is shutting them down and forcing them out. They fear for their lives and don’t want to move—even with the prospect of getting a new home on their family land. Until….
As I met with World Vision, ARC and the Child Protection Office this past December, they collectively shared with me they hoped to resettle approximately 700 children this year—-a number that was higher than what they resettled in 2009. ARC had the bulk of that with 600 children. By the end of June 2010 Sweet Sleep had already provided them with the full amount they’d imagined they’d need for the year. As I sat across from ARC leadership in Gulu this past June they shared with me their amazement over this happening. Other organizations have come to them and asked how they’ve been able to get so many children resettled and they’ve shared with them…..beds, nets and Bibles from Sweet Sleep have motivated them to leave the IDP camps for home. Amazing. Simply amazing.
I’m blessed beyond words to be a part of a ministry which is impacting lives in ways I can’t even comprehend. This is one of the most powerful and incredible experiences I’ve been able to have in the 7 years I’ve been working for Sweet Sleep. You can share in that experience with me.
Because of the tremendous response they’ve gotten with our bedding and Bibles, ARC is going to resettle another 700 children this fall. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. You shouldn’t either.
Join me in this November for a once in a lifetime opportunity to help reintegrate orphaned children into their family’s land with their new home…their new beds, mosquito nets and Bibles. Trip dates are October 30-November 8, 2010. Pass this along to others who might like to go on the trip. If you have questions, let me know.
And, if you have people who might like to contribute financially to this need, please forward this post as well. Sweet Sleep hadn’t expected to provide an additional 700 beds to Gulu this year. If these children are willing to leave behind their old lives for the hope of a new beginning, then I think I can ask every person I know for $50. $50. That’s what it takes right now to provide one child with a bed, net and a Bible. We need $35,000 total. I know we can do it.