Monica, born in 2005, comes from a child-headed family. Her father died of HIV/AIDS in 2007 and her mother passed soon after in 2010. By the time her parents were gone, her and her siblings only had their oldest sister, who was 14 years old, to head a family of five orphans. Their nearby relatives abandoned them and they struggled to even have enough food for a meal most days.

When Monica was identified and came to Calo Me Lare in 2011, she was quiet and submissive to everyone for a very long time, including the other children she lived with in the orphanage. Yet she says she easily began to feel her life was complete since she was given breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. What a simple way to live content after such hardship.

Monica soon learned to work hard and always kept busy helping helping her house mom with cleaning and fetching water. But what she really loves is babysitting the younger children from the new houses!

When she went to school for the first time, it was very hard for her to understand what the teacher was teaching and she felt ashamed every time she tried to speak up. Although, being wise above her years, she has now realized that there are other children who are much worse off than her all over Uganda. So she is feeling much more confident nowadays!

During last year’s holiday break, Project Hope staff visited Monica to monitor and follow up on her life in the village. It was observed that:

“Whenever Monica goes back home, she helps the other children at home with garden work, domestic chores, among other tasks. They even jointly constructed a grass-thatched hut for their older sister!”

Her uncle shared:

“Monica loves children and teaches them in the village whenever she returns for holidays.”

And her grandmother commented in addition to the uncle:

“Monica likes garden work and visits her extended family when she is home…Monica prays and reads her Bible, even to the other children in the village. Many children have approached me to take them to where Monica is staying.”

What a beautiful testament to the Lord’s work in Monica’s life. Having grown up in such a rough and dangerous environment, she could have easily died or taken a much more difficult path in life.

Instead, her sponsors, house mothers, peers and many others around her continued to encourage her and give her hope for her future; and now she has become a beacon of hope, a light for many younger children to follow through similar dark situations!