Meet Ambrose from Uganda
Meet Ambrose Luwerekera! Ambrose has been working at the Good Samaritan Community Primary School in Uganda for 4 years. He works with the sponsored children by helping them register in the program, communicate with their sponsors, and take photos for their Annual Greeting Reports. In his role, he also gets to provide care and counselling to the children while assisting Pastor Joseph. Jose had the opportunity to interview Ambrose when he was in Uganda, and we want to share this with you!
Ambrose, what do you like most about your job?
I have a strong passion for children. I like the children; they are part of my life. When I am with them, playing with them, counselling them, helping with the letters, or taking their photos, I am very happy. With the children, I also enjoy trying to change a bad situation into a better one.
What is a challenge that you face in your job?
When a child comes to me thinking I am the solution for a problem they have and I can’t solve the problem, it is hard. Sometimes they come to me and tell me they don’t have this or that and I cannot provide materially. It is difficult.
What are some challenges from the children?
One of the biggest challenges is children being absent from school and getting behind in their studies. When children get sick, they can’t come to school. It is common for them to stay home sick for many days because their parents do not have the money for them to obtain treatment, so it takes longer for them to recover.
In addition, many families don’t stay in the area for a long time. They come looking for stability and they stay for 3 years, but they have to leave because of other challenges. Very few stay for many years.
How many students do you have in the school?
Good Samaritan School has 600 students enrolled. About half of these students are sponsored children with CCI.
How do you feel when you are told by CCI that you can add more children to the program?
I am very joyful when children are able to join. Every week I have over 5 parents asking me if there is an opportunity for their children to come to school. I always write their names on a list and when I find out that they can enter the program I am so happy, even when only one child can join.
How does a child feel when they receive a letter from their sponsor?
They are so happy! They think some of the pictures are very funny too. Sometimes it is challenging for them to understand what their sponsors write because of the handwriting, but I help with that. It is wonderful for them to receive the letters.
Ambrose, you are newly married and have a small child now. Has this changed your perspective on your job?
Yes, it has added more love for the children. It has also helped me to understand the parents more as I am going through some of the same challenges.
What are your dreams and hopes for the school?
I dream of more and more degrees and skills from children that have gone through the school, resulting in greater employment thanks to this program.
How has the school changed the community?
The school has impacted the community in a big way. A few years ago, it was a big challenge for the children to be able to write, even the older ones. Some couldn’t even write their names. Knowing how to read and write has been a major challenge in this community, but I have seen a big change in this area. Now children are learning! And when the children learn literacy skills, they can also help their parents. They are influencing their families.
There are also other challenges with the parents, but we are seeing that they are changing and being transformed. An area I have seen transformation in is regarding family conflict. Some children will miss school because of family conflict, so I will visit and counsel them, however this is also improving. Now the children go home and share with their parents what they are learning in school. They tell their parents not to fight, but instead to pray for each other.
What is the relationship between the school and the church?
Having the leader of the church also be the leader of the school has created a big impact. The message that has been preached in the church has transformed the parents, and at the same time the message that is being taught by the teachers in the school has brought transformation to the students. The children share with their parents what they learn in school and then the parents decide to go to church, and then church attendance is growing because of the school. The change that the parents see in the lives of their children influences them to go to church. They realize that there is something greater: God. We have a plan to extend the church because more people are coming, including many children.
Ambrose, could you share something special about your community?
In this area many people raise cattle, and this is the main activity. A few years ago we used to have a market but now it stopped, so now people bring things from Tanzania to sell in the community and earn some profit from it. Most people in the community love and worship God. This is a community that has love and likes to share.
In addition, 5 or 6 languages are spoken here, including Luganda, Runyankore, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, and English.
What would you like to say to the sponsors?
We are so grateful for the letters because it is a way for the children here to get to know you, what you like, and how you look. The stories in your letters impact our children. We are also very thankful for the school fees. It makes me so happy to receive the letters and the school fees for the children. It is wonderful! I personally had received financial support to go to school and university. The way I felt when school fees were paid for me is the same way I feel when the children receive their school fees. That is why I am so passionate about it.