Since December, we've had lots of exciting things happen in Gulu, Uganda! We hosted an amazing Christmas party for all our girls at the Rescue Home and each of our 11 girls received a new dress, a nightgown, pretty panties, a beanie baby, a little purse, her own wash cloth, and a coloring book. There was lots of screaming and squeals of glee. The girls are now entering their second year of school and were blessed to have plenty of tutoring over the holiday break by our volunteers to prepare them for this new year. All of our girls passed their exams with flying colors, with some of them being at the top of their class. We have spent the month of January identifying new little girls who are being sexually exploited to enter the home and have interviewed over 11 children and guardians already. We have 9 new spots to fill this year which will make our total up to 20.
Our women escaping forced prostitution at the Counseling Center have been busy making jewelry through our Imani Employment Program. We now have 10 women employed making above average fair trade wages and have just started a savings program this month to help them put their children into school. They are also receiving English classes twice a week to give them more opportunities in the future. The women have made over 800 necklaces since December and are able to provide for themselves and their children. As one of our women says, "I thank God for my job with Imani because I was crying out to God because I did not want to go back to prostitution for money. I don't sleep cold anymore."
Our most exciting news is that we are finally starting our Nursery School for our babies, toddlers, and children up to the age of 5 years old. We have between 20-30 little ones who we take care of while their mothers are working because most of our mothers cannot afford nursery school fees. We just purchased a large tent for them to meet in and are building tables and miniature chairs for them. We also bought a bunch of toys, blocks, posters and fun things for them to play with. They are learning English, their alphabet, counting, and writing and receive meals. Most of these children would be at home by themselves or not receiving an education, so we are excited to see them grow and develop in positive ways. We also hosted a HIV/AIDS (Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission) for 40 women in the community and gave gave formula to needy babies, and a 3 day Marriage & Relationships Conference which 80-100 people attended each day to learn about how to have healthy, non-violent relationships. We saw this greatly transform the mindset in our local community about how to relate in love to one another.
Thank you for your continued support in helping us change lives one person at at time.
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