Does it shine like the sun in the morning or like the stars at night? Does love comfort with a smile? Or shine joyfully? Probably a bit of all. Love doesn’t ask for favors nor does it set no conditions. Love suffices itself. It connects children and parents, siblings, neighbors, classmates – even people all over the world. Actually, we could sing a love-song about it. That is why this letter for the third Advent is dedicated to you, the wonderful friends of our kids, our protégés. Because your help is their strength, their joy and much of what they are grateful for!
Friendship knows no boundaries
Kids of Africa has been supported for twenty years by many friends and by the shared desire to help needy children with a loving family, education and health. If it wasn’t for our many good friends, this long journey would never have happened. Let me mention just two couples and friends of our kids.
Dr. med. PD Julian Schilling and Dr. med. Danielle Gyurech, both experienced tropical physicians, have been supporting the children’s village for almost 20 years. In fact, they and their two sons Pino and Livio have always been part of the Kids of Africa-family. On site or in digital format, they always keep an eye on the health of our kids – and have saved lives in the process. Without their tireless support, Kids of Africa couldn’t be what it is today. Here’s their comment:
“Working with Kids of Africa is a pleasure, a privilege and a responsibility, above all. After all these years, it has grown under our skin and we feel it at the bottom of our hearts. Because every patient matters!”
Let us also let Sheila and Konstantin von Hoerner have their say. The two have visited and supported our small village several times – also with their young daughter. Since Sheila herself comes from Uganda, she knows the local conditions very well. Above all, they appreciate the sustainability of our commitment to our kids and to society. Listen to them here:
What you’ve done this year
In Uganda, the year 2021 was marked by a strict, national lockdown. All schools remained closed throughout theyear. Tourism collapsed. Countless jobs and incomes were lost. Domestic and social tensions increased, while life expectancy declined. It’s been a hard year.
But when society drifts apart, the role of the family becomes ever more important. Because families can protect and can strengthen society. That’s why, in 2021, we redoubled our efforts to provide help outside our small village (which has been living in quarantine for two years). It is about reaching out, about offering a meal or a helping hand to many children whose families are struggling to make ends meet. Because in this way we can support them and their families at the same time.
This year, we organized “Flying Teachers” at numerous locations. The principle is simple: we hire teachers and support staff to teach in the open air with government approval. So we can at least create some school replacement during the pandemic. The children learn, some jobs are created, hungry stomachs are filled and we try to help with clean water, hygiene and this and that. There is always a lot to do and every day shows us that we are stronger together!
Of course, much more happened this year. There were village-barbecues and those for our neighborhood, which made unforgettable highlights. Our farm was all work but also good food – which we gladly shared. The reforestation in Buhweju extends far beyond our borders. Not only do our older kids work here, but many practical skills are acquired here in workshops. We regularly involve our surrounding communities. This creates connectedness and, on many levels, real help for self-help.
Sport, fun, work and development
And of course, sports remain one of our favorite side hustles. Whether it’s football, day rugby or running: it’s about team play, self-confidence, sometimes also about borderline experiences and again and again it’s about the experience: “Yes, I can!”
Advent greetings from Betty
The third Advent is just around the corner. We celebrate the arrival, the presence of a new time, of hope and light. In Uganda as well as in Europe, families celebrate this festival with much joy. Listen to a greeting from Betty, who also writes the Kids newsletter every week, which I will send you.
I wish you a wonderful third Advent.
Yours, Burkhard Varnholt