These two words can mean the world. On today’s Ascension Day, some of those who benefited from Kids of Africa stand up to say “Thank you.”
They all share experiences of hardship, unexpected and undeserved. Alas, they also share an uplifting experience: that of unexpected, unconditioned help at a time of need. Their stories exemplify the fact that such aid – no matter how large or small – can change the world. For this, they thank every friend of Kids of Africa. I want to join their gratitude wholeheartedly, with three moving stories of promise and perspective.
Thank you from Buhweju
“Over the clouds,” the German singer-songwriter Reinhard Mey once sang, “Freedom must be borderless. All fears and all your sorrows, they say, remain unseen underneath.”
In Buhweju, on top of a silent hill, at 2,400 meters altitude, Kids of Africa is reforesting slopes threatened by erosion. While we once hoped to create a small hostel within our reforestation, these plans were put on hold by the lockdowns. Which – in an intriguing way – turned out a blessing in disguise. For many, our new focus on agroforestry meant valuable opportunities to grow. A place to work, to learn, to stand on their own feet and to do something good for people and our planet.
In recent weeks, many of our kids, young and older, learned about the peculiarities of different plants. In addition to planting slow-growing indigenous trees, they also plant rapidly growing pine- and eucalyptus trees. In between, fruit orchards, beehives, space for vegetables and also small tea and coffee plantations are created. Thus, a deep understanding of the cycles of nature arises from the patient work on the land. What is more, the slopes that are threatened by erosion regenerate– and become habitable. These are experiences for life – they benefit people, climate and nature.
If these hills could speak, they would say “Thank you,” – but of course, they cannot speak. “Thank you,” also say many beneficiaries of this remote region. The emerging forest economy of Buhweju opens up to new perspectives. These are good prospects for a sustainable lifestyle. For many people and for the environment – at a time when hardship, fear and concern weighed on them.
I would like to pass on their words of thanks to you – and to include my own gratitude, from the bottom of my heart. Your help is changing the world in Buhweju.
Thank you from Luwero
“Flying teachers” was the project, which we created to mitigate some of the tragedy of Uganda’s lockdown. For the time of the lockdown, it offered many pupils, families and teachers free education, food, help for self-help in the open air.
Meanwhile, a gradual opening of Uganda’s schools is planned. By August, Uganda’s schools should be re-opened. But last year’s crisis demanded a high price. Jobs and incomes have been lost, and many families will feel the hardship for long. Well-designed support can help to prevent a vicious cycle of poverty – while averting a culture of dependancy. That is what we are committed to. Many beneficiaries thank you for this. See for yourself some pictures from Luwero, a remote, rural settlement that would certainly look very different today without Kids of Africa’s emergency help for self-help.
Only a few weeks, ago I visited Luwero and Buhweju. I am deeply impressed by the effort and the impact in these places. Surely, I believe, very penny invested here, is well spent. Together we can make a big difference – they are actually young and adult “heroes” who create the future. For themselves, for their country, for all of us. Your great thanks to you, join me with all my heart.
“You mean the world! Thank you» by Christopher, Nora and others
Christopher, like Nora, are among the oldest protégés of Kids of Africa. Hardships shaped their early childhood, yet both have been able to grow and learn at Kids of Africa. But the lockdowns turned their work-plans upside down. As happened for many of them. All the more, the two are grateful for what Kids of Africa meant to them during the critical juncture: a family to rely on, support or guidance when needed and a relentless focus to help them stand on their own feet.
Today can do just that. Nora and other boys and girls learned to sew, to knit and to skillfully create fashion from old fabrics. Christopher learned plumbing. He, too, supports himself by the work that he earns from the quality of his trade. These are inspiring experiences. Help us create more of them!
“Thank you,”she and he wrote to me last week. Again, I want to pass their gratitude and combine it with mine. Thank you very much. For making their world a better world.