To Go or To Give?

Who's helping who here?
Who’s helping who here?

Yesterday I left you hanging, wondering, “What ever will John and Anna do to help Abide Family Center fulfill their ground-breaking and much needed mission to keep children in families in Uganda?” Today, you will learn.

We live in the Middle East, so Uganda is only about 5 hours of flying time away. It seemed like a no-brainer to go visit them while we’re over here. First, I asked if we could come, because that seemed like the polite thing to do before showing up. They said yes, so planning commenced.

Then, just before we bought our tickets, they published a specific call for help. Their monthly funding was short by about $6,500, and the doors that had welcomed more than 70 families with resources to keep them together, would have to close in July. I asked Megan, one of the founders, if our travel money would be better off donated to the cause, and this is what she said:

“I believe that there is so much value in vacationing in a developing country- for two reasons. One, you are pouring into their local economy which creates jobs and helps the country move towards sustaining itself and not just relying on aid. Two, you are sending the message that this country is beautiful and worthy of being admired, instead of “saved” as us humanitarian workers seem to think. When I enter the country and they ask me why i’m here and I say i’m working in an NGO i’m sending the message that their country is broken and needs to be fixed. When a tourist enters the country they are sending the message that this country is beautiful and worthy of travel and funds to come see and admire. 

Also, there is so much value in people coming to see. Our most passionate supporters and advocates are people who have visited us in the past and are able to speak personally about families and staff they have met first hand. 

Yes, $5,000 would be nice for Abide, but we get lots of one time donations. What we need more then anything is consistent monthly support [like what you guys already give!] so we’re not worrying every month about whether the money will come in for the next months operating costs. 

If you come to Abide, choose to spend the money you would have spent on a vacation anyway pouring into Uganda’s economy, and advocate for Abide through social media you could potentially get us more monthly donors. If 8 people chose to sponsor a family at $50 a month because of your trip, you will have already paid for your trip entirely.”

There you have it. I (re)started a blog and off we went.  I’m going to tell stories and post pictures and ring this bell as loudly as I can until at least eight new sponsors join Abide’s team.

Story time with Judson and Abide resident, Amram. Only one of them had pants on, so that was exciting.
Story time with Judson and Abide resident, Amram. Only one of them had pants on, so that was exciting.

They ask sponsors to commit to a year of sponsorship, either at $25 or $50 a month. The program they provide families costs around $250 a month, so it takes 5 sponsors for each family.

You know that intoxicating new baby smell? The joy of that is followed closely by the freeing sensation of handing that baby back to his or her mommy (or daddy). This is the heart of family preservation, orphan prevention and the clarion call of Abide Family Center.

In future posts, I’ll show you more what that program looks like and introduce you to some of the families needing sponsors. If you’re ready, you can click over to their page now to sign up, but it’s ok if you want to read a little more first. I’ve got lots of words and pictures to use, people!

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