This is Praise, and she is the most impressive person I’ve ever met. I heard about her through my friend Gloria and was thrilled to visit her just days before I left Uganda.
At 16 years old, Praise took in her first street child, convincing her mother their one-room home could manage another mouth to feed. As she worked to finish the last two years of high school, more and more children came – six by the time she finished her studies. Finally, her mother begged her to find somewhere else to send the children. She connected them with an orphanage in Jinja and went back to life as a normal teenager. Almost.
Soon, Praise began to dream of abused children and received calls from local police asking her to help. Once again, her household grew and her mom grew nervous, eventually asking Praise to take her children and leave. Just out of high school, she rented a small home and worked to get each child into school. Every time she tried to get her children placed in homes and pursue another life, God brought her right back.
Praise is now 25 years old and has 32 children under her care at the Young Achievers Home. (Picture her as a Ugandan Katie Davis on steroids.) She’s moved out of Kampala to some land her late father left, where she constructed a rough brick home to house the growing brood. Finding no school anywhere in the neighboring villages, Praise started one and hired friends to help teach; ninety-five children from the community now have a free place to learn.
I visited Praise with Gloria and two friends from IJM, Ruth and Natalie. We toured around, played games (Duck, Duck, Chicken?) and got to know the kids all afternoon. (Pics coming in a separate post.) Gloria’s Endiro Cafe – the Kampala resto that keeps IJM Uganda interns alive – helps to sponsor Young Achievers to keep it running. Makes my long afternoons pounding coffees there even more worth it.
We were so fortunate to spend time at YA and even more fortunate to find ways to be directly involved. Praise needs help fixing up the school building and I had extra funds left over from my fellowship: bingo. With your help, I got to make a hefty donation via Endiro that will enable Praise to construct a permanent brick building welcoming more neighborhood kids to school.
I’m so excited to hear how Praise works through the Young Achievers Home to change children’s lives. She will inspire so many people and I can’t wait to see what she’ll accomplish in years to come.