In 2007, a trip to Uganda changed my life. I was working as a children’s ministry leader at my church, but during that brief mission trip, I became deeply aware of the suffering of orphans. The absolute hopelessness of small children who search for food in the trash, unable to go to school, and who wonder if they will survive, affected me deeply. I was inexplicably compelled to know more and to do something.
Engaging personally in this enormous problem was outside the realm of possibilities which I had envisioned for my life, yet I was so consumed with their suffering that I found myself seriously grieving. My own children asked why I was crying every day. I read Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God, by Kay Warren, and it gave me courage to say “yes” to God’s calling for my life.
With encouragement from my church’s mission team, I started a non-profit organization with a group of friends who had a similar deep passion to help orphans and who had been meeting for months to discuss orphan ministry and pray together. We named the organization, Kulea Childcare Villages, because the word “kulea” means “to raise [a child]” in Swahili.
We studied a model for orphan care operating successfully in Uganda and adopted it. We were drawn to this model because of its focus on providing a home environment for orphans, building high quality schools and working toward self-sustainable operations.
It’s thrilling to see what God has done with sometimes weak but willing people in just 9 years. We have three programs: children in full care, children supported only for school, and a partnership with church-based feeding/preschool programs. We own land and look forward to what God will do with and through that property. It’s an unbelievable privilege to be part of raising a child and giving him or her the opportunity for a future.
Everything at Kulea happens through the work of our partner churches, a small staff, many volunteers and 120+ donors who sponsor a child each month. We count heavily on the faithfulness of our sponsors as we don’t have government grants, a celebrity’s backing or self-sustaining funding sources yet. The children are fed and go to school daily simply through the generous donations of people who saw the need and responded. I often dream of what we could do with 200 sponsors or…..1,000!
Thank you for visiting our website and reading my letter. I invite you to check out my blog where I’m sharing openly about following God into the unknown to rescue orphans. Finding us on your favorite social media feeds and liking, commenting, sharing or tweeting helps a lot, as does clicking through our website often. However, the biggest difference you can make for the children we care for is to sponsor one or more of them. Come change the world for a child with us!
For the children,
Founder & Executive Director
I can’t see the future. Some days I don’t know how we manage to pay the bills, but God continues to provide in miraculous ways, just when I feel we are at the end of a rope and hanging on.