Drummer Boy

In Africa drums are a part of every little boy’s life. The beat of the drum is entrenched in him. So much so, that he will use any element around to create sound. Stephen Ochan is an African boy, and part of the Watoto Children’s Choir travelling to UK and Europe in January 2015.

“I have always admired people who play drums. Back in the village, we would pretend that jerry cans (water containers) were drums. I dreamed of that one day I would have professional drums that I could play. That’s why I am so excited that I am one of the boys who is chosen to play drums on choir tour,” he says.

While on tour, Stephen will share the transformation that happened in his life when he joined the Watoto family.

Stephen lost his parents to AIDS, leaving him and his siblings in the care of their frail grandmother. AIDS has orphaned many children in Africa, rendering them helpless, and without any hope of fulfilling their purpose.

Stephen represents many children, who without God’s intervention through Watoto, would have no hope. But Stephen’s story has changed.

“I don’t remember my parents. I remember my grandmother. We stayed with her until we joined Watoto,” says Stephen.

At their grandmother’s, the children often went without food. She was sickly and unable to provide for their needs. Local authorities were told about their story and Watoto was contacted thereafter. Stephen and his siblings joined the Watoto family in Gulu soon after.

Stephen currently stays in Watoto’s Laminadera Village in Gulu, northern Uganda. His dream is to become a pilot and a footballer. He will be travelling in the all-new Watoto Children’s Choir production, Oh, What Love in 2015. Find out more here.

This World AIDS Day (1 December 2014), we’re asking you to change the stories of other AIDs-effected children like Stephen by sponsoring a child. Click here and change a story today.

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Seriously, We Need Sponsors

Our campaign hero, Brian Muwanguzi (meaning winner or victor), is an average African boy who lives in Watoto’s Bbira Village. He is 8 years old and dreams of making people beautiful (buut-i-full). He wants to be a hairdresser.

Or a police officer.
Or a teacher… Baby Watoto caregiver? Or a… farmer?
Let’s just say that Brian has many dreams.

As Brian lives from day to day in his beautiful village, he happily explores all the possibilities his bright future holds. For now, Brian’s natural gifting has made way for his current, full-time role of Chief Village Comedian. He has an extraordinary talent to effortlessly make people laugh. He is an absolutely key asset to the well being of all of us here at Watoto.

Being in the company of this humorous young boy, one would never suspect that his young life has already been plagued with immense pain.

Brian and his brother Caleb (9) were born to a violent father, who repeatedly abused them. With daily bruises and no way of learning how not to set off their dad’s temper, neither of the boys had any hope of a different life.

Until one day, when concerned neighbours eventually contacted the local welfare authorities. The matter was looked into and authorities asked Watoto to help. Brian and Caleb’s lives have completely turned around. Not only are they well cared for, nurtured and no longer afraid; they have found hope.

Brian has a unique talent for making people laugh, despite the fact that he had no reason to smile for the first five years of his life. Today, he has a big, bright smile and has exchanged the bruises of his past for the desire to make people beautiful.

As children grow up, they are full of dreams and desires. The possibilities before them are endless. But for thousands of children in Africa, these dreams will never be realised. Some have lost their parents through war, disease and poverty. Others are left abandoned and vulnerable through other devastating circumstances.

Dresser

In 2009, Brian and his brother were rescued and brought into a home with a loving mother and siblings in Watoto’s Bbira Village. Watoto has given Brian and thousands of other children a chance at a normal life; the chance to dream.

This would not be possible without the support of thousands of individuals who sponsor children through Watoto. Change the life of a child in Africa. Sponsor a child, change a story and impact a nation. Go to www.watoto.com/sponsorship.

Watoto Students Graduate

On Friday 13 July, 7 Watoto students graduated from various universities in Uganda. This group was among the very first Senior 4 candidates to sit for their national examinations at Watoto’s Hope High School in 2008.

It was a momentous occasion as the graduates shared their stories and thanked God for how far He had brought them. The guests including Watoto mothers, teachers, team leaders, pastors, social and youth workers, joined in a celebratory meal.

Doug Stride, pastor to the Watoto villages said, “Hold onto the values you have been taught while at Watoto like excellence, generosity and valuing the word of God, among others. These will give you the character and discipline you need to rebuild this nation.”

The graduates were all smiles in anticipation of a bright and hopeful future. Catherine Mirembe, who graduated with a Bachelor in Public Administration and Management, joined Watoto at the age of 14 years old in 2001. “I am so happy and want to thank God and Watoto in general for helping me reach this day. My next step is to look for a job and start working,” she remarked.

Ivan Weswa joined Watoto at the age of 8 years old in 1997. He graduated with a Diploma in Telecommunication Engineering and is already employed. “I work with a records management company currently and I plan to start a company of my own in the future. I am going to hold onto Jesus and commit to being a responsible Christian and citizen.”

Thank you to all our partners and sponsors, who are helping us raise these future African leaders. You too can help change the life of an orphaned child by sponsoring a life  today. Visit www.watoto.com/sponsorship

See more pictures here.