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.


Ivan Kamwine

“I will never forget my first day at Watoto. I cried when I was given a new pair of shoes, my own bed, new clothes and a nice house. I could not believe that someone would do such a thing for me. I was overwhelmed with joy, ” recalls Ivan Kamwine.

Now 17 and in junior high school, Ivan dreams of becoming a lawyer. He knows that it is up to him to study hard to make his dream come true. He has the backing of his Watoto family, access to good education and the support of sponsors around the world who have given him this opportunity. He knows who he is in Christ.

But that wasn’t always the case.

At the age of 7, Ivan’s only thought was where their next meal would come from. He had a distant dream of being able to go to school, but never thought that would ever be a possibility. But God had a plan for Ivan and his siblings.

“I am thrilled that I have had the opportunity to be educated through Watoto. I am getting equipped with the knowledge that I need to fulfill my potential,” says Ivan.

Prior to joining Watoto, Ivan’s father had passed away leaving three children with a jobless mother.

“I remember my mom washing clothes for the neighbours or digging people’s gardens so that she could earn money so we could eat. But the money was never enough. I never went to school because we couldn’t afford it,” says Ivan.

When Ivan’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, she was taken back to the village since the family did not have money to take her for treatment. A month later, she passed away. “I was heart broken and felt I also needed to die,” recalls Ivan.

Ivan and his siblings were left in the care of their aunt who was barely surviving herself. “When my aunt didn’t have enough food for us, we would go over to the neighbours to beg. At most she would give us food once a day,” Ivan recalls.
In 2004, Watoto rescued Ivan and his siblings. They now live in Watoto’s Suubi Village.

Despite adversity, Ivan is on a steady course to becoming a leader in his community. He already is. Ivan currently heads up Watoto’s Suubi Village cell administration, looking after the spiritual well being of hundreds of residents. He attributes this to the values of responsibility and care that his Watoto mom instilled in him.

“When mom is going to town over the weekend or is sick, I am left in charge of my little brothers and sisters. She has taught me how to cook, do house chores and care for my siblings. This is where I first learnt the meaning of leadership and being responsible,” he gratefully recalls.

Without faithful sponsorship from generous people around the world, there is no hope for children like Ivan and his siblings. We need your help. Sponsor a child, change a story and impact a nation. Go towww.watoto.com/sponsorship.


Children’s Fashion Show In Support Of Watoto

A vibrant Kid’s Fashion Show was held on 4 August at Hotel International. All the proceeds from this spectacular event, which will be held annually from this year, went to Watoto Child Care Ministries in support of the care of orphaned children.

The show kicked off at noon in prayer and then a presentation from local artiste, Perrez.

The venue was beautifully decorated and the kids gracefully cat walked down the runway as they were cheered on by their parents and friends.

Mrs. Susan Kirumira, the initiator of the annual event was burdened by a need to give back to community after visiting the Watoto villages. She decided that the proceeds should go to Watoto when she saw the significant transformation of lives through the family oriented care provided to orphaned and vulnerable children and women.

The models on the day included some of the Watoto kids as well as children from various schools in Kampala.

One of the guests from Watoto, Mr. Arora Majugo, commented that he was humbled by Mrs. Kirumira’s kind gesture. “The show was a good one and a wonderful opportunity for children to nurture their talent and gain confidence,” he noted.

“I really enjoyed the fashion show.  I had so much fun,” said Luke Atabua, a kindergarten pupil who lives in Watoto’s Bbira Village.

Tumushabe Eleanor, a primary two pupil at Hormisdallen wishes the event would happen more often. “My teacher designed my dress and I have learnt different modelling styles,” she said.

Mrs. Kirumira’s future plans are to get more people to partner with Watoto and to raise awareness about the work.

The proceeds will go towards the operating costs of Watoto and an offer of free dental care was made at the event for Watoto children by Mr. Robert Kironde of Dino Dental.

Thank you to all those who helped make the day a success. If you would like to partner with Watoto to raise awareness and support, please contact us at uganda@watoto.com.

See more pictures here