World Aids Day – Frederick Ankunda

Frederick’s parents died of AIDS when he was a little boy. For a few months his grandparents took care of him, but they died too.

After local authorities contacted Watoto, Frederick and his siblings were settled into a family at Watoto’s Suubi Village. “I remember being so excited because I was told that I would be able to go to school. I was thrilled about the new environment. I had never seen anything like it before,” Frederick recalls.

Frederick, now 21, is studying Catering and Hotel management at the Vocational School in the Watoto village.

He majors in Baking and looks forward to working in a big hotel in Uganda for work experience, and then starting his own restaurant. Aside from cooking, his other passion is music, which he speaks about passionately.

“Since childhood I knew I loved music. When I was selected to travel with the Watoto Children’s Choir in 2006, I looked at it, not only as an opportunity to be an ambassador, but also as a platform to improve on my singing. Choir gave me the first step that I needed towards becoming a musician. The daily vocal training taught me how to control my voice – a key component to becoming a good musician,” he says.

Frederick started up a music group that occasionally sings on Sunday’s in church and also during school events.

“Starting the Gifted Boys group has been the first step towards me achieving my dream. As the leader of the group, I compose the songs we sing. I have written a number of songs and believe that, with the right support, I will be able to start singing professionally,” says Frederick.

When he isn’t playing the guitar during his leisure time, Frederick enjoys basketball and helping his mom in the kitchen.

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

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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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.