A Story of Hope From Uganda
By: Dae Eriksson
Do you know how much power you have to change the world through love? We’re blown away by it all the time.The way you give and love is making it possible for kids all around the world to have a second chance, and we’re so grateful. Here’s a story from Northern Uganda of what you’ve done to give one young child a home, a family, a future, and an abundance of love.
All Ivan ever wanted was a family, and to be loved, but shortly after he was born, Ivan’s parents passed away. His extended family dropped him off at an orphanage where he spent his childhood feeling abandoned and lonely.
Ivan wanted so badly to be loved he even volunteered to take care of the pigs at the orphanage, hoping the owners would recognize his value and care for him more.
Throughout his loneliness, he relied on his faith to get him through, “I asked God to show me His plan for my life because I knew that it was greater than where I was at, that he wanted me to thrive in a place of love, I just needed to find that.”
At nine years old, Ivan finally thought that he found his family. A couple came to the orphanage, saw his shy, hopeful smile, and brought him home. They cared for Ivan, took him to a school for art, and inspired in him a love for creation and expression. But sadly, after just a couple of years, they could not afford to keep him, so they dropped him off once again, this time at the gates of Restore Leadership Academy.
For Ivan, this felt like abandonment all over again, and he struggled to get settled. He didn’t like school, and all the hurt made it hard for him to connect. But the reality was that it was the start of something more wonderful than he could have ever hoped. With time, the continuous love and support that he was shown began to knock down his walls and open his heart. Ivan finally found his family, and this time, he wasn’t going to lose them.
While at Restore Leadership Academy, Ivan studied hard, reignited his love for art, and made lifelong friendships. After he graduated, he started his own business painting and selling pieces of art to people throughout Uganda. His business is thriving, and to this day Ivan calls Restore his home and the people there his family.
Ivan’s story is why we are so grateful for you. You have created this beautiful place where, in a world so in need of love, a kid like Ivan got a second chance. You proved that all children are worthy of love and belonging. And even more, you proved that anyone has the power to bring more light and love into the world – one child, one act of kindness at a time.