Family EmpowermentElina lives in Buikwe, Uganda, a very poor community where Bright Hope partner church Faithful Wise Steward Ministries actively works to give hope for today, tomorrow, and eternity.
Elina’s home sits among lush foliage with coffee trees, banana trees, and a green compound where her grandchildren play. Her home is also a loud home, reverberating with the songs and giggles of her four grandchildren: Winnie Baseke (10), John Ssekibule (6), Morgan Ssajjabi (8), and little Elizabeth Namuli (2). These joy-filled munchkins are the children of her impoverished daughters who cannot afford to manage city life and also take care of their kids.
“These children were not going to school while [living] with their mothers—and their fathers cared [even] less. Being a mother, I could not let my grandchildren suffer while I have energy to look after them,” said Elina.
Elina couldn’t fathom the thought that her grandchildren might grow up neglected, uneducated, and feeling unloved. So, Elina took in these precious kids, determined to sow in their hearts seeds of love and knowledge that would one day bear fruit.
At 62 years old, Elina has more vitality than most people half her age. She plays with her grandchildren and enjoys listening to them sing and play after dinner. While most women her age consider raising young kids as part of their past, she prefers to care for Winnie, John, Morgan, and Elizabeth rather than letting them live with their “careless fathers and mothers,” as Elina calls them.
Like every parent in her community, however, Elina faces a challenge raising school fees for her grandchildren without help from their parents. This burden of stress weighs heavy on her heart and as a result, she sometimes she takes out her frustration on the children.
So, when the local church’s Feed and Take Care Ministries under Pastor Sserwada reached out to the community with Parenting Trainings supported by Bright Hope, Elina signed up! The trainings transformed the way she cared for her grandkids. “The training helped me learn how to instill manners in my children without beating them. We treat each other [with respect] like friends and work together to keep our home clean,” Elina said.
She has also benefitted from the generosity of Pastor Sserwada’s church and its microenterprise program. They distributed beans to community members to plant, harvest, and sell. The church has been instrumental in making sure Elina earns enough money to support her grandkids—much more than what she earns from tending other people’s gardens.
“I have to work hard to afford soap, sugar, and school fees for these children but recently the church mobilized us [and provided] seeds. I [received] ten kilograms of beans which I planted on my plot and I am expecting a good harvest to help me raise money and meet our needs,” Elina said.
Even though Elina doesn’t belong to Pastor Sserwada’s church, her gratitude for their life-transforming microenterprise program and parenting trainings motivated her to give some of her harvest back to the church. She thanks God for Pastor Sserwada’s constant visits and the care he has shown to her family.
Now, as Elina looks out at the bean seeds growing in her garden, she smiles, hopeful for the future, and confident that God will grow the seeds she has planted in her grandkids’ hearts into a bountiful harvest.