Single mother and her two daughters in Uganda

A Prayer for Her Daughters To Stay in School

How sponsors empowered one single mother and her daughters in Uganda through economic empowerment and education.

Meeting Gorret — a woman petite in stature but strong in conviction — it’s hard to believe that she ever felt uncertain about the decisions she makes for herself or her daughters. But when her husband left, even she was unsure what to do.

“I felt so bad when my husband left,” she shares. “I had so many children and no money to pay rent. I felt very desperate at that time.”

Without her husband’s income, she knew the burden was now on her to support her children. So when she returned with her girls from Kampala, she immediately looked for work. And she quickly found a job with another children’s services organization working in her community. But unfortunately, not long after she started, her job was terminated and she once again found herself without any means to support her family.

Looking at her daughters sleeping side-by-side on a single mattress — unsure how she would feed them or send them to school — Gorret prayed for help.

At the time, our local partner was identifying families for our family strengthening program in Gorret’s community. Seeing Gorret and her children as good candidates for the program, they enrolled her two eldest daughters, Gloria and Angella, in Holt sponsorship — matching them with sponsors whose monthly support provides everything from books and supplies for school to the uniforms and fees required for them to attend. They received another mattress and more blankets so that the family of five could sleep more comfortably. They received seeds to plant cassava, beans and maize. And Gorret joined an Action Support Group to help build her farming and business skills.

“It used to be my prayer that my children would get sponsors. So when I learned that there were people out there sending money to support my children so they could remain in school, all I could do was kneel and pray a blessing for them so that they would receive very long lives.”

Gorret, mother of two sponsored children

But perhaps the greatest gift of hope Gorret and her children received was a gift that would both grow her income and provide food for her family. As part of Holt’s family strengthening program, Gorret received goats — including one squirmy, caramel-colored kid who Gorret’s daughter Gloria can be seen holding on the cover of this year’s Gifts of Hope catalog. Not only do her goats provide milk for her family, but by selling surplus milk and calves, Gorret now has a very stable source of income.

“I started with goats, but I sold some of them to buy a pig,” she proudly tells us as we walk around the back of her house to the family’s pigpen, where one mama pig stands nursing her piglets.

In the two years since she joined our program, Gorret has grown her income to 20,000 Ugandan shillings, or 6 U.S. dollars, per month — giving her money to buy household items not provided by Holt sponsorship, such as soap, sugar and batteries. Her piglets will sell for about twice her monthly income, while an adult goat will sell for 80,000 shillings — four times what she earns every month from her other income-generating ventures. Collectively, Gorret’s investments provide enough income to meet the needs of all four of her daughters — including the fees for her youngest to attend school alongside their older sisters.

But Gorret realizes that none of this would be possible without the help of Holt sponsors for Gloria and Angella.

“It used to be my prayer that my children would get sponsors,” she tells us. “So when I learned that there were people out there sending money to support my children so they could remain in school, all I could do was kneel and pray a blessing for them so that they would receive very long lives.”

This is an excerpt of the longer story, “A Gift of Hope is the World’s Best Investment.”

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