In 2012, a terrified 14-year old girl ended up wandering the streets of Kampala after being abandoned by her step-mother; she had no family, no where to go and no money. She was hopeless, afraid, and alone.
Mercy found her way to the local juvenile prison, which can serve as housing for kids needing safety and protection. During a regular Wednesday visit, Sixty Feet met Mercy. She shared her story, her fears, and we shared Jesus with her. Then, we began the process of looking for another option for her…something besides prison for a child who intimately knew abandonment, death, and loneliness.
And this other option was school. In Uganda, children and families long for education. For Mercy, school was her way out of an early marriage, life on the streets, and a lifetime of poverty.
Everyday we meet children in prisons and children leaving prisons who would give anything for a chance to have an education. We meet 15 year-olds who cannot write their name and we meet children who were thriving in high-school, and after making one mistake, they are now imprisoned and their hope of graduating is gone.
Sixty Feet sponsors 115 imprisoned and formerly imprisoned children, who upon returning home, would be in extreme-need and at-risk of returning to the streets or prison because of a lack of resources. We have students like Joseph, who is 13 years-old, in first grade, and starting school for the first time ever; and girls like Mercy and Grace, who are 18 and 19 years-old and graduating from community college.
When talking to Mercy her words and her story resound with hope, redemption, and love. “Sixty Feet came to me when no one else would talk to me, they showed me that someone cared about me…they told me that Jesus loves me. They gave me hope when I had none.”
Through God’s goodness we have seen that our sponsorship program does more than give kids an education – our counselors begin doing life with our kids. They show each child that Jesus loves them, giving kids the ability to dream again, to love others, and prayerfully, commit their lives to Christ.
And that is Mercy’s story – she is now in community college studying fashion and design. She is involved in her school’s worship gathering, she has many friends, she helps take care of foster kids on the weekends, and she occasionally goes out to the prisons to talk with other teenage girls. She wants those girls to know the hope they have in Jesus; the hope they have beyond the four walls of a prison.
See, our sponsorship program does more than school. It is changing kids lives…it not only gets them out of prison and prevents them from returning to the streets, but it also gives them a family within Sixty Feet – people who are for each child, walk alongside them, and love them. And that relationship changes their life, and in turn, the lives of those around them.
Would you consider giving towards our sponsorship fund so that we can provide the resources for children like Mercy to go to school, so children like Joseph know that there are people fighting for them, and so that children like Grace know they are not alone and there is hope for tomorrow and for eternity?