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Brett's Story

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My name is Brett Mcilveen, a resident of New Jersey USA.

I wanted to take a few moments to share with others my visiting experience at the Children’s home of Giving Refugee’s Hope In Uganda. In August of 2021, I had traveled to Uganda from Kenya as I was on the second half of a mission trip. My wife and I had been communicating with Patrick Kizehe, some of the staff and attending zoom calls with the children for a few months prior. While we arrived in Uganda, tested and covid free, we planned a surprise visit to the children’s home. When we arrived, I could see that they spent time searching for the right location, that would provide an enclosed property with a front entry gate , that provided efficient protection for the children and the members of the staff on the property.

Upon entrance of the property, we were greeted by the house mom’s, other male members of the staff and the fourteen children that the organization started with back then. The first ( 2nd and 3rd) thing I did was cry with tears of joy and amazement! The children were singing songs of thanks because we came to see them. Their physical appearance was outstanding! We have to keep in mind what position these children were in at the refugee camps. These children now had a family of brothers and sisters to live with in addition to house moms that cared for them as they were their own. Their smiles ran ear to ear in their clean clothes.

We were invited inside their home so they could show us around. All of their children took off their shoes before entering into their immaculate home. This showed me, that these children learned manners , they carried responsibility and they were proud of where they lived. The home was in excellent condition and extremely clean. Inside we met the house moms and the men of the house. The house moms nurture the children, while the men play the role as the father figure of the home. The children had us sit down as they went around the room and spoke of how touched they were that we came from the USA to see them. They felt our compassion for them. I could not believe how well-mannered they were and the fact they were being taught English in the home. Additionally, the organization makes sure that all the children are going to school, locally in order to make sure that they can have opportunity when they get older.

When covid had shut down the schools, Patrick and his team made sure they had a teacher on site so that the children could continue to learn. The children shared with me their dreams of what they want to be when they grow up. The children were ambitious and had learned so quickly over the past few months it was astonishing. The children are also enrolled in after school sports, where most play soccer . We ended up playing a competitive game on the property and the children, unfortunately did not let me win! Hahaha

After they wore me out with soccer, it was time for all of us to eat together. The house moms put together a feast for us. I was very impressed with the manners of the children. They helped set up the food in an organized fashion and helped clean up the eating area once we were all finished. The food was outstanding, as the ladies really made it special for us.

At the end of that day, I really took a step back to watch the body language of the staff and watch them operate. This is not your normal not for profit organization. This has become a very tight family of people who have experienced tremendous hard ship of once being refugees and were given a chance for a better life. This was a big family, who poured deep care, love and compassion into each other and into the children. There were some children who came from the camp with medical needs. Patrick and his team take the child’s health very seriously and are consistently getting medical checkups for the children. Certain children needed a specific treatment program. I have checked in with Patrick quite frequently on their progress and the updates (and pictures ) are outstanding. The toughest part about visiting the home was leaving. I didn’t want to go home, I just wanted to stay with the staff and of course the children. Therefore I will be back there in a little over a month from now!

In closing, I am very careful about who I partner with, what and who I sew into. I operate with accountability and integrity. These traits were found in Patrick and his team at Giving Refugees Hope In Uganda. I feel blessed to be aligned with them and overjoyed by the multiplication that God is delivering for them. They started with fourteen children and grew to seventy children that are all sponsored! Initially they broke ground with fifteen house moms, and they have grown to thirty-eight! Absolutely amazing to see the blessings upon the staff and the children. I love the organization and I thank god for taking care of my extended Giving Refugees Hope In Uganda Family!!!

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