I wanted to start with a story.
A young girl called Winny, maybe 10 years old, finds life really tough. Her father doesn’t love her or value her. He often beats her for no apparent reason and at times, even makes her stay out in the bush all night, even if it’s raining. Thankfully, her mum supports when she can, but not openly, lest she gets treated the same way. Winny struggles with her schooling because the boys get preference for school fees. Even so, amazingly, she realises that God is with her!
In her mid-teens, she starts to rebel – she thinks she may as well deserve the treatment she gets from her father. Looking for love in the wrong places, a poor decision finds her pregnant and unmarried – a shameful place to be in her culture! She needs to run, so she goes to the big city, the capital Kampala. But this place is even more uncaring as she wanders the streets looking for food and safe shelter.
Thankfully, God steps in and she finds herself at Wakisa Ministries, one of the few places in the country where such a girl is accepted, no questions asked, no judgements made. She finds other girls in the same situation, adults who show her love, and a community that rebuilds her sense of worth. She safely delivers her baby. Sponsorship from caring Australians allows her to go back and finish her last three years of high school. She does so well that her sponsors take a huge step; they pay for her to continue her studies at university where she earns a Degree in Micro-finance.
While all this has been happening, her faith has continued to mature. She is actively involved in a vibrant church and discovers she has a love and a talent for preaching and evangelism to youth. But she has never forgotten her early life, which has created in her a large heart of compassion, especially for young teenage girls.
She gets a good job with a large Dutch solar company, marries and has two more children. Winny may have continued in an ordinary life, but thankfully, that was not to be. On a trip back to her home village of Bukwo, near the Kenyan border, she finds herself caring for and mentoring a group of twelve girls whose stories are not dissimilar to her own; they too have been poorly treated by the church. As a result, her heart of compassion grows even larger.
My name is Greg, I live in Sydney and I'm no longer a spring chicken. I've been visiting Uganda every 2 years or so since 2008. I met Winny way back when she was finishing high school and she's become like a third daughter to me. I was involved in Wakisa Ministries, raising money to sponsor girls back to school. More recently, I became aware of what Winny was doing and got involved in a small way. But “small” was not what God had in mind!
In 2021, with basically the same twelve girls, we started Kalyet Initiative Uganda. In the local language, “kalyet” means “grace”. With the help of the Holy Spirit, our vision is to transform these girls into a kingdom community, so they can influence their families and their communities for Jesus!
And by what means will this transformation take place?
Letting them know they are valued - we are loving them as they are, without judgement.
Restoring their dignity – providing sanitary pads, undies & bras.
Addressing their poverty – supplying a care package for the family each Saturday.
Enabling Business Opportunities – we have started our first micro-finance project. One girl is training to become a tailor and we’ll be helping her to start a small business.
Enabling their education – paying for a large part of their school fees, other scholastic needs and the fees for external exams.
Partnering in their education – building relationships with headmasters & class teachers, so they know we are invested in their success.
Providing a vision of possible futures – providing inspirational talks from professionals who had the same start as they’ve had; providing a trip to Kampala, the capital, to see both Kyambogo and Makerere Universities.
Caring for their spiritual lives – we took the senior girls to a Christian conference over the Easter long weekend, we’ve provided each of them with New Testament and we run a Bible study every Saturday.
Building up their self-confidence and self-esteem – we visit churches to introduce Kalyet and take the girls along to lead prayers, lead worship and sometimes share a message.
Listening to their deepest needs – every Saturday, one-on-one counselling is available, and we visit their homes regularly.
Yes, we are very small, and Kalyet Initiative is just one year old. But God has been doing amazing things!
So, how do we fund the work that we do?
Well, God has provided a small number of faithful and generous partners to support us (about 20). But we have so many great ideas that we would like to make a reality; like building a greenhouse to train the girls in advanced agricultural techniques for growing vegetables. We already know a young woman who can do the training, we just need the greenhouse!
Our administration costs are very low, so if you’d like to play a part in transforming the lives of these girls and building an amazing kingdom community, why not partner with us??