7 September 2012

From Heart to Hand: Amanda & LOT 2545.

When we started DC we wanted an aspect of what we did to promote the work of women within humanitarian organisations and charities all over the world. We hoped it would be an opportunity for them to gain some much needed exposure for their cause as well as enable us to celebrate what they do.

Amanda established LOT 2545, which works with young men on the streets of Uganda. The home, that houses over 20 boys, was officially opened at the beginning of the 2012. This amazing woman, Amanda acts as caregiver to the boys as well as organising funds for sponsorship and raising the profile of the home, to ensure the boys receive the best care possible. Please email lot2545@gmail.com to offer words of encouragement, donate, ask questions or organise a fundraiser. Amanda blogs personally about her time in Uganda, too.


Tell us about how you started LOT 2545.
I started LOT 2545 after spending 10 months in Uganda.  I went to Uganda originally to help another ministry that had programs for boys on the streets.  During my time with them, I saw a huge need for something for the older boys (12-18+ year olds). LOT 2545 now cares for 21 boys in this age group.  Seventeen boys live in the house, two attend boarding school, and two were able to be resettled with their families in the village.  The youngest boy is 12 and the oldest is 19.

Where does the name LOT 2545 come from?
The name LOT 2545 comes from Matthew 25:45.  It says, “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” The 'LOT' is an abbreviation for Least Of These and the 2545 is the chapter and verse in Matthew. 

What's your story? What lead you to your time in Africa?
I am 32 years old.  I am not married and have no biological children. How I got to Africa is a crazy story because I never wanted to go there, let alone live there. I was teaching at a high school (2009-2010 school year)  and it wasn't going well.  I would go to teacher networking events each month at the local university and through that was invited to listen to Ismael Beah speak.  My life literally changed that day.  

After that, Africa was all I could think about and I came across Uganda because of the LRA and their use of child soldiers.  The more that school year went on, the unhappier I got and many different things happened during the summer to confirm to me that God was pushing me to take a leap of faith and go.  After originally planning to go for a month, I decided to go for a year. After leaving for Uganda in November 2010, I realized I was where God wanted me and I fell madly and hopelessly in love with the boys on the street. I knew I couldn't leave them.

It hasn't always been easy having a house full of broken, hurting and traumatized teenage boys, but I would not change any of it.  They are all amazing and I know God brought each one into my life for a reason.

Tell us about the boys in the house and how they come into your care.
The boys don't have to do anything to be chosen for the house.  They are all just boys that I feel God put on my heart.  There is no way to tell you how I chose them because I don't believe that I did.  God chose them.  Most of the boys in the home were really tough kids when they were on the streets.  Many were addicted to alcohol and drugs and still struggle with staying sober.  Many loved to fight and couldn't get along with anyone or were arrested for stealing and I had to get them out of jail.

In saying that, when they were still on the street, they would insist I share their one meal of the day when they knew I would have food when I went home.  They would protect me when I was walking through the slum, whether it was from stepping in trash and mud or guys saying rude things to me.  

Now that they are in the home, they continue to make sure I am fine and safe.  They try hard to be different but some of the boys have lived almost their whole life on the streets with no one loving them, others were abused so much that they don't know what healthy relationships are anymore.  I couldn't have possibly chosen any of them but I am confident that they are all in the home for a reason and exactly where God wants them.  I know that it isn't me that is changing them.  
What's provided for them once they enter the house?
When the boys get into the home, they get all the basic necessitites (food, clothes, medical care) as well as an education.  The boys are all really behind in school.  Most of them are at a 3rd grade level and they are 15 years old.  Some of the boys were just too far behind and school wasn't an option so they learn English and Math at home and will go on to start a vocational training program.  They also get counseling each week by a pastor. 

What can we do to support this ministry?
There are many ways you can support our ministry. You can sponsor a boy, sponsor me, pray, give a one time or monthly gift for general expenses, buy coffee, invite me to speak at your church or speak on our behalf to try and get support for the home. There are also volunteer opportunities with us in Uganda to teach the boys and help with the general operation of the home. 

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