Life Stories

Gerardo was born in Bolivia in 2015.
He lived with his mother and five of his siblings in a tiny cottage. After his father died of excessive alcohol consumption in 2012, the family faced a difficult financial time. His mother suffered from diabetes. She could not work and did not have the means to provide necessities for her children.

On October 17, 2017, his mother lost her battle with her disease, leaving her children orphans.

After his mother's death, Gerardo and his siblings were first placed at his oldest, 24-year-old brother's, but in the long run, he also did not have the necessary resources to take care of six of his younger siblings. Since the two other siblings (21 years and 17 years) were also unable to help, the brother applied to the responsible authorities to find a home for Gerardo and his other siblings.

The authorities then contacted our Children's Village and so Gerardo and his siblings became part of L'ESPERANCE.

Reported by Viktor Gossen, Children's Village San Mateo.

Hagar was born in Ethiopia in 2012. Her exact date of birth is not known.
Before she came to us, she lived with her mother in the streets of Addis Abeba. They did not have a permanent residence or housing. They lived in poverty, had no income, lacked food, drink, clothing and hygiene. One day they were picked up by the police. After examining their current living situation, it was decided to place Hagar in a children's village. The responsible office contacted our children's village management. On the same day Hagar was taken in by us.

Hagar is a lovely girl who gets along very well with everyone. She has a good and close relationship with her foster parents. She has settled in well and is coping well with the routine and tasks involved.

Also health-wise, Hagar is doing well. She has not had any major problems so far.

Since she came to us, she has regularly attended our kindergarten. There the children are prepared for school entrance in a playful way. Hagar has a lot of fun in the kindergarten and there has never been a day when she did not want to go.

In her free time she loves to play with the other children. She loves to be in nature and spends a lot of time with the animals in the village.

Hagar is very grateful to have been accepted in the village. She says, this has been the best day of her life. She is happy to have a bed, to get food, to wear nice clothes and to go to kindergarten.

Reported by Yewubnesh Dando, General Manager of Akaki Children's Village.

David was born in Uganda in 2013.
He lived with his father, mother and four siblings. His parents were farmers and earned their living by growing fruit and vegetables. They consumed most of it themselves and sold what was left. They didn't have much and just managed to make ends meet.

But the situation changed when the father started to have an affair. So he often stayed away and did not take care of the family. The mother was very unhappy with the situation and complained to him constantly. But instead of changing, one day the father brought home another woman and told her that this was his second wife and that she would move in with them. The mother was close to despair. How was she supposed to feed yet another person when it was already too little for the rest of the family?

They struggled along for six months, living more or less poorly, when the father left with even another woman. Left behind were the mother with her five children and the second wife, who was pregnant at the time. The circumstances became more and more difficult. At some point, the second wife packed her things and returned to her relatives. The mother with her five children did not have this option, so she had no choice but to send the older children off to find work. The younger ones had to go begging in the neighborhood.

Often they had only one meal a day but somehow they kept going. But fate was not kind with them. So one day the father was brought home seriously ill. He had contracted AIDS and was already in its terminal stage. Medication no longer worked and so he is currently a nursing case, bedridden and close to death.

The mother had reached the point where she could take no more. In tears, she turned to us and asked for help for David, so that he could find a home again and that his great desire to become an engineer would one day come true after all.

The mother's plight was the decisive factor in agreeing to take him into the children's village.

We want to do everything we can to ensure that David receives all he needs: a good education, affection, attention, and that he is also taught to believe in God, who is his heavenly Father and has a good plan for him and his future.

Reported by Edna Busulwa, Social Worker at Kinyo Children's Village.

Jonas was born in Uganda in 2012 and has three siblings.
His mother married her first husband in 1999, she soon gave birth to a son. At the end of 2001, shortly after the birth of her second child, a daughter, her husband died of AIDS. He owned a bicycle and a piece of land at their place of residence. He had promised that this would belong to her and the children after he would die. He was buried at the place where his brothers and sisters lived. At his funeral, two more of his wives appeared with three children and claimed the plot as an inheritance for their children because they were the older ones. There was also a dispute about their house with four rooms because her brothers-in-law wanted it. The only things to remain for the mother would be some belongings in the house and a public address system. She had earned some money by making announcements in the village.

When the mother returned to her village from the funeral with her two children, she found the door of the house open, the apartment cleared out, some things stolen, others burned to ashes. This was the punishment for infecting her husband with AIDS, a member of their family, the relatives said. So the mother put her baby on her back, took her two-year-old son by the hand and went to her mother, who then gave her a small piece of land where she grew what they needed and also some crops she could sell.

In 2005, the mother, who had AIDS, entered into a new relationship. She became the wife of a fisherman and rented a small hut for 5,000 Uganda shillings a month. She bore her husband two boys, one of them our Jonas. About two years ago, her second husband did not return from work. He had drowned while fishing in Lake Victoria. After the funeral, his will was opened. Her husband had left two young cows to her and the children. However, this time too, the will of the deceased was disregarded. He had two other wives who took the animals away from Jonas' mother on the grounds that they, as the first wives, were to receive the cows.

Thus she was again in misery. She had four children to feed, house rent to pay, and she and her children needed medicine every month. To survive she had to work hard.

Her mother gave her another piece of land where she grew crops to sell. With the earnings, the hardworking woman was able to run a small stall at the market, where she also offered simple self-prepared food. With what she earned, she and the children could just about survive. With all this, she felt that she was getting weaker and weaker. What would become of her children when she was no longer alive? They could not yet take care of themselves.

In this situation, Jonas' mother sought help from L'ESPERANCE and asked if we could take some of her burden off her shoulders. In order to make ends meet and to be able to send the older ones to school, they sometimes had only one meal a day. She asked us to at least take in little Jonas so that he would be better off. Her emergency situation tipped the scales for us to agree to the admission.

Reported by Rebecca Mulembe, Head Mother of the L'ESPERANCE Children's Village Kinyo.

There are more than 100 orphans and half-orphans for whom help has been requested in Uganda. We have taken up the 40 most urgent cases. Together with our sponsors and donors, we will do everything possible to help Jonas grow into a vibrant, hopeful young man.

Basma was born in 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The exact date of her birth is not known. She lived with her mother for only a few days, her father had already passed away by that time.

The mother lived in poverty, had no income, lacked food, clothing and hygiene. She was totally overwhelmed by the situation and the baby. Basma was just 45 days old when she was found screaming at the neighbor's. The mother could not be found! She had run away and left the little baby, helpless and alone, to fend for herself.

The neighbor took the baby and went to the police. There they took care of the girl and brought her to a children's home where, however, the child did not fare very well. After four years, the responsible authorities decided to place little Basma in the care of L'ESPERANCE, in the Akaki Children's Village. Basma was admitted to us on September 9, 2016.

The girl has no relatives left except for her mother (whereabouts unknown) and a grandfather. Healthwise Basma is doing well. She is examined regularly. It is also checked whether she is developing according to her age.

Since she came to us, Basma has regularly attended the kindergarten of the children's village. There she receives encouragement and playful preparation for school.

Basma is a lovely and cheerful girl. She is very sociable and is welcome everywhere. We are very happy that we were allowed to take Basma in our children's village. It is a great concern for us to support her in her development and to offer her the necessary educational and spiritual conditions.

Reported by Yewubnesh Dando, General Manager of Akaki Children's Village.

Keturah was born in 2010 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The exact date of her birth is not known. She lived with her mother until July 2016. Her father died before she was born.

They lived in poverty, had no income, lacked food, drink, clothing and hygiene. The mother lovingly cared for Keturah and often went without food and drink herself, just so that her daughter would not suffer hunger and thirst. However, as a result of this constant lack, the mother finally died in July, completely dehydrated.

Since the only living relative, the grandfather, could not take care of little Keturah either, she was finally sent to an orphanage. There she spent almost 3 months until the responsible authorities decided to place the little girl into the care of L'ESPERANCE. Keturah was officially accepted on September 9, 2016.

Reported by Yewubnesh Dando, General Manager of Akaki Children's Village.

Lisa was born in Uganda in 2008 and has three siblings.
Lisa's father was a fisherman. He drowned one fateful day while working, leaving her mother alone with the four children. Although Lisa is the youngest sister, she was the only one who went to school. The older ones had to help earn a living. She described to us her great interest in learning, although she does not hear well with her left ear.

The family's life was going well until the father drowned in Lake Victoria. As fishermen, they had no permanent home, living in simple wooden huts and moving from island to island, always looking for good fishing grounds. After Lisa's father died, her mother took her four children and went to live with her husband's family. Because her children were part of the family, she was certain she would be accepted. To her surprise, however, she was turned away. No one had room for the five of them, and her husband had not had a home of his own there. His parents had already died, so no one would or could take them in. They said they had enough to deal with their own problems and brusquely turned away the mother with her children. She should leave, find a place somewhere else and forget about relatives.

So she had no choice but to move with the children to her old, weak mother, who had AIDS. She had nothing more to offer them than a roof over their heads. Now they did not even have the absolute minimum. Attending school for the children was out of the question. Lisa had the great desire to become a doctor one day, to help others who, like her, have hearing problems. Instead, both mother and children had to try to get enough to survive by doing odd jobs.

Lisa is hardworking and wants to learn everything possible. She helped with simple household chores, washed the dishes, looked after her brother, who was a year younger. Longingly, she looked after the children who were able to attend school. This touched her grandmother, so she asked one of her aunts to take Lisa in.

Although the aunt also has only a small field and lives from hand to mouth, she has a good heart and took the girl in. In order to fulfill Lisa's great desire to be allowed to go to school, she began to bake and sell pancakes. In this way she paid the school fees. So Lisa went to school until one day her aunt's husband came. He had two other wives and 9 children and said he didn't want anyone else's child in the house. If the aunt disobeyed his order and Lisa continued to stay in the house, she would regret taking her in. Lisa's aunt didn't take this seriously until he stopped giving her money for the children and then disappeared altogether. That was four months ago now. The man never entered the house again.

In this predicament, Lisa's aunt sought help from L'ESPERANCE, and asked if we could take Lisa into the Kinyo Children's Village, so that she could find a home again and perhaps her great desire to become a doctor would come true one day. The plight of her mother, grandmother and aunt, as well as the little girl's eagerness to learn, tipped the scales in her favor.

There are more than 100 orphans and half-orphans for whom help has been requested in Uganda. Together with our sponsors and donors we will do everything possible to fulfill Lisa's hope that she will be able to help her country and also her mother and siblings.

Reported by Rebecca Mulembe, Head Mother of L'ESPERANCE Children's Village Kinyo.

John was born in Uganda in 2008 and has no siblings.
John's father was a teacher, his mother a smallholder farmer. Both died of AIDS in quick succession, leaving John on his own. At first, there was no one who could or would take him in. So the little boy was left to fend for himself at a tender age. He wandered around the village, always looking for something to eat, doing little favors here and there. Finally, a paternal aunt took pity on the boy and took him in. She had hesitated for a long time because she was suffering from terminal AIDS. Shortly after John came to live with her, she died. Now the boy's life became even more desperate. After his parents and aunt had died, the superstitious villagers said the boy was cursed and whoever took him in would die. In his agony of hunger, he ended up rummaging through the garbage dump for edibles.

Soon John suffered from kwashiorkor (protein deficiency), developed ulcers all over his body where flies laid their eggs so that he became infested with maggots, and was plagued by sores from sand fleas. His health condition deteriorated dramatically. Some people, feeling sorry for the boy, inquired if there were any distant relatives somewhere. They learned of a distant cousin, sought her out, and reported John's condition. Although she herself lives from hand to mouth with a small rented piece of land and manages only with difficulty to provide for her own children, she took the boy in. She treated him, removed chiggers and maggots and sought a medication for the protein deficiency disease. So John was soon better. But that was all she could do. She had no money to send the child to school.

That is why the compassionate woman turned to L'ESPERANCE. She said that while she would like to continue helping John, she lacks the means to do so. Also, there is no other relative willing to help the child. She asked us to give John the attention that will allow him to forget the hell he had to go through and to give him an education that will allow him to cope with life on his own. We want to do everything we can to ensure that John receives all that he needs and, in addition, to give him faith in God, who is his heavenly Father, who has a good plan for him and for his future.

Reported by Rebecca Mulembe, Head Mother of L'ESPERANCE Children's Village Kinyo.

Brian was born in Uganda in 2007.
Brian's parents started their relationship in 1993 and had five children together. Brian's father died of AIDS in 2010, leaving behind a 50m×100m plot of land on which their one-room wooden house stands. In order to grow food for their family, Brian's mother requested a piece of land from her uncle, which they used to feed themselves and convert any surplus to buy necessities.

Brian's older siblings did not receive more than six years of schooling. They live from hand to mouth and have no savings at all. Worst of all, Brian's mother is HIV-positive. Therefore, she has to get a monthly supply of antiretroviral drugs. However, this is sometimes impossible for her because she cannot find a ride. This has left her weak and unable to provide Brian with adequate care. Brian went to school, although he was often sent home for lack of money to pay for his fees. Despite the situation the family is in, and although he can only hope to complete six years of schooling, Brian is optimistic and would like to become a doctor to help others who do not have money. He also wants to build a hospital in his locality because there are no hospitals there and people have to travel to distant neighboring towns to be treated.

This hope and positive attitude moved Brian's mother to contact L'ESPERANCE and ask for support for Brian so that his dream of becoming a doctor can come true, even though she probably won't live to see it. She also said she would be happy anywhere if only she knew at least one of her children was succeeding in life.

L'ESPERANCE wants to foster that very hope, confidence and positivity in the orphans we care for, and especially in light of the great challenges they face. That's why we are happy to help Brian realize his dreams by hosting him, providing for his basic needs, and giving him an education.

Reported by Rebecca Mulembe, Head Mother of L'ESPERANCE Children's Village Kinyo.

There are more than 100 orphans and half-orphans for whom help has been requested in Uganda. We have taken in the worst 40 cases. Together with our sponsors and donors, we will do everything possible to help Brian grow into a vibrant, hopeful young man.

Shopping Basket