I’m really excited to see (in)courage and Mocha Club partnering to bring hope to women in Gulu, Uganda. I’m very proud to be a member of both families. I’ve seen, firsthand, how Mocha Club changes lives in Africa for just $7 a month and I’ve watched, firsthand, how (in)courage is changing lives each day. So to introduce the two groups to each other, to see the mutual respect and support from members, is quite an honor.
– Annie Downs, (in)courage contributor
In Gulu, Uganda, there lives a community of 500 young women who come from brutally different circumstances than most of us. Yet, their desires are very much the same.
When she was only 13-years-old, Sarah was abducted by the rebel soldiers in the “Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA) in Northern Uganda. Despite its name, the LRA has nothing to do with “the Lord.” The leader, Joseph Kony, has been engaged in inhuman acts that raid, kill, abduct, and destroy, affecting millions of lives. The war with the LRA has spanned over 23 years, with the abduction of over 35,000 children.
Sarah is called a “child mother” because she was only a child herself when she was captured as a sex slave for the LRA. While she was being held captive, she conceived two children. As teenage girls on our side of the world hung out with friends, experimented with makeup, and looked forward to the middle school dance, Sarah and her young children were experiencing gun battles, starvation, sickness, and witnessing killings.
Sarah attempted to escape from her captors several times, finally succeeding on the third attempt along with her two children. They found themselves homeless and aimless. When she returned to her childhood home, her parents were missing – her father had been murdered by the rebels. As usually happens when women in Uganda have escaped and been excused as expendable, the community rejected Sarah and her children. They didn’t want her around because her children were born in the bush.
But there is hope for Sarah, and for so many other women and children in war-torn Uganda.
Mocha Club is an online community of people giving up “the cost of 2 mochas” – $7 a month– to fund relief and development projects in Africa. Through their Child Mothers & Women At Risk project, Mocha Club members are helping fund the Village of Hope in Gulu, Uganda which provides homes, a school, clinic, job training, counseling and support for these women and their babies.
$7 for us? 2 pumpkin spice lattés.
$7 in Africa? A life saved.
When the young women arrive at the Village of Hope with their children in arms, they are broken and devastated from years in captivity, seeking refuge from a life they did not choose. There, they find shelter and security. They are educated, counseled and equipped to eventually begin a new life for themselves and for their children. Their lives are being restored. Look and see for yourself.
Restoration. Beauty. Hope. Yes, as women, we all want the same things.
Sarah’s story ends well. At the Village of Hope, she has received counseling, education, and job skills training. She and her children are taught from the Bible and learn what it means to follow Jesus Christ. As she sees her children being transformed from those conceived in war to those who are accepted and dearly loved, Sarah has learned to see them as gifts from God despite the circumstances of their birth.
And this is just one story. The women at Village of Hope show us that love and care can change even those who have walked through the vilest of circumstances. Among the women in Gulu, Uganda, you will see scars, but you will also see smiles. Dancing. Joy. And hope.
See how your $7 a month can help transform women’s lives in Africa by joining the (in)courage Mocha Club group.