When Peter and Sharon Georges were working as Orthodox missionaries in Uganda in 2003, they made a decision that seemed minor at the time, but would have far-reaching consequences. They agreed to pay school fees for two orphans who were living with an elderly grandmother.
Upon returning to Uganda in 2005, they learned that there were now nine children living with the old woman in a deteriorating mud hut wedged between a main road and a swamp. There were more grandchildren living nearby, some with a single ailing parent, some with another relative. Within weeks the two children became thirteen. Soon other situations presented themselves: a family of five kids living completely on their own; a little girl abandoned to a poor but caring neighbor; children living with HIV-positive single parents; and many more.
As the number of sponsored children increased and the Georgeses became more involved with their education, they realized that there was more to it than school fees, uniforms, lunches and books. As in the case of the grandmother’s orphans, miserable living conditions seriously affect a child’s ability to learn as well as jeopardize their general health. So their assistance became more extensive—improved living quarters, beds, mattresses and blankets, shoes, food staples, and health care.
Although the cash outflow was now exceeding their modest missionary stipend, they proceeded in faith. As word of their efforts spread, people of good will began to ask how they could help. Thus was born the St. Nicholas Uganda Children’s Fund. The Fund is now supporting more than 200 children in school, and is providing additional assistance to six needy families.
For more information, go to: www.ugandachildrensfund.org .