Open eyes, open heart

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By Eunice Aguti Otim

In May 2016, Eunice Aguti attended Uganda Gathering. The conference focused on how the church can respond to the challenges of gender-based violence, street children, conflict and reconciliation and other issues affecting Uganda today.

My name is Eunice Aguti Otim. I am a woman from the north-eastern part of Uganda with a passion to help others.

I am the second of four children. My older sister passed on and my dad also passed on when I was young. I lived with my mum, an uneducated farmer, and was expected to take up a headship role in the family. God has been our faithful Father all these years, and by his favour I was sponsored to go to university, where I got a bachelor’s degree in development studies. I am committed to serving God and following his heart in what I do. Before I went to university, I went through discipleship training in 2010 with Youth With A Mission (YWAM).

I am currently serving with the YWAM Torch base in Jinja, Uganda. This is a Christian non-profit organistion involved in mercy ministries, evangelism and training. I am specifically engaged with the Foster Family Network ministry, which sets the lonely in families so they are taken care of holistically, enabling them to become productive and responsible citizens.

We carry out home visits and meet with foster parents to encourage them and reflect together on what is going on. We conduct camps, savings schemes, agricultural work, psychosocial support for the children and prayer meetings with parents. I document most of the activities of the network, as well as helping with accounts and immigration processes.

I wanted to attend Uganda Gathering to gain more understanding of practical ways to administer compassion and justice without causing injustice to others. I needed to learn how I could be of help, especially to those who are in need and facing injustices, like the children, women and poor people in our communities. I thank Tearfund for sponsoring me to attend this conference.

My highlight was learning that individuals, churches and governments can actively get involved in acts of compassion and justice for community transformation without waiting for donor funds. This can be done by mobilising churches to act with the God-given resources at our disposal and by working to uproot structures of injustice that keep our people poor. Other things I learnt include:

  • We need to find families for the large numbers of vulnerable children living on the streets, so that they can grow to become responsible people in the next generation.

  • We should encourage reconciliation and forgiveness in our communities and collaborate with governments to bring about peace and development in our country.

  • The older generation needs to bless young people by releasing them to learn, even if they make mistakes.

  • Development workers need to be facilitators to help communities map out the existing resources available to them, and to encourage communities to use their strengths and abilities to achieve results.

  • There is a need to plan strategic income-generating activities to help fight poverty.

  • Through the project visits and workshops, I learnt that relational leadership helps employees work as friends and can produce greater results.

  • I know I must accord justice to people around me, starting in my workplace.

  • I learnt to consider the plight of a million vulnerable children, and I am starting to support one vulnerable child at a time in my rural area with whatever little resource I can afford. I plan to fight injustices against children and girls in rural areas.

The opportunity Tearfund gave me at Uganda Gathering opened my eyes and heart wide to see a greater need around me and help others, just like someone chose to help me when I was desperately needing help.

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