Uganda: A lesson in generosity
19 July 2019

Children at the JRS Childcare center in Kampala collecting gifts for the needy (Sr. Hellen)
Sr. Hellen is the Education Coordinator for JRS Kampala, which runs among other things a childcare center. During the last Lenten season, the children at the center presented her with an unusual request.

This year’s Lenten season was special to us as staff at JRS Kampala. The children in our childcare center challenged us.

One morning the instructor in the childcare center approached me with this surprising message: the children need a charity box to collect gifts for the needy. I first did not understand what she was talking about! I told myself that they are needier than any other. My first reaction was to let this idea just pass, but two days later the teacher came back and said that the children are still asking for the charity box and I told her to make a small box and give it to them - let’s see what happens.

God loves a cheerful giver

To my great surprise, at the end of the lent season, the teacher and the children collected a good sum of 38,300 Ugandan Shillings. I went to class and asked them following question: “Who are the needy? In Swahili they say “Maskini”.  The answer to this question were:
“The one who has no dress, no shoes, no food and does not go to school.”

So I asked again: “What about you? Are you not maskini?” They replied: “No”. And I said “Why?”
They claimed that they take tea at JRS with milk and bread, they get porridge which is everyone’s favorite, they have a uniform and they go to school.  They strongly believe that they are not needy.

These answers impressed me so much that I told them to identify the needy in their neighborhood and what they would like us to buy for them.

They are currently on holidays and when they get back they will bring a list of children they need us to support.

From here their story will continue. Please enjoy children’s innovation and built on it. There is so much we can learn from them.

What will you do for the next Lenten season?

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