When I was praying one day I saw these girls, and they were lying on the ground, and big demon-like men were coming along and picking them up and throwing them in dumpsters. I cried out to God and He said, “Will you go and help them?”
Friends, these girls are our teen mamas.
These girls are as young as our 13-year-old Zion, girls who come from families of 12 children or more, because it’s a country of hungry women and men. The women, seeking food, and the men, seeking pleasure. These are girls whose mothers barely know they exist because they’ve got 11 other children to somehow feed and their own husband has left them and they don’t know how long the man they’re with will stay. These are girls who go days without a meal and years without school fees and who can’t even afford underwear.
It’s a land of the fatherless, and when a man comes along offering these girls security they feel seen, they feel heard, they feel loved, and most of all, they feel full—because this man will feed them, he will clothe them, he will provide shelter for them, until he tires of them—and then they’re discarded, with a child in their womb, because none of them are taught about what it means to be female. And when their monthly cycle comes, they sit at home ashamed, using banana leaves or whatever else they can find to cover up the shame.
Men come along and they promise these girls they can take away this shame. They promise them they can take away their monthly period but what they don’t tell them is they’ll be left with a baby instead.
And then these girls are abandoned and return home with a baby and their mothers disown them and the schools refuse to let them in. So they’re forced into a situation where they seek out another man just for another meal and a place to lay their heads.
And into this lack, they give birth.
They give life though they’ve never known what it is to live. They give life to a defenseless little one looking into the eyes of another little one whom they call “Mama.”
And so, there is the Lulu Tree School of Hope. A program run by volunteer born-again Ugandan teachers who have a heart for their own people, who are not afraid to love and serve these teen mamas. A program that exists not just to give these girls the education they never thought they’d have, but also to heal the wounds they’ve carried and to wrap their hearts in the love of a Father who will never abandon them.
God has given us two acres of land in the heart of fertile Jinja, five minutes from the rented building where we teach these precious girls. They walk for miles or take boda-boda motorcycles each day to attend the only school that will accept them, but for some, the miles are too long and they quit coming because they don’t have the funding, or the boda-boda driver takes advantage of them.
When this post was first written, we were trusting God for a miracle. We were praying for the funds to construct a safe haven on the Jinja land–dorms where the mamas can stay with their babies. Washrooms nearby, clean and safe. A kitchen, where the teen mamas can prepare food they’ve grown themselves in the garden where they work together.
When this post was first written, the dorm’s foundation had been built but there was not enough money to finish the walls. The foundation waited empty for a month, and we praying for funds and planned to reach out with this great need–in hopes of building walls and windows and a roof so we can have rooms for the girls to sleep in and a nursery for their little ones whose mothers are fighting to give them a future.
Oh, friends. The Lord had other plans! Instead of coming to you with a need, we’re announcing a praise report. Since beginning this post, two donors have come forward and provided funds to complete the dorms! The Father is providing for His daughters abundantly. He is giving them the protection, shelter, food and love that they so badly need, and His provision comes with no strings and no limits.
Not only is the dorm funded, but enough has been given that construction on the kitchen and washroom can now begin as well!
Praise God. And thank you to those who are helping Jesus rescue these girls and their babies, one life at a time.
To learn more, please watch Zion’s testimony here—and if any of you gives towards the School of Hope this month we’d love to send you an African cloth backpack made by our Lulu mamas as a thank-you (see below).