As we prepare to fly out to Uganda this evening for a three week trip I am amazed when I look back and see all that God has done for us at Kids Club Kampala. My journey with Kids Club began when I signed up for a six month gap year in Uganda with a group of other gap year students. We spent six months working in schools, churches and communities. Our friend, translator and member of our team, Sam encouraged us during that time to hold kids clubs in the slums in town and also in our own village in order to reach those kids who couldn't afford to go to school or who didn't attend a church. These kids, dare I say it were our favorite little ones to love and laugh with, always so energetic and passionate and thankful for any balloon, tennis ball or pack of bubbles that were given out. Over the next few months I fell in love, with the country, the people and most of all the children. We worked in a slum called Katanga which is situated in the heart of Kampala near the university and the hospital but it is almost unnoticed by those who walk past. People walk the long way around it in order to avoid the dirt, the people and the open sewers. Friends, church members and people we would meet would warn us against going there "Those children are dirty, they will steal your stuff, don't walk there your feet will get dirty and you will catch a disease!" I struggled to understand these comments when I looked into the eyes of these smiling kids who just wanted to play and have fun and be kids, who just wanted someone to hold a skipping rope for them while they jumped, who just needed someone to say I believe you are special, gifted and worth a huge amount in this world. So despite the warnings of others we didn't stop holding kids clubs and I have never got a disease, never had anything stolen and only ever had joyful times spent with the people who live in Katanga.
Leaving Uganda after those six months was the difficult part and beginning uni back in the western world even more difficult. I longed for warm evenings spent with my neighbours and their kids out on our step and early mornings being woken up by children who were exceptionally early for that days kids club. So after a year I just had to go back to Uganda. Olivia and I knew that there was something that God had planned for our trip back to Uganda, but we didnt yet know what it was. When we got there we slotted straight back into a busy program of kids clubs and visits to friends. Along with Sam, Olivia and I knew this needed to be taken further, money had run out and Sam and other volunteers desperately wanted to continue kids club and so too did the kids who looked forward to their weekly chance to have fun and be kids. So thats when we all decided we needed to create a charity called Kids Club Kampala.
That was in 2009, we had two kids club centres back then and now in 2012 we have 14, we also have 12 children who are being sponsored through school and womens' initiatives too. Back in 2009 I was 19 and had no idea how to set up a charity but God filled in the blanks and showed me the way. Many of you may think we had some money at this point, but this was a charity run by two 19 year old students in the UK and another student in Uganda, we had no money. However, we knew that God was calling us to do something, we couldn't pass it up and since then He has provided for us in some pretty miraculous ways.
Through all of this we want first of all to glorify God and show love and hope to the children and families we work with, but in addition we would love to inspire others to just say yes to the call God has on their lives. Its not easy, but its also not impossible and no matter how young you are or how much money you have you can make a powerful impact on this world. So if there is a burning desire in your heart to do something extraordinary even if you feel quite ordinary yourself remember that we live for an extravagant God who does nothing by halves.
Corrie Latham for Kids Club Kampala..