KAMPALA – Missionaries of the Poor, Bethlehem Children Home in Busega, has been able to feed and steadily provide decent health care to vulnerable children under their wing after support from MTN Uganda’s staff initiative dubbed 21 days of yellow care.
Founded in 2010 under the leadership of Fr. Hayden Augustine—successor to Fr Philip Selvaraj and Br John Reddy, Bethlehem Children Home hosts over 120 boys, 66 of whom are deaf, dumb and mentally incapacitated. The other 60 children are able-bodied school-going children who were either abandoned at birth or left without caretakers after the demise of their parents.
The orphanage takes care of vulnerable children who they have taken of the streets or have been brought to them by poverty-stricken parents unable to care for them any longer. The home is sustained by the generous support from good Samaritans who aid their survival and continuity. However, just as every group, family, and community was ravaged by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the home was badly affected plunging their food supplies and eating into their saving to provide medical care for these vulnerable children.
With this huge gap in the required basic needs for these vulnerable children in the past two years, MTN Uganda recently stepped in and provided clothing, beddings, foodstuffs, cleaning agents, and wheelchairs for immobile children as well as computers for school-going ones at the Children’s Home.
Brother Joachim, the caretaker priest at the Missionaries of the Poor, Bethlehem Children Home, said it has been a daily struggle to furnish the demanding needs of their children and provide all-around care to them.
“We don’t have any business or income generating opportunities that can help us support this cause, that’s why it profoundly touches our heart every time MTN Uganda reaches out and supports our mission. MTN Uganda has aided our survival and granted the children more joy and hope for the future.”
Joachim said that the MTN Uganda support has made the administration at the Bethlehem Children’s Home remain hopeful that things will continue to move in the direction envisioned in their mission.
He said despite the fact the children’s home faces tough times in meeting their needs, they have continued to pray to God to help them realize the message of Matthew 25:35-37 which is to give shelter to the homeless, food to the hungry, clothe the needy, look after the sick and do to our brothers and sisters as we would to ourselves.
Bryan Mbasa, senior manager at MTN Uganda Foundation said they are excited that the campaign has continued to have a positive impact on the communities in which the company operates.
“We are glad that we have been able to put smiles on the faces of the children at Bethlehem Home through our support and we look forward to more collaborations and support,” he said.
Missionaries of the Poor was founded in 1981 by Father Richard Ho Lung a Chinese priest born in Jamaica where his misally began. His vision and mission were to reach out to all communities and pick up children who were orphans or who have been abandoned.
He opened up several homes around the world and across continents and some of the homes are located in Haiti, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, and Kenya.
Other groups that received MTN support during the campaign, include; the Tesobar deaf carpentry group in Lira, the Masaka Diocese Youth, Jinja-based Tabulera Kawuma deaf carpentry, the disabled association of Fortportal, the Bunusya Abarema Twetungure Association in Mbarara, the Glorious widows of Makindye, Focus for Life Development Link in Kawempe, and the Nakawa Market Vendors association.
The MTN’s 21 Days of Y’ello Care is an annual MTN staff volunteerism campaign observed by all MTN employees across all its markets. The campaign that dates back to 2007 is executed within the first 21 days of June every year.