Thursday, 28 November 2013

Countdown to Kindness

It's that time of year again! Time for our annual Countdown to Kindness!

Here's how it works:

1. Help us spread the word by sharing this image on FB, blogs, twitter, instagram, etc...

2. For every $1,000 we raise in the month of December we will do one random act of kindness (RAK).

3. We'll take a photo of the RAK and share it on our social media pages.

4. Our goal? 20 RAKs by Christmas ($20,000)!

How to get involved?

1. Donate to help us get to our 20 RAKs

2. Donate $50 or more and we'll send you an ornament handmade by one of our kids or caregivers as a thank you. We have three options and you can choose which one you want!


3. Donate in honor of someone else as a Christmas gift. We'll email the image of your choosing on Christmas morning to the person (email Megan at to arrange this)

For a $25 donation

For a $50 donation

For a $100 donation

For any size donation

Our Progress: [keep checking back for updates!]

1. Coffee for a friend going through a hard time (Washington DC)

2. Paying a meter for someone right before the parking cop got to their car! (Washington DC)

3. Filling up two jerry cans of water from her well for her neighbors. (Madagascar)

4. Coffee for a friend studying for finals (Washington DC)

5. Gift card for someone who lost a loved one (Washington DC)

6. Treating the ladies on Abide staff to pedicures (Uganda)

7. Bringing sodas to the hardworking Social Workers at Ekisa Ministries (Uganda)

8. Back on My Feet participant in Philadelphia giving his lunch away to another homeless person (Philadelphia)

9. Back on My Feet participants encouraging construction workers near their home (Philadelphia)

10. Back on My Feet participant who helped a woman who had fallen on the street (Philadelphia)

11. Coming soon!
12. Coming soon!
13. Coming soon!
14. Coming soon!
15. NEED
16. NEED
17. NEED
18. NEED
19. NEED
20. NEED

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Thank you for supporting our educational needs!

We raised a total of $2,500 in our "Go Back to School, Give Back to Families" campaign. Thank you for playing a part in helping us provide for the educational needs of the caregivers and children at our center!

The funds raised have been directed toward building up the early childhood center with books, paying the salaries of our adult and child educators, providing for caregivers to attend the business class as well as providing for the small grants offered to an entire business class.

Your donations have helped caregivers and their children LEARN and GROW. We are grateful and they are grateful for your support.

With your support, we also got to do some fun activities with the kiddos in the early childhood center.

Thank you to Alisa Harder for your donation. She sent the kids on a play-dough-making adventure!

The kids had a blast and loved playing with their homemade play dough!

Thank you all who have and continue to support Abide financially. 

You help us keep children in families!

Monday, 28 October 2013

First Business Class Graduation!

On Monday we had our first round of caregivers graduate from the business class!

Our pastor, Julius, opened us all up in prayer.

Juliet, our income generating director, ran the program with Susan, one of our social workers translating. Juliet talked about all the women had learned, how they were ready to start successful businesses, and even threw in an inside joke or two about attendance :)

Proud graduates!

The caregivers 

The caregivers and their kids!

Then we celebrated with cake and ice cream! [probably the kids favorite part]

Now that they've graduated, the caregivers have applied for grants. Last week we went over all their proposals and will be awarding them all grants to start their businesses this week. 

Such an exciting day!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Meet the Abide Staff!

The Abide family has GROWN much in the last few months. We have barely had time to catch you up on who has been added to the Abide staff. These folks make Abide possible. They serve and love the families at Abide so well. We are beyond blessed with a wonderful staff who work well together and who are just as passionate as we are to see "Children in families, not orphanages".

If you have ever donated to Abide, your donations help us pay for these folks to work at our center. You make each one of their positions at Abide possible. We thank you for helping bring these people into our lives so that they can reach the lives of vulnerable families struggling to provide for their children.

Meet our full-time Pastor

Julius received a B.A. in theology from Global Theological Seminary in Jinja, Uganda. He has been a pastor for 10 years and is currently a pastor at Rivers of Life Church in Jinja. Julius states that “life is the most precious gift that God has given us” and he enjoys working at Abide because he is given the opportunity to express his pastoral abilities and “remind families of their obligations to live by God’s principles, in the life manual, called the Bible”. At Abide Julius facilities bible studies to staff and caregivers, supports the social work team, and provides counseling services to caregivers/families.

Meet our Social Work team! {from left to right}

Adonai (Social Worker) received a B.A. in social work/social administration from Uganda Christian University in Mukono Distract. He has been a social worker for 8 years; prior to Abide he was a social worker at Rapha Orphanage. Adonai states that he enjoys working at Abide because it is “a good social place where we can carry out our abilities to assist families…it is a social change place, which is causing a positive impact upon the community”. At Abide he manages a caseload of families by promoting income generating, counseling, and advocating for children and families rights.

Juliette (Income Generation Director) studied development economics at Makerere University. She has work experience at the probation office and is pleased to have Abide be her first professional job. She enjoys working at Abide because she is inspired by female empowerment and wants “everyone to have a smile on his or her face”.  At Abide she conducts business classes to the caregivers providing them skills and education. She focuses on assisting with business proposals that the caregivers present to the staff. She also attends home visits with the social work team to evaluate the caregiver’s business projects.

Susan (Social Worker) received a B.A. in social work at Uganda Christian University in Mukono Distract. This is Susan’s first social work position; previously she completed internships at Compassion International. Susan enjoys working at Abide because she is helping the community, which she believes in the main role of a social worker. She enjoys working with children because of their fun personalities and interesting characteristics. At Abide she manages a caseload and enjoys her time going into the community conducting home visits and advocating for the rights of the family.

Meet our Assistant Home Manager

Julie  is an excellent tailor, receiving individual training 2 years ago. She developed her practice making curtains, pillows, bags, children’s clothing, yoga mat bags, stuffed animal toys, etc. She enjoys working at Abide because the job allows her to help her 5 children – 2 of which are adopted. As home manager she will assist with shopping, assisting the pre-school, and tailoring. Julie states that “she enjoys getting to know new people and working with children” and believes that Abide supports those who are disadvantaged.

Meet our WONDERFUL Cook
Mary is a seasoned cook working for 12 years at Nile Vocational Institute and 5 years at Kagoma Nursing School. She enjoys working at Abide because the income is stable compared to working in gardens. She states that Abide provides her with stability. Mary states, “I use to be sick, but because of Abide I am able to support myself, also I feel good when others enjoy my work”. At Abide Mary provides an excellent selection of Ugandan cuisine, such as matoke, chapatti, greens, etc for the staff and caregivers.

Meet our Day Guard

John  has been a guard for 14 years previously working at Jinja Steel Organization and St. Jude Primary School. John has a strong love and respect for his job, stating, “I love myself as a result”. He states that he enjoys working at Abide because he “enjoys the job within his life”, adding that he feels at peace working at Abide. At Abide John protects the caregivers and staff by managing the property and regulating visitors.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Go Back To School, Give Back to Families

[Well we clearly suck at blogging. Sorry about that, gonna get better. PROMISE]

While you've properly recovered from having your kids home ALL SUMMER LONG and fallen into the routine of making lunches and nagging kids about homework, here at Abide our educational programs are growing too!

We launched our first business class for the caregivers currently in our program. We got some fabulous curriculum from Fount of Mercy and our income generating director, Juliet, is rocking as the teacher. There are seven woman in the class now and while their caregivers learn about how to run successful businesses their kids hang out with our future day care teacher, Julie.

In honor of the Mcburney family's donation to our Go Back to School, Give Back to Families campaign we hosted a letter hunt with them last week. It was so much fun. Most of the kids don't speak english so it was a fun way to introduce letters.

"You found the F!"

 Julie translating for me

"Uh-oh, the O is still missing... we have to find the O! An O looks like this..."

This month we will be opening out day care center. The center will provide affordable childcare for kids 0-5 so that parents can work knowing their children are in a safe and educational environment. Please check out our current campaign to help make this a reality!

Click here to see

Sunday, 16 June 2013

First Week

We're here!

After 16 hours of flying, a 12 hour layover, a 3 hour drive, and some suitcase jenga we got to Jinja, Uganda.

Can 10 bags, 2 girls, and a driver all fit in a station wagon? Of course, this is Uganda!

We spend our first two nights in Uganda with a friend then we rented a car and did some shopping for essentials. With two mattresses, a mini fridge, fan, and shelves we were ready to move into the Abide compound!

It's a bit like camping right now since the plumbing isn't working (and the electricity has been coming and going too), but we're making it work. It also provides more motivation to get the compound up and running. 

On Saturday we had an awesome team from University of Texas come and help us clean all the units. Now we're ready to start painting!

No running water? No problem... we can improvise.

Burning our trash... I (Megan ) am pretty happy Kelsey actually enjoys this #pyromaniac

New fun fact: we have papaya, avocado, jack fruit, and mango trees on our compound. 

Hopefully we will be bringing you new photos of how the compound has progressed next week!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Facebook message that rocked my world.

I graduated college on Thursday from Temple University in Philadelphia with a degree in Social Work. It was an exciting time. To finally be done school and to begin this next chapter. The BIG MOVE to Uganda on June 10th. While graduation was great, a Facebook message I received today actually ended up being more gratifying than any diploma ever could be. This message meant that what we are saying and how we are saying it is actually effective. While I am proud to have received my degree, I am humbled that God has used a mess like me to be part of something so big in a culture that is not my own. It's mind blowing, honestly, that anything I could say or write would play a role in changing the care vulnerable children and families in Uganda receive across the board. That's the coolest. And I know this is only the beginning, which makes it that much cooler.

I have blocked out the woman's identity and the name of her children's home. Not because she fears people knowing the direction her organization is headed, but because she shared with me sweet words in a private message. Words I asked if I could share with you all, but words that are hers, a shift she should get to decide when and how to share with her supporters.

I don't really know that this message warrants any further explanation beyond, HOW NEAT IS THAT? How encouraging is it to receive a message from someone who runs an orphanage who desires to change the way they  do things because they believe in doing what is BEST for each  child in their care. 

This is what it is about. Having conversations in love and with grace. Being patient with one another.  Not so we can prove we are "right" or that we've developed the "best" model, but because we believe in change bigger than any of our organizations. We recognize the need we have for each other in building partnerships and working together.  

We believe in raising the bar in services provided to vulnerable children and families in Uganda.  If I have learned one thing it is that to do this we can not alienate those who maybe don't see eye to eye. When we do that, we lose our shot at helping encourage them in a different direction. 

We are in this together. Let's act like it.