For the past fifteen years, GLO’s partner Youth For Christ’s Homes of Hope has truly been raising a generation of godly leaders for the transformation of society. With over fifty children, Homes of Hope is one of the best orphanages in Gitega province. They have not only provided shelter, but with their other programmes, such as Future Hope Schools and Shammah Health Centre, they have provided healthcare and education in a safe and nurturing environment.
Shelley* is one of the children who has had the opportunity to find a home at Homes of Hope. Shelley’s mother was a second wife, hated by the family of the husband for leaving his first wife and children, this caused the family to abandon her and her brother. After the death of her mother, her father went back to his first wife, abandoning Shelley and her brother, and no one from her father’s family wanted them, so her mother’s mother took them in.
Very old and poor, Shelley’s grandmother tried to take care of them to the best of her ability, but that was not enough. They would go hungry for days. “This made me angry since I knew my father was able to feed us, but he had chosen not to,” said Shelley. At the age of eight, she was brought to the orphanage by her grandmother who had become too elderly to care for her. To this day, she has never met her siblings from her dad’s side. She wishes to let them know that she no longer holds any grudge against them.
After joining Homes of Hope, Shelley felt accepted and wanted, she found a family she never thought she would ever have. For over ten years now, she is grateful to have people she calls siblings and parents. “I never knew that I would ever call someone father, but Freddy has truly been a father figure to us.”
Shelley is in Year 12, she hopes to finish high school next year and join university. She wants to become a chemist. Despite her father abandoning her, she would like to support her dad and his family. “I would like to show him the love I have received here at Homes of Hope and prove to him that love conquers all.” What an inspirational attitude!
In years to come, she plans to always come back to Homes of Hope to meet the children there and to share the love she experienced as a young child.
* Names have been changed to protect identity