Noirine Khaitsa explains how she was lifted out of poverty and given an education through Compassion’s child sponsorship programme

Noirine Khaitsa

I come from a family of eight kids. We grew up in Mbale, in eastern Uganda, and my mum was single. I was told my dad didn’t want to have me because he was not ready to be a parent. He told my mum that if she decided to keep the baby, she’d have to take care of it on her own. So that’s what happened.

My mum was a primary school teacher. Teachers in my country are not paid much, so life was really, really hard and Mum had to work extra hours, tutoring children who found mathematics challenging. She was hardly ever at home, so my older brother was like our parent. At one point we ended up living in the garage of a rich man, but Mum couldn’t even afford that rent, so she tutored the kids of our landlord.

We all went to the school where Mum taught, which took the money for our school fees straight out of her salary. Of course, there wasn’t enough because there were so many of us.

We used to go to church with Mum – it had a children’s church but we went to the adult part, so we never really learned anything. In one of those services, there was an announcement about an organisation that was willing to partner with the church, and they were going to register kids that needed support. That’s how I joined Compassion. 

A lot of things changed from that moment, because Compassion helped not just with my school, but also with my family. They gave us food and sometimes they would help parents to pay rent. 

Compassion reminded us that God knew us, loved us and had a bright future for us 

Receiving items like soap and Vaseline changed all our lives. My first bedsheets were from Compassion. The eight of us used to share one mattress, so when I received my own from Compassion it made a big difference. And because they paid our school fees, it was less of a burden on Mum.

I really appreciate Compassion for teaching me about God and reminding us that, despite the difficult circumstances we were living in, God knew us and he loved us. And he had a bright future for us. That gave me hope. 

When I was 13, I accepted the Lord Jesus as my personal saviour and my story really changed. Some of the circumstances did not change immediately, but I knew that God cared. I knew that he was writing my story, and it was going to be better, not just for me, but for my entire family. 

Encouraged and shaped

Receiving letters from my sponsor telling me they were praying for me and asking me questions about school was very encouraging. 

Having people tell you they love you, they believe in you and they are always here for you were things that I wasn’t used to, but they positivity shaped my life in a very great way. 

There were moments when it was tough. I wasn’t brilliant in school and at many points I wanted to give up. They would be like: “No, you don’t have to give up. You will make it.” I really appreciated them for that. 

By the time I joined university, I was already volunteering at my project, and went straight back when I finished studying. I ended up working in one of the frontline church partners. I met my dad’s children while working in that project; they introduced themselves to me. Thankfully, by that time, I had already forgiven my dad. I had previously been very resentful of him; I just couldn’t understand why he had closed me out completely. But at a workshop within the Compassion leadership development programme I was on, one of the staff prayed that I would be able to forgive the people that had hurt me and let them go completely. That’s when I finally felt able to truly forgive.

After working at that church project, my partnership facilitator recommended me for a job at the Uganda Compassion office. Five years later, I joined the Africa region, then later the global team. I have been at Compassion for ten years. My biggest motivation for working with Compassion is knowing that I’m working with a ministry that changes lives. I’m a living testimony to that. I look at every child who comes onto our programme, not in view of who they are today, but in view of who God is making them for the future. 

The Church is such a big channel of change in society. The churches who partner with us invest in kids that are not their own with commitment and heart. Of course, for sponsors, it’s beyond the money – it’s the love that you give that child. As a child, I always felt that if someone who doesn’t know me, has never met me, is not related to me, loves me this much, then I think this thing called love is real.  

Noirine was speaking to Claire Musters. To sponsor a child and change a life, visit