Faith Nalukwago shares her story

Faith 0Y7A7133

Twenty-five-year-old Faith Nalukwago grew up in the village of Kabale, around 25km north-west of Kampala, Uganda. One of eight children, her family lived in a small mud hut. Her parents couldn’t afford to send them all to school; in her early childhood only her eldest brother attended while the rest spent time at home, doing chores. Food was difficult to obtain; her parents were subsistence farmers with limited means of generating income. They grew bananas and cassava but there was little else. They didn’t have beds – Faith’s parents would fill sacks with grass to be used as bedding.

When Faith was nine, the local church visited her family to tell them about Compassion’s programme. Her family was assessed and deemed to be in severe need and, due to her age, it was Faith who was registered at the Baale Child Development Centre, where Sula and his family also attended.

Faith, like Immaculate, was also supported with fees and scholastic materials, which helped her to study and attain a certificate in education. She still remembers the joy of being given what she needed to attend school: “They provided for us uniform sets, pens – even the bags. I had never owned a bag before.”

Alongside school, Faith attended the Compassion project on a Saturday where she would have classes in English and other practical skills: “I chose to do bakery in the first and second year, then in the third year and fourth year, I did hairdressing.” In the evening, there were co-curricular options, and Faith thrived as part of the netball team. It was during these days at the centre that she heard the gospel. Aged 14, she made a decision: “I accepted Jesus Christ. After that, we started going to church.”

Although Faith was the only child enrolled on the programme, her whole family benefitted. Compassion provided proper bedding. “We started sleeping well; we didn’t want to wake up because it was new and we were excited.”

Compassion also stepped in with additional funding when the family’s mud hut collapsed on one side: “Compassion helped us to rebuild so we now have a wooden house.” 

Every child on the programme is also given a workbook called My Plan for Tomorrow, to help them think and dream about their future. Over time, Faith decided she wanted to become a teacher.

“I told [staff at the centre] that I wanted to go to college in order to teach young children. Compassion supported me and paid all the tuition fees.”

Having trained to become a primary school teacher, Faith returned home and now works at the local school. During the holidays, she supplements her family’s income by baking and hairdressing.

Faith can see the long-term impact that the Compassion programme has had on her village: “Compassion brought back their hope. These people accepted Jesus…Children are supported and they are now going to school. People are getting extra income because they learn the skills from the programme. So they don’t remain the same…Now we have the biggest church in the community, as the numbers really increased…We used to drink the same water the animals drank. But we got a good borehole, our wells were constructed and now we get safe water…Today if a child on the programme gets sick they go for a check-up and are treated.”

Faith is now a confident young woman who recognises the change God has made in her own life as well as her community. She has seen two members of her family become Christians, and continues to pray for the others. Her favourite Bible verse is Galatians 6:9: “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (ESV). It is something she has seen outworked in her own life and which she encourages others to remember.

“God enabled me to get a job. I can now stand and talk to other people, because God has given me favour, and they accept my word. I can encourage my fellow youth who are still in the programme to work hard and to achieve their dreams.”  

Read more on this story - Hope bringers: How Compassion is changing lives