Empowering HIV/AIDS orphaned children in Africa to a self sustainable future

Catherine Koch

Catherine Koch

Founder and President of Love Is The Answer, a Canadian registered charity serving orphaned children in Africa.

I Watched The Children Grow Today..


.. no less than 70 of our little Beloveds.. and, at least a couple inches each, too!

As I walked along the path to the center this afternoon I could hear Vincent’s voice, followed by the children’s little murmurs, echoing across the fields of banana trees and cassava that lay between us. A beautiful blue sky day in Sironko, it’s been now 2 days without rain, yeah, and the trail is really becoming so much easier to negotiate for this gumbooted girl! Or perhaps I’m just getting my footing here now, it has been a couple weeks, and the groove here is starting to feel like second nature to me once again.

David, a very sweet and gentle man, Vincent’s right hand guy, was leading the way to the center today, carrying my laptop and a big bag of “knickers” for all the children. Before I left Mbale this morning, I had stopped on the way to the Sironko taxi with the boda boda ( motorcycle taxi ) at the wholesale place I learned of a couple days ago, and picked up another dozen boys underwear, bringing our total number for the moment to 10 DZ..!

Before heading to the center I had met at the ACIO office in Mutufu, Sironko, with a number of our orphaned teenage girls who live with caregivers to discuss the sewing circle we’re going to begin that they will all be a part of. We planned our next get together which will be on Wednesday, when I will bring a sewing teacher friend of mine with me to Sironko and we’ll start the girls on a course to make a very specific item – a washable, reuseable pad with a liner. This, for those who do not know, will entirely change these girl’s lives, in more ways than one!

Of course, the girls will be learning a skill.. to sew, and this is huge for each and every one of them, AND, most of these girls, as many African girls, usually stay home from school for several days every month, because till now they have had no knickers, and no supplies, when their monthly comes. Of all the things the girls could’ve asked me for help with, this issue was the very most important thing on all their minds. For several months now ( more like a few years really! 🙂 I’ve had packed all ready for this trip a great sample of a pad and liner, and I am so grateful that here we are taking real steps, right now, to bring this empowerment to the girls! We reviewed a pattern this morning – a very nice one I found online – everyone is happy, excited, inspired, we posed for a pic, and then I handed out to each of the girls 2 pairs of panties .. the girls were so delighted and grateful, it was very, very fun!

So, now at the center, it was time to pass out the rest of the underwear to all the children there. We have 56 children living at the center right now, 36 boys and 20 girls.. we decided to begin with the boys. As cute as can be, the boys all lined up starting with the smallest little guys, and one by one they each were handed a pair of underwear by David. They passed by me and I tried to tickle each one as they said a delighted “thank you” and ran toward their little dorm. This stream of happy little darlings, so excited, flowed directly into their sleeping area and continued back out the door, as each child, quickly whipped off his pants and put on his brand new underwear, and then got dressed again, in private. It was very special, magical, the boys walked differently, they strutted, were taller, some of them pulled the waist band up just enough above their pants so they could been seen! Vincent started giggling to me and said he knew for many, many of our boys this was the first pair of underwear they had ever received and perhaps the first “new” piece of clothing ever too!

We repeated for the girls, except that they each received two pairs and I asked each of them to choose the colors they wanted. How simply sweet and most precious, the Light in their little eyes as they each considered and expressed their choice, followed by such sincere “thank you’s”..

Still, right now, I have misty eyes to recall.. these children today were beyond delighted by the whole experience. And I just know for sure, they are all laying there tonight wrapped in some kind of new warm, probably still in their underwear, perhaps unable to sleep as I am, because they grew today, a growth spurt like never before and they are all standing taller tonight.  Their energetics shifted, it was so easy to see the difference.. they felt proud, special, happy, cared for.. and as Vincent said afterwards.. these children, so many of them, have had such deep trauma.. and when something happens like today, they can even forget to eat, they are so taken with the idea that they matter, that they are Loved.

Blessed Be, and thank you dear donors.. you have helped 70 children glow in their dreams tonight..

Oh my, I am so grateful to be here, thank you, thank you, thank you.

With Love, Cath xox

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