About five years ago I spent a month in Uganda, where I taught some intensives at Bugema University. Most of the students in my classes wanted to become pastors. But they were not the only ones who found their way to the guesthouse where I was staying. Dozens of students, of various disciplines, came to me to explain their difficult financial situation. It was not so strange that they hoped that I, as a relatively rich person from the West, might myself be able to provide some help, or could perhaps find a sponsor for them.
I had been in such a position earlier. After all, I had worked in West-Africa for more than six years, and at that time there had been a constant stream of people asking me for assistance. But I knew that not all who ask for help need it equally urgently. So, when the Bugema students came to me, I asked them to put their request for help in writing and explain why they needed this help. I also wanted to know how much they could earn themselves during their study, and whether they would be able to work during the holidays and earn some extra money. I promised I would look at all the requests carefully, and would then select a few persons, for whom I would do what I could. I tried to explain that my own resources were limited. (In any case, I had paid the study books that my students needed for their classes out of my own pocket.) But I promised that for a limited number of Bugema students I would try to find sponsors.
When I wrote something about my stay in Uganda in the Dutch Adventist church paper, one of the readers offered to sponsor three students. He preferred to stay anonymous and asked me to care for all further contacts with the students.
I must admit that at times I am a bit skeptical regarding this kind of projects. But more than four years and more than ten thousand Euros later I am happy to report that it has not been in vain. One student in Business Administration has now finished his Bachelors degree and has received adequate assistance to finish his Masters. He has a good chance of employment at Bugema once he has finished his studies. When I was teaching at Bugema he was the one who brought my meals to the guest house and kept my living quarters in good shape. As the weeks went by, I got to know him better and decided that he ought to be on my shortlist for help.
Another student who made it to the list has finished his Masters and has now been working already for some time for ADRA in Mozambique as ‘monitoring and evaluation officer.’ From time to time he sends me an e-mail message, and invariably expresses his gratitude to the sponsor who made this achievement possible for him.
But then there is Rebecca Kwamboka Moses. She is a young Kenyan woman, who has a family. And yet she had the courage and the stamina to enroll at Bugema in Uganda (which is much cheaper than a college in Kenya would have been) for a theological education. At present she is back in Kenya (with her Bachelors degree) and she has now almost finished her Masters at a Kenyan university—all because she received help from the Netherlands. A few days ago I saw her emerge at LinkedIn: Rebecca Kwamboka: pastor at SDA Church. It is great to see how this woman reached her goal, thanks to her faith, her persistence, her intelligence, her family and her Dutch sponsor.
A few days ago I received her latest e-mail about the status of her master’s thesis (which is now almost finished). But she also reported something else. She is due to hold an evangelistic campaign in Kisii, a town in the south-western corner of Kenya, not far from Lake Victoria. Her immediate concern is to somehow raise the funds needed for her campaign. She needs a budget of between one thousand and fifteen hundred Euros. I wonder whether there may be a reader of this blog who is able and willing to help. If so, let me know and I will share the instructions as to how the money will safely reach its destination. So far, the investment in Rebecca has borne ample fruit. I am sure that an investment in her work will also bring a rich dividend.