Jacqueline sat on a threadbare chair in the corner of a dim hospital counselling room. She carefully circled her fingers over the inside of her left wrist. She could feel her pulse. Its sharp rhythm spoke clearly of her fear. She suspected the news was coming. He’d been ill for months, they just hadn’t had the money to afford the medical fees. And then it happened; one sentence and her world collapsed. The doctor sluggishly entered the room avoiding her gaze. He sat down on the far side of the room, caught his breath and began to speak: “I’m afraid your husband has died”.
“What’s going to happen to my children?” Jacqueline asked the question in her mind over and over. She had no answers. Who was going to financially support Alecho, Othieno, Emmanual, Diana, Susan and 2-year-old Evelyne? She had no job, no training and nobody to care for the younger children.
The weeks and months after her husband’s death were extremely difficult. As her husband had died from AIDS, Jacqueline faced rejection from her in-laws, friends and community. The family became isolated and with no source of income, the children went hungry.
Jacqueline can clearly remember the day when her burdens were lifted. She has vivid memories of walking to St. Paul Kiwuliriza Church to register her daughter Diana into Compassion’s child sponsorship programme. The impact on the whole family has been remarkable.
The support from Diana’s sponsor is beyond anything Jacqueline anticipated. As well as education and food, she receives access to healthcare through the programme. “I will never forget one unfortunate incident when Diana got knocked by a car and she lost her tooth. Compassion covered all the medical bills and even replaced the lost tooth,” explains Jacqueline.
Thanks to a family gift from Diana’s sponsor, Jacqueline has been able to invest in a vegetable trading business. Through selling matooke, charcoal, cassava and potatoes she can now afford to feed her family and send her other children to school.
Above all, Jacqueline has found comfort and support from Compassion’s partner church St. Paul Kiwuliriza. Her gratitude is evident from the tears that fall as she explains, “Compassion became my relative when I had no relatives and my in-laws when my in-laws had abandoned me.”
Every day, millions of mothers like Jacqueline face the heartbreaking reality of not being able to provide for their children. Will you make a mother’s day this March? #MakeaMothersDay