Partners in Hope is an invitation for you to consider partnering with us, by regular monthly giving, in our commitment to walk with them on their long road of recovery.
Not the Red Sea, but the Blue Ocean
The late Mark Avola, our previous director, who had worked with ex-child soldiers for over fifteen years, was adamant about their need for long-term care. He used to say:
“There are two kinds of projects that come to us here in Northern Uganda. One kind are those that look for easy victories with good news stories to send back to donors. These swim in the Red Sea. Here there are many avenues for funding and much noise is made about achievements.
Then there are those that work towards long-term goals. These swim in a Blue Ocean where there is little competition because few journey there. Third Hope Africa is one of these long-term projects and it is towards these that many of us are looking for the true hope for our people.”
Mark (pictured right) worked with us at Third Hope Africa for three years before he tragically died in 2015. We are thankful for the wisdom he left us as a legacy
Working for the Long-Term
The work of Third Hope Africa is a specialised one. The trauma that ex-child soldiers have experienced is without precedent in world history. Indeed, it is only with the introduction of lightweight machine guns and hand grenades, that this tragic phenomenon has become possible. Small children, as young as 7 and 8 years old, are systematically dehumanised through brutal initiation rites by rebel armies and then sent into the thick of battle as an expendable ‘weapon system’.
Third Hope Africa works exclusively with ex-child soldiers in Northern Uganda. All our trainees, as children, were abducted in this way, and therefore suffer traumas that are complex and nuanced. Most are now young adults or older, as the LRA first began abducting children in the 1990s.
Each one is different. Each has their own history, and needs help to move towards realising their hopes and aspirations. We are seeking those who could help us support their long-term rehabilitation by becoming ‘Partners in Hope’.
Sharing in Suffering
Third Hope’s work is to help ex-child soldiers face the pain of their experiences, believing that the human heart has a God-given capacity to heal, through the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. Because of this, we hope to empower ex-child soldiers to move beyond their traumatic past and become emissaries of this hope to others.
We are, therefore, looking for partners who understand the long-term nature of this challenge and are prepared to stand with us as ‘Partners in Hope’. A commitment, born not out of ‘project goals’ but out of ‘people’s needs’.
Planting a Tree
Most ex-child soldiers have access to family land and we saw that sustainable farming was key to food security, family health, nutrition and income generation. As in many postconflict zones, most of the trees had been cut down for building, selling or making charcoal. To redress this, we embarked on a large tree-planting programme and implemented natural regenerative farming methods that have begun to reverse the damaging effects of local slash-and-burn practices which had seriously degraded the soil, causing low yields and driving urban migration.
Healing the Soil and Healing the Soul
The healing of the soil is, in profound ways, a mirror to the healing of the soul and we recognise that the facing of their future must also involve the facing of their past. Therefore, woven through the fabric of this programme is a rhythm of ongoing trauma counselling. We have already seen how this teaching is bringing healing and promoting honest dialogue with the local community, leading to greater reintegration and trust.
The Trainees Become the Trainers
Our trainees are encouraged to pass on what they have learned by leading groups in the local community, boosting their self-esteem and reversing the stigmatisation they experienced as ex-child soldiers.Throughout this time, other strands of healing are woven into their training, including classes in literacy and numeracy essential to the setting up of enterprises and making them attractive to local employers.
The ultimate aim is to set ex-child soldiers on their own road to self-awareness, transforming patterns of thought and practice that will point them towards a lifetime of ongoing recovery, restoring dignity and empowering them to become agents of forgiveness and reconciliation in this post-war community.
Partners in Hope
Given the difficulties of securing support for such long-term projects, we humbly ask that you consider travelling with us on this journey through the ‘Blue Ocean’.
Through a commitment to regular donations, you can help us establish a solid foundation on which to build and plan for the long-term.
Building a Firm Foundation
The cost of running the project is around £70,000 per year. Nearly 20% of this is currently covered by monthly contributions.
We are inviting you to become Partners in Hope to help reach our goal of covering 50% of our annual running costs through regular monthly donations.
You can become a partner by filling out the adjacent direct debit form or you can setup a Direct Debit using the details below.
Account name: Third Hope
Account number: 39813304
Sort Code: 60 00 08