Edith's Story - in her own words

In 2000, God blessed me with a Son Derrick! Two days after Derrick's birth, His skin turned yellow. We took him to the hospital and he tested positive for Malaria. We were admitted in the hospital for three days, one month later, Derrick was all good. But in as time elapsed, my husband and i started realizing that Derrick wasn't growing as a normal child. Derrick had poor head control, he was very floppy,his eyes were not stable and he cried all the time. I took Derrick to see a pediotrition.
The pediotrition told us that Derrick had Meningitis,  which had infected him through the spinal cord to the brain and it damaged the brain. From this point Derrick started getting convulsions on and off. He had a breathing problem, we stayed in the hospital with Derrick hooked on to oxygen pipes for two months. This didn't stop, we frequently showed up in the hospital time after time. It was too hard for the life of Derrick, as well me and my husband. It was very hard for Derrick’s dad to accept that Derrick had got multiple disability. We tried different hospitals for more information.

After 2 years of suffering, we came to realize  that Derrick had got multiple disability. Many of our friends used to tell us that he was bewitched! We didn't give up on trying to find the right medications for Derrick, occuring in  hospitals for Derrick's exercises. After all this, we came to realize that we were not the only parents with such a child.  In this situation, lots and lots of friends and relatives  gave up on us. My husband’s side, it was seen as a curse for me to having given birth a disabled child.  My husband didn’t give up on me, we stayed strong as a family, we both continued to struggle.

In 2004 one of the organizations(Non Governmental) working with children with multiple disability started in our community, I took Derrick for the exercises. Doing this for the three months gave me an overview of what others people were going through. This charity organization (spring of hope) requested me to join and work with them (after noticing the experience I had and the love for the disabled child)!They wanted me to work in the community visiting parents who had children with disabilities encouraging and teaching them on how to do exercises with their children. I took the offer!
When I started working the community I found that many children with disability were abandoned and left in the villages with old grannies because they have disability on their body (parents don’t want to be seen with such children in the public so they give them to the old grannies in the villages to take care of them). Most of the children in the community were full of bed sours, very malnourished; they could even lock the children inside the house so die of hunger. It was really had for me to work with the grannies with such a load children because they could have much to do with the disabled kids considering the entire work load they had to get done and being that they were old people (aged).
This is how I started currying the burden according to what I had seen in the village, I started thinking so had and praying to God about this entire situation of taking care of such children were in the community. When I started praying about and thinking so hard about helping other children, I thought so had about taking care of other child and thinking how hard it would be to involve other kids. Because it was so had for my own child.  I prayed about it several times but I kept on denying about it.
In 2006 while I was praying about it, thinking of doing it , finding it hard to work with more than one child, in 2006 I had an accident while on my way to Kampala and I got a spinal cord fracture and pelvic fracture. I was admitted in the Jinja main hospital. The Doctors told me that I could not be able to walk anymore and that I would use a while chair but I could not believe in this. For a long time and I came to realize that I was being disobedient to to God and not obeying his call. I started again praying to go God to heal me so that I could start taking care of the disabled children after realizing and going through that situation which gave me an idea of how the disabled children feel. When I prayed to God, after six months I was able to move on walls and using crutches.
I shared it with one of my friends who were meeting my expenses in the hospital called Karina. I told her what God was telling me to do and I was just praying for the break through. She told me that she was going to visit with a her family from New Zealand. Which finally did happen, they came in June 2007. I took them around to see the children whom God was telling me to take care of and I was really in bad condition they were five disabled children. When they saw these kids they were so very touched, as a result they contributed money for the house rent, bought mattresses, bed sheets, as a family and that is how I started Home of Hope in 2007 July with Five children plus my son Derrick the sixth one.
Now as I speak, I am taking care of 26 children who were abandoned and neglected. We do community work still, to teach parents how to take of their children, give them free medications, do home visits, do outreaches and this has really helped parents to reduce on a abandoning their children. My future plan are is to set up an incoming generating activities to teach them some skills e.g. tailoring, I would also like to open up a school for the special needs children and empower them, support themselves and their children because I know from experience that their husbands keep on neglecting and abandoning them because of giving birth to children with disabilities.
Edith Lukabwe