At-risk girls in Uganda meet with the love of a mother’s heart

By May 19, 2011

Uganda (MNN) — Uganda has been
fighting an uphill battle over human trafficking.

Rape, poverty and abuse in the homes has often combined to create a high population of at-risk
children. Ten years ago, AMG
saw the needs of these children and started several response
programs that provided spiritual development, education, medical and health
care, advocacy, self-help, family outreach and counseling.

Despite the sponsorship programs,
the Child Development Centers, and many other programs geared for the children
in Uganda, there emerged a new problem that no one had an answer for. Three years ago, Florence Musiime, wife of
AMG Uganda director, Reuben Mussime, saw the plight of the girls who dropped
out of school.

For many of these girls, the
stressors at home were too much to compete with. The sexual exploitation that Ugandan
teenage girls face stole their futures. Some of these girls were the age of the Mussimes own daughters, and their
situation tugged at her mother's heart.  Florence established a ministry to teenage girls called the Dorcas Ministry,
an AMG mentoring program.

Why "Dorcas?" Florence explains, "In Acts 9:36, there was a
lady who was called Dorcas. She had a ministry
for orphans, for the widows, and that's how I came to the name: to be there for
the girls."

At-risk teenage girls need more
than just a program. They need a
friend. "As they grow older, they need one-on-one discipleship, and that's why
each one of us is encouraged to have two or three girls to disciple. It's part of a mentoring program; we want
to get to know these girls."

The Ugandan Education System has
a quirk in it that works against girls who drop out in primary school, explains
Musiime. "Once these girls make a 'mistake' along the
way and get pregnant, they miss their chance of continuing
with their education. Yet, for boys, they can always come back and continue
with their education."   

The idea behind discipleship and
mentoring is providing a godly listening ear and someone a girl can go to for
help. Every girl aged 13 or older who
is enrolled in an AMG CDC or sponsorship program is a part of the Dorcas
Ministry. Every female staff member is, too.

However, once they age out of AMG's
secondary school sponsorship, the cost to sponsor college students goes up  considerably. Two years ago, Dorcas Ministry
took on two girls–also members of Dorcas–who were college-bound. Their
reason: "We are doing this so those two girls can be an example, can be a role
model to those younger girls. They can tell them that they can still make it although life at home is very hard. They CAN make it." Many times, sponsored students who graduate
from college also return to the organization that helped them achieve their

Musiime saw that even though the
children were covered, they needed to include the mothers in the mentoring/discipleship
process. So, they expanded a branch to them. Dorcas team members hold seminars and
report enthusiastic participation with the mothers. Often they teach classes on family planning, parenting, and business opportunities.  

As they saw the program with
mothers grow, they also saw special needs. With the help of AMG, Dorcas teams constructed two homes for needy
widows. Musiime says last week, she
stopped by to see how the woman and her children were doing. In the course of conversation, Musiime
shared the Gospel with the widow, and she accepted the Lord. 

That's the end goal. "Whatever we do with AMG, we share the love
of Christ with these mothers and daughters. My desire is to see more mothers
giving their lives to the Lord. Secondly, I would like to see these girls
continue and finishing education, getting jobs, getting families. Thirdly, I would
like to open an office for AMG Dorcas Ministry in Uganda."

In the Bible, Dorcas is specifically called a disciple of God. She is one of the only ones who is viewed as
actively spreading the word of Christ, though in a quiet way, through her
charitable deeds.

Like its namesake, the Dorcas
Ministry shares the love of Christ with more than 500 girls who are part of this
AMG outreach. Because of its rapid growth, there are
financial challenges. Click here for more ways
you can help.

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