Tentmakers Academy in Uganda has a vision for growth

By November 14, 2007

Uganda (MNN) — Thriving in one of the
toughest districts of Kampala, Uganda, is a school that promotes both personal independence
and dependence on God. The Tentmakers Academy provides for the holistic and
educational needs of children and their parents through self-sustainability

Worldwide Christian
Emily Klooster explains that the school's namesake and driving force
comes from a passage in Acts 18:1-3.

"It refers to the
Apostle Paul's ministry. He sustained his ministry at Corinth by making tents.
Tentmakers Academy sustains their ministry by making jewelry," said Klooster. "So,
the children, the parents, and the teachers create their very own, unique
jewelry, which they sell on an international and national level to support the

Participation in a
bead-making project is a requirement of everyone who wants to attend the school.
This project generates just enough income to keep the school running, pay the
rent and provide a small salary to the teachers.

Tentmakers Academy
comes as a glowing light in a realm of darkness. Many in the Banda District of
Kampala, where the school is located, are plagued by HIV/AIDS. A major
contributing factor to the rampant spread of disease is alcoholism. Uganda was
ranked as the leading consumer of alcohol in 2005 by the World Health

Approximately 1 million
people were recorded living with AIDS in Uganda, according to another 2005
report by UNAIDS, a United Nations organization dedicated to fighting the

Kampala was one of the
highest risk areas in the country.

"The school's
neighborhood is packed with people and thousands of children," said Dale
Dieleman, Worldwide Christian School's field director for Africa. "Orphan
populations are high because of HIV/AIDS."

According to Moses
Muyingo, orphaned and neglected children often pick up the habits of
prostitution and alcoholism at a very young age. Muyingo formed Tentmakers
Ministries in 2004, the parent organization of Tentmakers Academy, to address
the needs of these children.

"These children need
attention in the form of love, care and compassion in their identities as
orphans, disabled, sexually abused, or abandoned," said Muyingo. "Each of these
categories is represented in our community today."

Psalm 23 is painted
upon one of the walls of the school, beginning with "The Lord is my Shepherd; I
shall lack nothing." This special passage brings hope to a generation of
depraved children as they find their needs satisfied and are taught to be a
"light unto the world."

Today, 135 children flood
the facility of Tentmakers Academy, and more wish to attend. The single
dilapidated block building consisting of three offices, an outdoor kitchen,
and makeshift classrooms isn't big enough to hold everyone.

"Every foot of the
property is being used for either teaching or feeding the children," said

Funds are needed to cover the costs of building
a new school to replace the facility they are currently leasing. Click here if you can help.


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