Serving at a Babies' Home & Children's Prison

A special group of high schoolers traveled to Uganda with Samaritan’s Feet to serve together and had a one-of-a-kind experience. It was such a stirring, eye-opening trip that we wanted to share about two of the distributions this small but mighty team did, all from the team leader’s perspective.

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The Babies Home by the Nile River

The first distribution event was at Sonrise Babies Home. There are about 40 babies, infant to about five years old. Most of the babies have parents in prison or their parents are no longer alive. The Director of the home said she would get calls from the police when they found a baby on the side of the road or in a laundry basket. We took shoes for the staff and a bunch of small sizes for the babies who could fit in them, but we knew we wanted to spend time playing with the children. 

The Home is right on the Nile river, so when we were coordinating, the Director said the babies love to go down the river and play in the water. The babies all got changed into their swimsuits and lifejackets and waddled down the hill to the river. The line of babies waddling down was just so cute. We bought little toys from a shop in town and played with the kids in a really shallow area. It was just a really sweet time playing together.

We headed back to the Home to get the babies ready for their naps. The Home had prepared lunch for the team and after that we did a shoe distribution at the school nearby for about 500 kids. Some of the students were older girls who live in the Home and don’t have any family. Many of these girls were the same age as the team members, so that was really special for the high schoolers to serve them.

The Children’s Prison

There are about 180 boys in the prison and only nine of them go to school, meaning either their parents can afford to send them to school or they have some type of a sponsor that can afford their school fees. The rest, unfortunately, are idle every day. Even as our bus pulled up, many of the boys were just sitting on the ground. They told us that once per month, everyone gets to do some type of structured physical activity.

This is the only children’s prison in the country of Uganda, called a “rehabilitation center,” and kids are appointed to go there by the government for committing some type of crime, whether it’s theft, or more serious crimes. There’s a nearby facility that houses the girls, of which there are eight. The maximum sentence is three years, but each crime carries a different sentence so children are constantly being rotated in and out.

We had someone from Kataka Ministries, who teaches children’s gymnastics. So he spent almost an hour doing physical activities with them. He did a lot of acrobatic things and taught them how to do flips, cartwheels, and handstands. We got all the kids in a big circle and did games and brought jump ropes, soccer balls, and beach balls for everyone to play with.

They loved it. They got to have a little bit of fun.

We also ended up leaving several pairs of shoes at the prison because the Director let us know that 20 kids were on the bus on the way to the prison right then. 

Many of the boys spoke English and could communicate with our team. The boys would ask our team members “why are you here?” as they were receiving their new shoes. It was a really impactful distribution for the team.