Tara Henson

Serving in Uganda

Hi, my name is Tara Henson. I have been living in Jinja, Uganda since April 2021. The ministry that myself and my 4 Ugandan partners lead is working with street-connected children. Street children are homeless children, often as young as age 5 and can be as old as 25/26, who have either been chased away from their houses for various reasons or chose to leave their homes to live on the street for what they deem a better life. Some reasons for leaving that have been given to us by the children are abuse, step-parents kicking them out, alcoholic parents, too many kids in the home, their choice to leave because of defiance, etc, and death of family members/caretakers. When these children come to the streets they are introduced to alcohol, huffing fuel, and other drugs to become numb to their situations. Many of them are thieves, always begging and “borrowing”, fighting, and even killing to survive. They are the outcasts of the community. The police here are very corrupt and violent and often beat street kids, sometimes even to death, just because they’re street kids. The children are dirty, hungry, sick, and just trying to survive.

At our project, we welcome all street kids and show them the love of Christ above all. We try to teach them their worth and their value in Christ alone. We work on reconnecting with family if we can find them, and we disciple the children and train them through Bible studies, church services, medical care, counseling, housing, and education. We have a very strict program of rehabilitation where if we see positive change and true change we will help them get housing and jobs. We don’t want to just take someone to school to check a box, we want them to be ready and willing to go. We offer the ability for primary or secondary level schooling, vocational school or apprenticeships, seminary, and small business training.

As part of our program, we have also provided medical care for hundreds of street kids, surgeries for 15 in the almost 3 years I’ve been here, and dental care such as cleaning, tooth removal, and procedures. We have a dispensary at our project managed by a Ugandan nurse where we treat minor cases that do not need hospital visits.

The foundation of our organization is not to change the boys by our power, but by showing them that with God anything is possible. I have had one of the top police officers come to me and tell me that the violence has gone down so much and he can’t figure out why, which led me to tell him about Jesus and for him to give his life to Christ! It’s nothing that any of us are doing, it’s all God!

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