“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’Matthew 25:40 NIV
One day while talking to Patrick (a parent on death row) ,he said that “ When I was sentenced to death in 2002, my boy Brian was two years old, my daughter was six months in her mother’s womb, I lost all the hope of ever seeing them .Even their mother lost hope that I would be released, so she abandoned these children and Brian at four years was left under the care of my sister and my daughter at one year and six months was left under the care of my mother in the village.”
It is under such circumstances that many children of prisoners will find themselves in and are not be able to tell their birthdays because the parent is in prison. 70% of the children of prisoners under our care do not know their birthday, and do not know that Birthdays are celebrated. When we ask their guardians or their parents in prison, they cannot also tell, sometimes they will just estimate depending on the time and season of what was going on at that time when the child was born.
Claire is 10 years now, her father was imprisoned when she was still in her mothers womb and when she was about 6 months old, her mother dumped her and left her under the care of her grandmother.
Children of prisoners are at a great risk if their birth dates are known , in Uganda it means it will be difficult to tell if they meet the age of consent and/or criminal responsibility and as such they are highly vulnerable to sexual abuse , child labor , and many other risks associated with that .
To arrive at their birthdays, we ask their guardians or their parents in prison and in cases where neither the guardian nor the parent in prison cannot tell the birth date, then we match these children so that they share a birth date with one of our partners/friends.We would ask our friends if they can share their Birthday with any of our children with unknown birth dates
Lillian 16 is one of the children whose birthdays we celebrated yesterday. In 2010 when I asked her how old she was, Lillian told me that she was as old as the number of years her mother has spent in prison.
Yesterday the children whose birthdays we honored, were so happy that we recognized them, you could see that they have a belonging, because Wells of Hope is now a family to these children.
Celebrating Children’s Birthdays is a growing culture in Uganda mainly in the urban areas, but to Children of prisoners it is more than celebrating the birthday.
Since Children of prisoners come from a violent ,abusive background and most of these children have a low self-esteem, By honoring their Birthdays their esteem is boosted and they begin to realize that they are special.Its one of those things we do for these children to show them the love of Jesus
Because A Parent is in prison and cannot celebrate a child’s birthday, or even to tell their children when they were born and even to buy them a gift, Wells of Hope stands in that gap and celebrate their birthday. Thank you for making this happen for children with a parent prison.
Francis Ssuubi - Executive Director and Founder (Wells of Hope Ministries)
We appreciate your prayers and support to save children of prisoners from unspeakable poverty and despair . Would you wish to be apart of this work,please do not hesitate to contact me directly.Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org