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A Breakthrough Season

29th Nov 2023

“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today, will never be seen again” Exodus 14:13

A Little Love Letter to Our Readers

Our family have recently moved. We had been living in an old 1905 Victorian House which was stunning but required constant work. The move took an exceptionally long time due to legal complications in the chain, and was made unbearable by our buyers who had frequent tantrums!  Once we finally got the call that the sale had gone through, we immediately walked out of the front door and not one of us looked back.

As we settled in our new home, my husband suddenly asked whether our buyers could “change their mind”. It was a horrible, exhausted thought as we imagined the buyers storming the estate agents the next day demanding a refund. Of course, whatever noises they made, those documents were signed, sealed and very final.

The experience reminded me of the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt. After Pharoah released them from slavery he “changes his mind” and sends everything he has to retrieve them. I can only imagine the terror they must have felt seeing the army pursuing them. But God had released them, and no matter what it looked like in the physical, no noise, no army, could take the breakthrough God had given them.

In our last newsletter, I shared about the Lord bringing beauty from ashes and we share testimonials of families walking from brokenness into healing which is facilitated through our work.

This journey though is rarely one straight road! Sometimes as people we can experience setbacks to getting to where we are heading.  These can make us want to turn back, or simply despair and question whether we have made any progress at all.

When these situations happen in our house we remind each other “it’s not real”. The “noises” cannot take from us what God has given us. Instead it is these moments that tell you breakthrough is literally just around the corner.

As always, we will be there with you on the journey, through the highs and lows, until we can celebrate breakthrough on the other side…. Love Biojemmss x

Development Plans - Update

April 2023-March 2024

In our latest newsletter, we provided details about our exciting development plans for our land and how YOU can be part of this project. For those of you who missed it, here is a little summary and an update on our current funding position.

Biojemmss owns a 6.9 acre piece of land in Kitaziguruka, Rukungiri District and is developing the facilities we need to create our forever home, and make room for more children to benefit from our support. This is desperately needed as our current rental premises are too small to meet growing demand, and do not have the facilities we need.

Biojemmss already has children on waiting lists that meet our high-risk criteria, and children attending our rental office daily sharing of their suffering.

We established a Four Stage Plan for the first 12 months of this construction project (details of the four stages were provided in our previous newsletter).

Our current priority is Stage Two which is to build our water system.

The designed water system will provide safe water for our crops and livestock, along with our sanitation system and providing the water needed for domestic chores, cooking, and drinking water for the 1450 individuals who will attend the new premises per month for our programmes and wider support. Once we have established our water system, and later toilets, we will also be able to re-launch our annual children’s camps.

The proposed water system will also provide safe water access to several communities including Marumba B, Marumba C, Kafunjo and Kararuka Villages. Currently the community uses a water pump in the local school grounds for their household use. This often breaks down with regular use and is frequently closed for repairs including during the long holiday periods. This means that community members have to get up early in the morning to walk more than a two-kilometre hilly walk to collect water from dirty streams.

It is often children who walk unaccompanied to collect water. During these times there is an increase in the cases of abuse, rape and gender-based violence reported.

A comprehensive water system will cost us £12,932 to cover preliminaries, hydrology survey, borehole construction, pump installation, the tank stands, and transmission and distribution systems across the land.

We have already successfully raised £3275 towards this total, though need another push to be able to make safe, running water a reality.

We have created the Make Room Appeal for stage 2 and the development of safe water.

If you would like to invest in this venture, and the children of Uganda, please click on the make room appeal link below. Your giving will make such a difference to us and to thousands of children accessing our support.

We have recently changed our funding platform to Lovegiving (associated with ExpensePlus accounting system) due to some issues donors were having when donating slightly larger amounts with our previous provider. Lovegiving is able to receive gifts from within and outside the UK, and UK tax payers are able to ensure their donation is gift aided. 

60 Plus Families 

Biojemmss is currently supporting over 60 families with intensive input designed to get children out of abuse and exploitation, and into freedom for them and their entire families. We work with the most vulnerable children in the district, and have beneficiaries spanning over 50% of the administrative area.

Our plan is always to Rescue children, Restore them and their families, and Release them into long-term freedom and independence. This looks like children being safe from abuse and exploitation, and where their caregivers are able to provide them with their basic needs. Our initiatives provide families with a range of emotional, practical, and educational support to make meaningful changes, and to build a network of support which outlasts our own interventions. 

One of the ways in which we achieve the second part of our goal is to help families start a small livestock business. 

Biojemmss has been delighted with several new additions to our livestock numbers. The new adult ones we purchased in May were of improved breed, and therefore produce an increased number of offspring. One of our pigs recently delivered 9 piglets! We have also four goats that are expected to deliver in the coming months. We have a vet on hand who visits regularly for vaccinations, and we provide the animals a consistent feeding and care programme. This regime includes regular swims in our little swamp (ah, its a pig’s life!). We have recently delivered another round of our farming course training and have been able to distribute animals to two awaiting families in October. This makes a total of 24 piglets and 2 goats donated to families so far! 

We would like to say a special thank you to our regular givers, and also those who gave towards the pig and goat projects earlier this year who have made this so possible!

Shipments to Uganda

In October, Biojemmss sent a fourth shipment of clothes, shoes and toys out to Uganda thanks to the generosity of our supporters who responded to our emergency appeal in 2022, and those who have continued to give in kind towards this need. This shipment will soon be arriving! We have already received the three earlier shipments, and the items have been distributed to the children in most desperate need. We have also sorted and stored some in preparation for the next 6 months of work as we continue to receive families in crisis through our doors.

Thank you again to those who responded to the call!

Biojemmss Stories

"Family is not about blood. It is about who is willing to hold your hand when you need it most"

We have recently started a little series on social media telling some of our best Biojemmss Stories. In this one, we share of the bond between Mukasa and Trust who grew up together in Biojemmss.  

In the bottom right picture Trust and Mukasa stand chatting at Trust's secondary school. Mukasa took time out from his job in Kampala to go and visit Trust for parent's day along with Biojemmss staff.

It seems just yesterday that they were both babies. The one of Trust in the bottom corner was his first day in Biojemmss when he was about 4! He arrived wearing torn and dirty clothes. His skin was badly infected, and he did not smile or say a word. He wears clothes that were given by a donor who had a son the same age.

The top right photo is of Mukasa when he was just 10. Mukasa had been living on the street just a year before. He was shy and could frequently be found clambering in the trees looking for jackfruit!

The top right picture was taken in Mukasa’s bedroom at Biojemmss. It was the first time any of us had seen Trust laugh! We soon learnt he was an incredibly witty and intelligent little boy!

We cannot help but gush!

Thank you for standing with us and being family to us, so that they have an opportunity to call each other brothers.

Creative Initiatives

“Do not let what you cannot do, tear from your hands what you can”

African Proverb

One of the little known facts about Biojemmss is that we create and deliver a number of creative initiatives to empower and generate opportunities for the people we support.

Did you know that Biojemmss has a land loaning scheme where we lease out parts of our unused land to local people in need to enable them to grow crops and provide for their children? This is loaned to families without charge, however they frequently gift Biojemmss potato leaves for our lovely pigs, and sweet potatoes for our children at home, as a thank you.

Child-Headed Households

Biojemmss has continued to be moved by the increasing number of child-headed households in Rukungiri District. Many of these have come to our attention through our prison ministry, with our staff supporting over 58 children alone under this ministry in 2023. These children are particularly vulnerable, especially to abuse and exploitation.

Here are the two most recent stories:

The eldest *Robert* dropped out of school at 14 to look after his younger siblings when his mother was incarcerated. The others also left school shortly after without school fees. In the picture, you see him washing clothes without soap as they cannot afford it. The social workers (JB and Sandra) entered the home together to understand what day-to-day life was like for them, and to see where Biojemmss needed to help. The children are extremely vulnerable to exploitation including child labour and sexual abuse.

Phiona our social worker met the mother, aged 32, during one of her regular prison visits. The mother explained that she had to leave her children at home alone as she had no one to look after them. She is frightened for them and what will happen to her. She informed Phiona that she was remanded for “child torture”. A child in the neighbourhood uprooted her potato garden and she hit him. The family reported her to the police and she was unable to pay the initial charges and was remanded. The children at home are surviving by engaging in child labour, and her eldest has become known as “water boy” in the local community as he fetches water.

Biojemmss is keen to get alongside these families, and provide needed support. They are on the waiting list as priority for when resources become available through our Christmas Appeal.