When I first met Lydia in February of 2018, I couldn’t imagine the transformation in her life that would unfold over the next two years.  Even more, I couldn’t have anticipated the profound impact being part of the transformation would have on me.

Nakwanga Lydia was born in 1998.  After her parents divorced, her family broke down.  Tragically, her mother and father did not want to be part of her life, effectively abandoning her with her grandmother.  She attended school until Senior one (about 12 years old) and then stopped because her grandmother had no money for school fees.  As her life drifted without a real sense of purpose, she began to spend time with a boy from her school.  When she was 16, Lydia became pregnant with her first child, Rihana.  The father of her child continued his schooling while Lydia and Rihana stayed with her grandmother.

When Rihana was a year old, Lydia returned to the home of the boy, but his parents told her that he had died, and she should not come back again.  Lydia began to look for a way to make a life with her child.

Lydia met a man who proposed marriage and she agreed with her grandmother to accept the proposal.  Her marriage resulted in her moving to Bombo town.  She stayed with her husband for two years and gave birth to another daughter called Caroline.  Lydia thought that they were happy, but she didn’t realise that her husband was seeing another woman.  When she discovered the relationship, her husband made her leave the house with the children.

When my son Will and I visited Way of Salvation Primary school on the Highfield trip to Uganda, we fell in love with the amazing people we met.  We had sponsored children at the school for the past couple of years but meeting them and visiting their homes and families made an indelible impression on us.  The children in the school were a joy, and our sponsored children and their families made our support incredibly personal and meaningful.

It’s hard to imagine the impact the trip had on my son.  Most 10 year olds aren’t terribly aware of the challenges people face in the developing world.  Will was incredibly moved by what he experienced and one of his requests was to find another child to sponsor whilst we were at the school.

Pastor Robert helped us find a child that was in desperate need.  That is when we met Lydia and Rihana.

When we met Lydia, she was living in dire circumstances.  Her shelter was what could best be described as a hole.  It was literally a hole in the wall with no door and not much of a roof.  It was a tiny room where she and the girls were unprotected from everything.  They had a small basket of food and a few articles of clothing and one old dirty mattress.  It was, by far, the worst situation I had seen in my life as far as living conditions.  Lydia did not speak to Will and I, but she spoke quietly to Pastor Robert.

Recognizing that Lydia’s challenges were largely tied to her lack of economic support for her and her children, Robert asked Lydia if there was job training she would like to do.  He gave her a deadline of a couple of days.  He needed to make sure she was motivated and committed to changing her life.

Lydia was serious.  Together Robert and Lydia devised a plan for her to attend tailoring school at Don Bosco Vocational Training Centre in Bombo town.  Lydia and her children were moved into a secure flat in Bombo.

For our family, we recognized an opportunity to change the lives of three people that desperately needed support.  It was an easy decision.  We were able to fund her new apartment, her schooling, childcare, transportation, food, and supplies, for a very modest amount.

The transformation we witnessed over the next two years was nothing short of amazing.  I have been back to visit Lydia and her daughters several times.  My husband and younger son visited her and her children in February of 2020.  She now has her own tailoring business.  She lives in a secure location that provides a home for her children and a location to run her business.  She nows pays her own rent and covers her own costs.  Rihana is in top class and doing well at Way of Salvation.  Caroline will begin in baby class once schools re-open.

Lydia’s gratitude for our modest support is rewarding on it’s own.  In her own words, Lydia has said, “From the day you met me, through your support, you rented for me a house, you took me back to school, feed me and supporting for my child.  My life changed and now I live in a happy life.  Through the sponsorship I have managed to start a small business and I’m working now and happy in life.  Thanks so much for everything you did for me and for loving me.  May God bless you and provide you in everything”.

It would be simple to see this story for what it has meant to Lydia and her children.  But I am equally grateful for the way she has impacted my life.  Being part of her transformation has been transforming for me and my family.  The joy it has brought me to watch and be part of her journey means so much to me.  I feel honored and privileged to share our abundance with another human being.  Seeing Lydia now, she smiles.  Her children smile.  Lydia speaks to me and looks me in the eye.  I can’t think of a more amazing reward.


Written By:  Ginny Tracy

Date: April 25, 2020