Our Founder and Director
Director Judi Haven Gentry lived in Kenya for a year in the 1970's and says she must have left a part of her heart there. She has never forgotten her experience, helping to save the Rothschilde giraffe from extinction and working closely with the Masai tribe there. She helped to send one of the Masai children to school. Now living in California, she was recently moved by the plight of African orphans, especially in Uganda. Civil war and the AIDS epidemic has decimated an entire generation... the parents. This has left approximately 1.5 million orphans who must be cared for by either a grandmother or an older sister or brother. These households often have little or no income and the children have no way to raise money for either food or school fees. This dire situation has resulted in orphans who must go through the town or city dump, searching for scraps of food. The girl children are often molested sexually or forced to marry at a very young age to survive.
In spite of the encouraging fact that there are now hundreds of projects doing their best to help Uganda, the need is overwhelming. Judi decided to do her small part to help. She founded Help Uganda Kids in 2009, and researched orphanages there that she would personally visit. Paying her own travel expenses (and armed with the $2000. donations that she, her daughter, and her grandchildren had raised) she left on her "Fact-finding, do-SOMETHING! trip" In her month-long journey, she visited three orphanages. One was the Message of Hope Home and Academy near iganga.
For part of the journey, she was joined by her daughter Christie and her grandson Jori, who at age 11, was determined to come to Africa too! All three had an amazing time.
Because her funds were limited, she decided to choose one project to help first. She decided to "adopt" the Message of Hope Home and School, as she realized that the founder, Ugandan Isaac Ouma had not only a big heart... but a great track record of responsibility and high accountability. Spending a week with the 35 wonderful children there, she assessed that they had the greatest immediate need. She also visited and provided a small bit of help to the other two orphan projects while she was there and hopes to do more as her organization grows. While in Uganda, Judi registered Help Uganda Kids as a CBO or Community Based Organization. She feels that her organization is unique in that it gives concerned people a way to know that every penny of their donation goes directly to the children, because she personally sees that it gets there... and is used for the purpose indicated. She found that when she donated to the large humanitarian organizations, she never really knew where her funds were gong. Now, when people donate to Help Uganda Kids, they receive photos of the children receiving food, shoes, clothes, and school books, directly provided by their donations. The children often write them letters of thanks.
Background of Message of Hope Ministries and Hope Home
Ugandan Isaac Innocent Ouma was deeply concerned with the drastic situation of the orphans in his country. He had become an orphan himself at age 19, and as the oldest of 7, he had to care for the family, with almost not resources. When he was older, he felt called to dedicate his life to helping some of the 2 million orphans in his area of Africa.
Raised with a strong faith, he enrolled in seminary training and dedicated himself to a life of service. Adopting several orphans himself, he set out in 2006 to do more.
Now, his organization, MOHM (Message of Hope Ministries) is dedicated to doing service in the various communities in Uganda. Isaac Ouma travels to different communities, doing AIDS and HIV education, women's training in trades such as tailoring, and locating families in dire need. In the last several years, he has brought 35 orphans to Hope Home and Academy, lifting these children from a life of despair, hunger and no future to one of hope, loving friendships and education. Hope Home and Academy is located in a small village near Iganga. It is situated on a beautiful site of 10 acres, which was donated some years ago by a concerned woman from Scotland. Hope Home and School is non-denominational and is open to all, as space becomes available. As a government registered NGO, MOHM has a record of accurate bookkeeping and excellent accountability.