A message from the CEO
Reports from our partners have poured in this summer, filled with stories of transformation and hope. I am thrilled to share a few of these stories with you in this latest issue of the iTeams Newsletter.
Around the office, we talk a lot about how empowering young leaders is built into iTeams’ DNA. Throughout my travels, I have realized that no matter where you go, you will find young leaders, and you can identify them by the spark of passion in their eyes.
Liam is a perfect example of that spark of passion. At just eight years old, he knew that he wanted to make a difference in the world. He started organizing fundraisers to help displaced children in South Sudan. I find his story personally inspiring. It serves as a great reminder that we all have something to contribute. When we share our compassion, it has the power to make a tangible difference for others. You can read more of his story below.
This summer, we have seen and heard about incredible transformations happening as a result of iTeams partnerships that your gifts support. When you give, you are helping extend God’s Kingdom by alleviating poverty for orphans, widows, and refugees. As you read this issue of our newsletter, please know that each story of hope was possible because of you.
On behalf of iTeams, our partners and volunteers, and every person we serve—thank you! We are deeply grateful for your support.
Neil Ostrander, CEO
Building Brighter Futures through Education
When we first met Maria de Los Angeles Mercedes, she was just 5 years old – an eager little girl marching proudly into her classroom to start grade one at the Lighthouse School.
Maria is from Los Alcarrizos: a city with a growing population of more than 320,000 people, most of whom live in poor conditions with little infrastructure. Due to extremely limited space in public schools, thousands of children like Maria have no access to education.
When Maria’s parents learned of the Lighthouse School, developed by Impact Dominican Republic and Juventud para Cristo (YFC), they were thrilled that their daughter could receive an education and a brighter future.
Each day before class, Maria could also rely on having a balanced breakfast through the breakfast program. Being well-nourished gave Maria the strength and energy she needed to succeed in school.
For 12 years, Maria worked hard at her studies, determined to make the most of this opportunity. She completed primary and secondary school, and graduated in the spring of 2019. She and three other students were honoured with an award for attending classes at our school from first grade straight through to graduation!
Over the last few years, Maria has completed four courses at our Vocational School. She aims to study and earn a degree in Pharmacy at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena (UNPHU). In the summer of 2019, she interned as a pharmaceutical assistant after finishing a pharmacy course.
We are very proud of Maria and looking forward to what God has prepared for her future!
How Young Liam is Making a Difference
Liam is 10 years old. He’s a shy, funny, compassionate child that feels deeply for others. Even at his young age, Liam has realized that he can make a positive difference in the world. He has decided to find creative ways to put his compassion for others into action.
It started in 2016, when Liam’s parents encouraged him to celebrate his birthday by donating to a good cause. As a family, they started researching charities, and that’s when they discovered Confident Children out of Conflict (CCC) and Impact South Sudan.
They learned that a civil war in South Sudan has caused 1 million people to flee their country, seeking safety in surrounding countries. Conflicts continue to dictate life for most South Sudanese people. Children are no exception. An estimated 50% of South Sudanese children lack nutrition, safety, and education.
Liam was especially moved when he thought about the impact the conflict was having on displaced children. He wanted to do his part to help. Instead of asking for birthday presents, Liam asked for donations to be given to CCC. Altogether, he raised $200. In an effort to add to the birthday donations, he also sold some of his favourite toys and books at his school.
Now that Liam has discovered the great joy of giving, he is continually brainstorming fundraising ideas. Last year, he had the idea to put on a fundraiser to cut and donate his hair in Kincardine, Ontario. He raised $355.
Liam’s amazing generosity is evidence of the heartfelt spirit of generosity that our community of donors share every day. And it’s making a big difference! Passionate supporters, young and old, are the heart of what we do at iTeams. We couldn’t do it without you!
Mulamuzi’s Story of Transformation
If you met young Mulamuzi Emma today, you might be surprised to learn that just a few years ago, he was living on the streets full-time, notorious for committing petty crimes.
At a very young age, Mulamuzi ran away from home. Without the care and support of his family, Mulamuzi had to fend for himself on the streets. Before long, he was spiraling out of control and needed help.
In March of 2016, he was enrolled in the Jinja Connection rehabilitation program. Jinja Connection provides education and shelter for full-time and part-time street kids. A key part of what Jinja Connection does is home tracing. Once the home situation has been assessed and approved, counselling with the family and child is carried out in preparation and anticipation of resettlement. Then a social worker travels with the child to make the (sometimes hours-long) trip to their home village.
Once Mulamuzi was welcomed into JC’s stable and welcoming community, he started to thrive. He became determined to turn his life around, and also realized that he wanted to return home. Through our tracing program, Mulamuzi was reconnected with his family. They were overjoyed to welcome their son back home.
Impact Uganda is thankful that another life has been transformed and this boy has been reunited with his family. Mulamuzi’s story is one example of so many children whose lives have changed, thanks to gifts like yours. Thank you!
We couldn’t do this global transformative work without your support.Donate