I recently came across a simple, grassroots-style music video with a message so touching I had to pull a tissue out from my desk drawer. The buzz of the workplace surrounded me while the children of Amazing Grace Orphanage sang and danced on the lawns of where they now call home. After rooting around the orphanage’s website, I discovered it’s partner organization, Lahash International—an organization that I cannot walk away from.

Lahash International, a grassroots organization that engages in partnerships with Africa, went to the orphanage to film the video for the Amazing Grace Children’s Choir. Lahash—founded by the young and compassion-focused Dan Holcomb—is based in Portland, Oregon and helps facilitate provision and relief for those in desperate situations in East Africa. They need American support to make things happen.

Dan explained to me via email, "This support sometimes takes the shape of monetary support, but it always is in the broader context of deep long-term relationship. (For instance, all of the sex workers now are partnered with American email friends—developing hopefully long term relationships.) Another goal of mine is to see the hope, experiences and the faith of our brothers and sisters in East Africa begin to instruct us and inspire the local church here. I don’t want to be the arrogant Westerners who are dominating and dumping ideas and culture on the nationals. Instead, I want to follow in the steps of the Messiah’s life. He was a learner first (came as a child into a new culture) and a servant later in life (healed, talked with, listened, washed feet) and offered everything—to the point of death—to the people he loved. I want this to be our model at Lahash."

Countries Reached:

Uganda

Sudan

Kenya

Tanzania

Rwanda

Programs/Projects:

Amazing Grace Orphanage

St. Bartholomew Orphanage

Widows Fund

Lepers Fund

Renew (Sex Worker Recovery Program)

HIV/AIDS Counseling and Home Based Care

Child/Orphan Sponsorship

AIDS Orphan School

Project Spotlight:

What: Amazing Grace Orphanage

Where: Adjumani, Uganda

When: Founded in 1994

Who: Susan Abiku Tabia

Why: It sprung up when the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which initially cared for the orphans, faced political issues that resulted in the dismantling of the orphanage. The kids were left homeless until Susan decided to intervene.

How: She met teacher Ezbon Wudu who agreed to assist her in the creation of this project. When a college in France and some churches in the United States stepped up financially, they were able to buy land and create their first dorm.

Now: The orphanage houses an average of 30 children and currently farms young cows and chicken to help maintain self-sufficiency.

Needs: The orphanage at times gets dangerously low on food, the children need money in order to go to school, and the staff need increased monetary assistance as they pour most of their time and money into merely keeping the place up and running. With only 5 dorms, an office, kitchen and bathroom facilities, the orphanage is looking to expand.

Check out: Lahash International and Amazing Grace Orphanage

What you can do: Individually or corporately assist them in a more permanent donor relationship.

What if we lived simply and poured ourselves into the lives of others? Albert Camus once said, "When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter."

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