Beyond the Cherish Gates
Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Charles leaves his desk, hops on his boda, and rides beyond the gates of Cherish Uganda and into the community.
At Cherish, there are many ways we try to serve the people in our community so that we are not an organization that share a location but does not share life with those around us. To help further our efforts of serving those beyond our gates, in January 2015, Charles began working at Cherish Uganda as the Community Social Worker. As an obvious extrovert and lover of people, Charles is thriving as a community liaison.
Cherish Primary School enrolls 219 students from the local villages and Charles spends 3 days out of the work week visiting, listening to, serving, and loving our students and their families. Charles not only knows the names of every parent and where they live, he knows their stories.
Charles used to walk from Cherish to our students' homes, allowing him to only see about 3 families a day. Thanks to Timberline Church in Fort Collins, Colorado, we were able to purchase a boda for Charles so that he can now visit 10 families a day instead of 3.
He sits, listens, plays, brainstorms, and empowers these people. He laughs with them, hurts with them, and shares in their joys. Our promise at Cherish Primary School is to serve the children that are the least likely to attend school otherwise. Our social work team reviews all applications, visits with families, and admits children based off their needs.
When you visit Cherish Primary School, you notice the joy on our school grounds. Our students are usually found in clean uniforms, with full tummies from our school snacks and lunch, laughing during play break, and with smiles beaming across their faces. You wouldn't be able to see the homes they come from or hear the wonderful stories of the work Charles is doing in those homes
- The 219 students come from 189 families
- 29+ of these families are HIV-positive; Charles checks on these families regularly to see how they are doing
- 3 of our students are the "head of the household"; Charles has helped connect kids like these to caregivers
- Charles has helped connect 16 families to local grant making organizations or find micro-financing loans to help them start small businesses such as selling clothes, creating small businesses, raising livestock, etc
- He has helped enroll 50+ children (typically the relatives of our students who share the same household) in other local schools
- We have helped rebuild and repair homes of our students that were unsafe to live in.
- If a child is missing school he goes to check on them.
Charles genuinely cares for the people he works with, so he loves his work because it's not a job to him, it's life. Sure it can be hard, but Charles does not get overwhelmed by the heavy stories he hears and struggles he sees. Instead, he chooses to be moved and motivated living true to his personal life mantra, "if you, yourself, cannot be touched, you cannot touch the lives of others."
So in and out of the office Charles runs, from his desk, to the classrooms, to the homes in the village so that our organization can serve and care for those beyond the Cherish Uganda gates. With his large hat and even larger smile, Charles always looks like he is on a mission, because he is; a mission to share love and change lives.
"We love because he first loved us" 1 John 4:19