When Arnold was growing up, he couldn’t even imagine going to school. He barely had enough food to make it through every day.
His single mother raised him and his sister in Uganda in a two-room house. His mother worked hard for little pay which was used to feed them when she could. But there wasn’t money for them to go to school.
Arnold wanted to go to school so badly. It seemed impossible, but then he became part of Children of the Nations and he was able to start going to school for the first time.
“My life before Children of the Nations was unpredictable because we were struggling,” he says.
As Arnold grew up, he was a natural leader in school. Ever since grade five, he remembers encouraging others and being involved in school as a leader.
“I tried my best to perform my role as a leader and also engaged myself in counseling sessions with most students who were my peers,” he says.
He then went to secondary school where Arnold remembers the mentors and staff encouraging him and helping him to never give up. The advice and hope staff gave to him as he grew up is what “makes them my heroes,” he said.
Thousands of miles away in Seattle, Arnold had even more people on his team cheering him on.
Since 2011, he has been sponsored by a couple—Tyler and Jenn. Through their sponsorship, they’ve watched Arnold grow up and even got to meet him in Uganda in 2012!
Tyler and Jenn with Arnold (in green on the far right) in Uganda in 2012.
“Meeting him physically, hearing his story, his dream of wanting to be an engineer was incredible,” Tyler said.
Tyler felt called to sponsor a child in Uganda because of his previous work advocating with organizations in similar areas and learning about the conflict there.
One of Tyler’s favorite parts about sponsoring Arnold is just getting the chance to know him.
“You have this relationship and you connect with them and you want them to succeed,” he says.
After sponsoring Arnold, Tyler and Jenn started having kids of their own. Now, their two kids have been able to connect with him, write him letters, and get to know him.
Writing letters to people is like a “physical manifestation of love,” Tyler says.
“They can hold onto the letter. If they have a hard day, they can look at that and be reminded that somebody loves them,” he says.
Arnold feels similarly about his sponsors and enjoys connecting with them through letter writing.
“My relationship with my sponsors is really great because I love them so much and I am always happy when I get to hear from them,” says Arnold. “I always write letters to them whenever I get a chance to and also hear from them often.”
Arnold says he keeps them in his prayers and that he is thankful God put them in his life for a specific purpose.
“It’s really been a beautiful thing to be a part of and feel like you’re actually making a difference in someone’s life,” said Tyler.
Fast forward to today, and Arnold is a 20-year-old who just started his first year at Gulu University in Uganda. He’s studying for a Bachelor’s degree in computer science. An incredible accomplishment for someone who grew up the way he did.
“I never expected to have reached this point of life if it was not for Children of the Nations,” said Arnold.
That’s what child sponsorship does. It helps raise young people like Arnold up out of poverty so they can become a generation of leaders.
“They have hope and they have education and they have a future and [sponsorship] allows them to continue to dream and lead and truly make an impact in their community,” said Tyler.
At age 20, Arnold is already a role model for his community, inspiring other young boys with his story. With his remarkable story, others can see what's possible and start dreaming new dreams for their lives. We are so excited to see where Arnold's future takes him!
When you sponsor a child, you invest in their future by providing access to clean water, food, education, medical care, and more. Sponsorship can help completely change the life of a child just like Arnold.
You can change a life! Sponsor a child today.