If you take a walk through Bethany Village in Uganda, you'll see kids swinging, hear students singing, smell fresh produce growing and feel joy stretching from ear to ear, disguising a difficult past.
"I grew up in the northern part of the country where war and the Lord's Resistance Army was so rampant," said Moses Okello, Bethany Village manager.
"We spent most of our time in the bush, hiding from the war and from people who [tried to] take away our lives because they were abducting children," Okello recalled.
"So my life was full of pain and frustration in childhood, but I had a determination knowing that the only way to escape was when I go through education," he said.
To the teachers, caregivers and managers like Moses, their jobs represent more than just an income: it's personal.
"The need is always too huge. So many of [the kids] are not in school," Okello said. "So many of them don't even have [something] to eat. So many of them have never seen shoes; they just see [shoes on] other people. They don't have it. They can't afford it. It's something impossible. All this gives me an inspiration for children because so many of my agemates never made it."
Africa Renewal Ministries currently sponsors over 350 children. Despite the large number, there are still a number of kids that need sponsorship.
Meeting the needs in a country engulfed by poverty requires more than just proper schooling.
"The big problem in Africa is leadership," said Kenneth Rwego, Africa Renewal Ministries Chief Executive Officer. "The vision of Africa Renewal Ministries is to raise a generation of leaders that will change Africa."
They carry out that vision by teaching children career skill sets then inspiring their communities to do the same.
"When people stop asking for handouts and they want people to equip them with skills," Rwego said. "Which can help them next year the other year and the other year."
The organization works to erase the scars of the past and provide hope for the future.
Birmingham based nonprofit (un)adopted supports Africa Renewal Ministries' work at Bethany Village by equipping them with resources and training.
Bethany Village cares for children ages 3 to 18 years old.
If you want to support (Un)Adopted their annual fundraiser, R(un) for One, takes place on August 16 at Veterans Park in Hoover.
For more information:
(un)adopted's website: http://unadopted.org/
(un)adopted's Twitter: @unadoptedchild
(un)adopted's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Unadopted/341287261912
Africa Renewal Ministries website: http://africarenewalministries.org/
Africa Renewal Ministries Twitter: @ARMUganda
Africa Renewal Ministries Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AfricaRenewalMinistries