How Can You Help?

Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.     (Matthew 25:40)
It is obvious to all that I am living in an area of the world where the needs of individuals is rather overwhelming. I am grateful for the letters from people who want to help, but just have no idea 'how' to do so. For those whose hearts ache at the pain and suffering in this part of the world, I would like you to understand that each person, no matter where they live, no matter their income, can make a difference. Pray about it and really make a difference in someone else's life. (Note:   Any costs listed here are US dollar equivalents.)

To be present when someone expresses a need which they personally cannot provide for, and to be able to contribute something to help them do so, is the heart of the scripture passage above. I am grateful that I have been in a position to help in some small way, those who have need.

It does not need to be of great expense. Many things that you throw away where you live, would provide much in the way of good use and in most cases, delight to someone living here. In my own case, it often is something that I have which I really do not need but someone else could use. Sometimes it is food that I have in my house, but which a neighbor does not. It can be one of the extra bottles of lotion that I am not using very much. Sometimes it is simply a matter of spending a few moments with someone. I've been deeply touched by surprise and delight in the eyes a dirty little street urchin when they are lovingly touched by a mzungu. All children need to be touched in love - and if not by a parent, then by someone. Families here are so large, and some children simply lack this type of affection after they are large enough to move around on their own.

I encourage you to use your imaginations!

  • Old clothes for children. Good useful clothing is needed for all ages. See this photo for a very graphic example.
  • Toys - for children of all ages. Soccer balls, frisbees, a fuzzy doll for a little girl... most any toy that is usable and in good condition would be of great fun for children who have none.
  • Dress patterns -- for adults and children. There are none in this country. Dress patterns are simply hand drawn lines on food sacks! See here for an example.
  • Old shoes - children outgrow shoes quickly and if they are still usable, then send them on. Most children here have no shoes and go barefooted.
  • BOOKS!!!
    • If your child has outgrown their children's books - consider putting a couple in a mailer envelope and sending them here. The cost would not be very high, and the benefit to the children here would be tremendous. This would encourage your children to become involved in ministering to other more needy children.
    • Bible stories for children to read, or to be read to children.
    • Bibles - the one most frequently used here is the "Good News Bible". But clergy need good Bibles, lay readers need good Bibles. All of the NGO projects need good Bibles for the people they serve to have access to.
    • Good theological books are needed not only at the diocesan library, but also at the divinity schools. There is an extreme lack of good theological material to read. Concordances are rare.
  • Bible movies - for all ages, but especially for children. Base Camp has obtained a DVD player (thanks to a kind donation) and is able to show DVD's to their children and they have asked me for good Bible stories. I have only a few - and some are really not appropriate for small children.
  • If you own a computer and can get on the internet, consider becoming a correspondent with a children's group here. I would love to serve as the intermediary and I know the children (on both sides of the world) would love to ask millions of questions and would be so very excited at receiving replies. This would be a way of 'making contact' with another culture.
It isn't so much about doing a lot for many - but doing a little for one person at a time.
  • A donation of $50 would purchase a sewing machine for use by the Base Camp training center. Currently they only have one machine and there are many women who need to learn on this and they need more machines.
  • About $5 US for a dinner which includes meat (beef or goat) and fresh vegetables for a family of 5-6, whose children have asked their parents when can they have something other than 'beans and posho' (posho is a millet gruel, and the beans are simply boiled) that they have had to eat for three weeks - morning, noon and night, when there is food enough to have that many meals a day.
  • $10 to help the parent help pay for the hospital bill of a sick child. This helps the parent, but also helps the hospital, for hospitals cannot remain open if they do not receive income to defray expenses. Nothing in this world is free!!! Someone always has to pay for it. Here in Uganda, people who have no money cannot go to the hospital unless they can pay for care! They simply do not go when they do not have money. They often times simply die. Children die because their parents cannot afford to take them to a doctor.
  • $10 to purchase fuel for someone to go to see a sick relative in the hospital many miles away.
  • $5-20 - to help a family with no money go to bury a relative up in the mountains.
  • The price of about $2 to help someone buy the medicine they need for treatment of malaria.
  • At a cost of $16 a month, we could provide milk for a person who has ulcers secondary to repeated medication for malaria - this provides a coating for the stomach which cuts down on the symptoms of ulcers in a diet that does little to prevent acid formation in the stomach. This is a long term need though - a case of 24 half-pint containers of milk costs about $8.
  • $30 would purchase two bags of cement and would put concrete flooring in one room of a house. Two more bags of cement would plaster the walls in the same room. For $500 US, one could build a four room house with galvanized roofing. The walls and floor would be unfinished, but this is healthier than living in a grass-thatched hut. Many of the elderly and widows are forced to live in this manner.
  • $20 will purchase a piglet, which can then grow and produce more - for income.
  • $35 will purchase a goat - and if it is a female, can provide long-lasting income for a family, along with milk for the children. $70 would purchase a male and a female goat, which would then provide continued income for a family, or small group of families.

Friday is beggar's day in Kasese. This is one day a week when beggars know that they will be able to receive funds if they beg. All citizens carry extra money when they go to town on Fridays.

Many people here have been injured in the wars, and some have stepped on old, buried land-mines and have lost limbs. There is one man who literally rolls down the street because he is so severely disabled. I always give a one-legged woman walking on a home-made crutch 500-1000 shillings (25-50 cents) - if she gets enough of these, she can buy food for herself. She cannot speak English and has absolutely no training, and no one to care for her or train her. The severely disabled have no means of support other than begging. There are far too many of these 'invisible' people all around the world!

There list could be endless, however, it isn't always about money. Sometimes it is just about taking a few moments to show someone that they are important in your eyes - for they surely are important in God's eyes. Look at the world with the eyes of Christ!


If you wish to donate money, I have set up a special bank account in the USA, into which you may deposit money to be withdrawn in Uganda. I will send account information if you contact me by email.

Shipping address:

Mimi Burbank
c/o B.U.F.O.
P.O. Box 364
Kasese, Uganda