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The power and potential of educating girls

Around the world, over 70 million children who should be in school are not. Half of those are girls. And half of those girls live in sub-Saharan Africa. Why, you ask, are they not in school? Some are working in fields & on farms. Some are walking long distances to fetch clean water for their families. Others are sold into the sex trade. Some drop out from childhood pregnancy or arranged marriages. The list, though uncomfortable, is not uncontrollable…there are girls making strides everyday to change the face of their generation, their legacy, and their communities. Passion Partners is privileged to walk alongside 32 of these girls at the Wakiso Restoration Home in Uganda, who just started a new school year in January. However, it was just months earlier, many of these girls, like the 35 million referenced above, had their education interrupted or halted all together. While public education in Uganda is technically “free,” students’ families are required to purchase books, uniforms, pay examination fees, and other mandatory expenses. They are, otherwise, not allowed to attend school. For most of us school supplies and clothes are just part of the annual, “back to school” routine. You can imagine for many families with little to no money to spare, managing to fund their child’s primary education, let alone, secondary education (when the...

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Help = Hope

com·mu·ni·ty /kəˈmyo͞onitē/ Noun 2. All the people living in a particular area or place. de·vel·op·ment /diˈveləpmənt/ Noun 1. The process of developing or being developed. 2. A specified state of growth or advancement. “May God Almighty bless you & make you fruitful…until you become a community of peoples.” Genesis 28:3 The last 2 years at Passion Partners has been spent uncovering exactly where God wants us to work, with whom He would have us work, and exactly what that work would entail. And though some of the details are still being uncovered, the big picture is this: Passion Partners is building communities-literally. The manifestation of the mission of Passion Partners is, at the core, Community Development. Practically speaking, we bring relief such as clean water & food, in the short-term, in order to equip those whom we are serving for the long-haul of community development which includes health care, child & maternal health and education (among other elements). At Passion Partners, the practical development of a “community” is the means to a greater end. Our goal is not just to build communities whereby we measure outcomes and more individuals survive, but because they uncover their God given role and purpose, they thrive. “I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you a hope & a future.” Jer 29:11 Sometimes, Hope begins...

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The faces of community development

ru·ral : adjective ˈrur-əl of or relating to the country, country life, or agriculture Many of you, especially some of our hometown friends from Tennessee, may know what it’s like to live out in the country. Rural life in America often entails driving 30 minutes to get to the grocery store, living in a house you can’t see from the road, and having the pizza man tell you you’re too far out for them to deliver. (I can attest from personal experience, this is heartbreaking news.) In East Africa, however, rural life means something very different.  One of our primary projects in Kenya, the Siaya Community Development Initiative, which includes the Ashburn Ohuru Medical Clinic & Usingo Primary School, are located in a rural region of the Nyanza Province. The Nyanza Province is one of the most impoverished areas of the country, with nearly two-thirds of the population living on less than $1 a day. The area in which our community development initiative is located, the Siaya District, is one of the poorest in the province. Needless to say, the need is great. We all know that wrapping our minds around faceless statistics can be difficult, but they do plainly expose areas of need. And we at Passion Partners believe that in order to address the need, you’ve got to know the...

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Pajamas…and other things taken for granted

Whenever possible, I like to share with you emails and messages we receive from our partners in Africa. Walking alongside these men & women, laboring with them for the Kingdom, and celebrating what God is doing in their ministries is big part of my day-to-day work. I know…tough job, right? I hear from them almost every day, if not by Skype, then by email. And everyday, I’m challenged and encouraged by their perspectives on life and ministry. Their words, so refreshingly authentic and humble, often convey much more than we can about the impact of our projects. So, I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – they’re just too good not to share. Here’s a recent email Candice and I received from our Kampala Director, Fred Kaddu. The “shopping” he’s referring to was done for our newest girls moving into the Restoration Home. We wanted them all to have a fresh pair of PJ’s to celebrate moving into their new home. A relatively small thing for us, but as Fred reminded us, no small thing for them. Gratefully, Allie  (Strategic Development & Project Manager – Africa)

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2012: A look back

26 local people employed as Passion Partners extended staff in Kenya & Uganda Over 48,800 miles traveled by domestic staff visiting African partners on site Within 4 months of opening, 3,000 cases treated at Ohuru Medical Clinic 18,000 people given access to clean water through 3 well projects Over 500 girls achieved app. 13,500 more days of learning through feminine product distribution 180 families in Kibera slums received life-sustaining food School renovation underway to launch feeding program for over 400 children in 2013 42 girls to receive food, shelter, and education as residents of Wakiso Girls Restoration Home “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”  Eph 3:20

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Letters from home

  In late November, 17 girls moved into a new home. But not just any girls, and not just any home. Girls who, before joining “Restoration”, as they call it, yearned for safety, security, and provision–things they have not known in the past. But now, they have a new place to call home, where the aspiration everyday is to ensure they are well-loved, cared for, provided for, listened to…restored. We’ve been hearing just how much they are enjoying and adjusting to life in the new Restoration Home. Their favorite things? Three certain meals a day . . . Water–clean water, that is just steps away . . . And having their very own bed. I thought their words were too redemptive not to share with you, so here a couple “letters from home…” From Winnie: From Agnes:   Want to see more of the home and the girls? Check out our Restoration Home albums on Passion Partners facebook page! * testimonies have been shared with consent of the girls.  

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Snapshots from Uganda

We had been so anxious for months to lay our eyes on the work that God was doing among our partners in Uganda. We knew that pictures just weren’t quite doing it justice and couldn’t wait to see it ourselves. Over the past several years, our partners in Kampala, Fred Kaddu and Wakiso Baptist Church, have been oh so faithful and committed to the vision of a full-scale Restoration Home for girls. And on November 10th, that vision became a physical reality, as Passion Partners officially opened the Wakiso Girls Restoration Home. Being present at the Dedication Ceremony was certainly a highlight of our trip…I can only describe it as a day of sheer joy and celebration over what this house will mean to this community and especially to the 42 girls who will call it “home.” Another milestone for Passion Partners took place during our trip, as the Jitambue Purity Project (a program originally started by our partners in Kenya) formally launched in high schools in Kampala. And what an honor for our team to be able to attend one of the first meetings of the project at Onwards & Upwards High School in Wakiso. The project will begin with 200 girls in four different schools, who will receive the truth of God’s word about their value & their purity, education...

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Passion Partners: defined

di-‘fīn v. 1. to determine or identify the essential qualities; 2. to discover and set forth the meaning; 3. to fix or mark the limits of: demarcate; 4. to make distinct, clear, or detailed ; 5. to explain or identify the nature or essential qualities of pӑsh-‘ən n. 1. a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept; 2. intense drive; 3. boundless enthusiasm; 4. the sufferings of Jesus pärt-‘nər n. 1.a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor; sharer; associate; 2. one that is united with others in an activity or a sphere of common interest For almost 2 years Passion Partners has been laying the foundation of more than just the buildings we’ve been constructing around the world… February 2011: ground was broken on the Ohuru Medical Clinic in Kenya; August 1, 2012, the doors opened and, already, more than 1000 people have been served. It exists as a reminder that God goes to the ends of the earth to manifest His love and involves us to do so. January 2012: ground was broken on the Wakiso Girls Restoration Home in Uganda; October 2012 it will cover the heads of 42 abandoned, abused and/or orphaned girls, shelter their hearts, and shepherd them in a “hope and a future.” It...

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“The Launch”…a look back

Throughout the past few weeks, we have been sharing with you the heart and soul of Passion Partners…our mission, our vision, our values….getting “back to basics,” if you will. And we know for many of you, simply hearing “the basics” for the very first time. Today, I, Allie (Strategic Development & Project Manager – Africa) want to take you back a couple of months, to our official launch of Passion Partners, and share with you the first communication our founder and Executive Director, Candice Ashburn, sent out to supporters. This was the first time we formally extended the invitation for others to “be a part” of Passion Partners…a significant moment in our ministry, to say the least. Candice knows, and we all know, that it is both an exciting and intimidating task to invite others to join others in the work God is calling you to. Yet, we, Passion Partners, firmly believe that this is exactly what He’s asked us to do…invite others to join us. Why? Because the work God is doing is just too big, too significant, too good to keep to ourselves. So, in case you missed it, here it is… the “launch,” the “invitation”… in retrospect. From Candice: “I want you to know . . . that what has happened to me has really served to advance the...

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Lessons learned on bumpy roads

I would like introduce one of the most outstanding 18 year-olds I’ve had the privilege of getting to know. Genny Kate Gurley has nannied for me for the last couple of years. She is one amazing young woman with incredible discipline to place herself before God and His Word. Her work ethic is beyond reproach and if her willingness to be taught is any indication of her life trajectory, she is a shooting star. Thank you, GK, for sharing your last summer “at home” with me, my family & my ministry. You really have become a part of our family. Candice Read on to hear about Geny Kate’s experience with Passion Partners in Kenya, in her own words…                            Geny Kate & Anabelle in the now infamous “safari van” I had no idea what to expect on this trip to Kenya with Passion Partners. Not only had I never been to Africa before, but I knew very little about the Passion Partners projects we’d be working with and barely knew the other trip participants, besides Candice and her children. I was just an eighteen-year-old girl, recently re-settled from Birmingham to Nashville, who was about to start college at Mississippi State. I was thrilled when Candice asked me to be a...

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