This blog post is a collaborative piece, written by all House of Hope staff members in order to capture the essence of teamwork which made the Grand Opening such a success: Robert Okello, Esther Ayaa, Grace Ouma, Mirriam Oroma, and Kevin Okumu.
On the 22nd September 2018, there was the Grand Opening of the House of Hope which is the new center built for Hope Center Uganda. Thanks to attendance from over 300 community members, the day of the event showcased the incredible amount of support for the organization within Northern Uganda and made the event a massive success. Making this Grand Opening event colourful were a variety of performances ranging from poems, dramas and dances that were given by different groups of children and local Uplift Villages.
There were a great number of people who were invited, among the most important personalities who graced the event were the Guest of Honor, an Honourable member of Parliament, the Lord Mayor, the Speaker of Gulu District, and other various stakeholders including partner organisations.
The decorations for the event were lovely with support from the kids, interns, staff, and other community members. A day before the event we started making balloons, tying flower ribbons, along with beautiful and creative art work from the interns, founders Jamie and Ella, and of course the children. Both the interior of the center and the external colours for the event were centered around blue, yellow and red. Another fun activity done that got everyone involved as decoration preparation was creating picture charts for the walls inside House of Hope.
Everything about the food for the event was perfect and began early in the day with the kids receiving yogurt, soda and water from Mr. Jed which made their entire day. Later, to spice up the day, the children were given biscuits, and then received a final big lunch. Catered by a friend of the organization, everyone in attendance received a special meal, including beans, rice, potatoes, chicken and other meat. There was enough for everyone and it made the day of every community member and supporter in attendance.
On this day we had over one hundred children present, more than the number of the children currently enrolled, showing the amazing growth in this organization. However, only the HCU kids performed, but they had a number of absolutely incredible performances. The first performance of the day was from the lower class who presented a Welcome Song, followed by the middle class, who presented a drama. The lower class came back on again and gave a very interesting song which says, “come and see the use of education”. This was then followed by a poem from the middle class, entitled “A Teacher is Wonderful”. The upper class also presented two moving poems, “HCU,HCU” and “I AM HOPE”. The computer literacy class graduates did not disappoint, performing a powerful story through dance and drama. All these performances from our wonderful children made the day so colorful and meaningful. HCU Head Teacher Mirriam warmly said “This day was the happiest day to me ever.”
Another important group of invitees were community members who are apart of the Uplift Program from all the four centers we are operating in. In addition to their attendance, they performed traditional dances representing the benefits of Uplift Program and dramas imitating what staff does for them when they go to the field. In total, 100 women were invited and attended which was beyond incredible.
Overall, the event was a huge success. We as an organization were overjoyed with the turn out. HCU staff member, Grace, wants to extend her gratitude by saying, “I thank the director and the donors for saving our women out of poverty and coming women who will be reached as well. Thank you.”
Being able to gather everyone from the children to the women from the Uplift Program in the villages together to celebrate the Grand Opening of The House of Hope made this event one to remember. The community members said since this was very educational to the entire community the event should be held annually and more men should be invited to help spread the message.
Everything in combination made the House of Hope Grand Opening such a success and we want to thank everyone who gave their time, energy, and participated. HCU staff member Esther said “It’s all my joy to see Hope Center Uganda restoring hopes and smiles as well as empowering. Thumbs up for all our donors for the smiles you create on our faces!”