With a heart to serve children, Julianne Heilman ’11 moved to Uganda two years after graduation to teach English. While her students were served well at school, Julianne could not help but notice that some of them came from broken homes. Some of them were street kids, trash picking and selling metal to get money to eat. She kept thinking, “They needed somewhere to live, someplace to call home.”
With that, the vision for Asifiwe Child Care Ministries was born. Asifiwe is a home for children who come from broken families—some abused, some abandoned, and some orphaned—but it is not an orphanage. Asifiwe views “home” holistically and provides or gives access to home care, medical care, education, and spiritual discipleship within the Asifiwe community.
An organic family unit is formed in each home with a loving mother and eight children so every child has a family to call their own. This family structure benefits everyone—both the children who are selected for the program and the women who serve as house mothers. Vulnerable women, such as widows and single mothers, are served through Asifiwe just as much as the children. They are placed in the home to care for the Asifiwe children.
Most importantly, those at Asifiwe are invested in each child’s spiritual development. The children go to church and a weekly program, pray with social workers, and receive biblical teaching from their house mother each day. A relationship with Jesus lays the foundation for the hope that Julianne and the rest of the Asifiwe staff give to their children.