FAQ

Q. How is Juna Amagara Ministries different from other humanitarian efforts in Africa today?
Juna Amagara Ministries is unique in that we deal not just with the physical needs of AIDS orphans but also the life skills and spiritual needs as well. Our intention is to nurture the few from a variety of locations so that they can become leaders, go back to their villages and change the lives of many.

We are not an organization collecting child sponsorship money just to do community development, healthcare programs or build agricultural models. Instead, we are facilitators of needs as identified by indigenous people in crisis. We are adept at running schools, children’s homes, foster children care, community health programs and community evangelism.

It is also important to note that Juna Amagara is an indigenous organization, run by Ugandans for Ugandans. As such, it was decided at the outset that we would not place children in “orphanages.” Too often kids who grow up in orphan homes or orphan villages carry a stigma of their orphan-ness for a lifetime. We believe orphan kids grow up well-adjusted when they are part of the community in which they live.

Our orphan kids go to schools with non-orphans and participate fully in village life. It has been gratifying to watch them, as adults, return to the village where they regard everyone as extended family. All decisions for operating the ministry are made by Ugandans based on their native knowledge of the culture.

Q. How severe is the AIDS problem today?
Since 1980/ HIV/AIDS has killed millions of people at every level of society and in virtually every country in Africa. The disease continues unabated in many of those countries. But Uganda is rapidly conquering the disease. In 1986, the nation’s president formed a coalition of government, education and church leaders to campaign for a vigorous, Christian-based way of life in the country as an approach to changing the behavior that causes the runaway AIDS pandemic.

The result of putting Christ in schools, government and in the society itself resulted in the reduction of new incidences of HIV/AIDS dropping by 2/3. Even so, many people have died, leaving their children behind. Today, there are more than two million children in Uganda who need caregivers and education, 880,000 of them with no means of support whatsoever. These are the children Juna Amagara seeks to serve and save.

Q. Why is Juna Amagara based in Christianity?
Juna Amagara has a Christian foundation because we know it is the belief in Christ that creates permanent change in the behavior of people society-wide. When it comes to HIV/AIDS, there is a popular thematic solution called ABC… Abstinence, Being faithful to one’s spouse and Condoms. With its emphasis on condoms, this approach has been proven tragically false.

Instead, we speak of ABC as Abstinence, Being faithful to one’s spouse and Commitment to Christ. In Uganda, countless people, especially children will attest that Christ fills lives and leads young people down a path of right living. It is Christ and His followers who will heal this society. Trust in Jesus gives young people both a moral compass and confidence that they can achieve whatever goals they set for themselves.

Q. Can the work of Juna Amagara be done without a Christian focus?
No.
Q. How are donated funds used?
Every dollar donated to Juna Amagara Ministries goes to support the Amagara House Children’s Home, AIDS orphan scholarships, schools development, ABIDE programs or community health programs. Money is used to provide shelter, purchase food, pay staff, pay school fees, purchase scholastic materials and school uniforms, pay medical bills, utility bills, transport and vehicles, e-mail/telephone communication and equipment/materials for vocational training.

The ministry is operated by volunteer Boards of Directors in Uganda and the U.S., the Executive Director and his staff in Uganda. Those interested in the financial details of the ministry are encouraged to visit the charity database GuideStar.org

Q. How is money handled and how do you avoid corruption?
Juna Amagara Ministries is a registered Non-Government Organization (NGO) in the Republic of Uganda and, as such, is required by law to operate with financial integrity as specified by the government. Accounts are overseen by the Juna Amagara Ministries Board of Directors, a group of dedicated people that includes respected University Professors, local business owners, an attorney and church leaders.

Money is handled only by ministry personnel, not government officials or intermediaries. Money is wired directly from the US to the Juna Amagara bank account in Kampala. Withdrawals are balanced with expenditures in a monthly accounting to the Board. All transactions and financial reports are reviewed by both the US and Ugandan Boards of Directors. Financial practices in the U.S. and Uganda are audited annually.

The ministry is a member of the Evangelical Christian Financial Association (EFCA) which requires best-accounting-practices  to be in place. Juna Amagara has earned the Seal of Approval from Guidestar.org for its practices.

Q. How are orphans selected for the program?
Our Ugandan Director of Operations has devised rigorous selection criteria for children who are invited into the program and also those who receive scholarships. Our contacts throughout the country allow us to learn of those families with the most need.

Children selected so far represent rays of hope to their siblings and their communities. When one of nine siblings gets to go to school, there is hope for all. When a child finds love and shelter even as his second parent lies dying, there is hope. When one member of a child-directed family finds support, there is hope.

Q. Are orphans required to convert to Christianity before receiving aid?
No. Orphans receive aid because they are vulnerable children in need. Period. They will, however, be exposed to moral modeling and Christian lifestyles of the staff of Juna Amagara and members of the community who owe their escape from the AIDS onslaught to their belief in Christ.

They will be living in a Christian community where they may of their own free will take up the Christian faith. No child will be turned away unless he or she violates the moral requirements and regulations for participating in the program.

Q. How do you see the organization growing?
The first Amagara Children’s House was opened in 2004 in rented premises with 14 children under care. By the end of its third year, Juna Amagara had over 140 kids under care, some 45 of them in a house built by the ministry on land owned by the ministry. By 2008, the ministry had built the Kishanje Learning Advancement Center where more than 200 children attend school or are tutored after school.

In 2010, the New Times School in Kishanje Village enrolled more than 400 children. By the end of 2013, more than 600 children were in the care of Juna Amagara. The ministry will grow in scope – more operations in more places. It will grow in numbers. And, it will grow in the services – vocational training, business education and community health – as funding and resources become available from supporters around the world.

Q. How will you measure the ministry’s success?
There are four ways to measure the success of a ministry like Juna Amagara. The first is to see the faces and hear the stories of the children under our care. Do they feel loved? Do they excel in school, that is, do they test in the top percentiles in national testing? Are they leading other children down God’s path? To us, this is the most important measurement and we are already seeing these results.

The second is external – audits of financial operations, reviews by third party inspectors, government reports, annual reports from the Board of Directors – all give an objective view of the ministry’s financial and operational stewardship of its resources. The third measurement is the ministry’s support base. Are people actively excited about the work? Do they tell others about the ministry? How many teams visit Uganda each year? So far, Juna Amagara has a very active and growing support base of churches, foundations and individuals.

The fourth measurement can only be made over time. What are the children doing ten years after graduating from university, having been supported by Juna Amagara scholarships and mentoring? We get a glimpse of his future in the graduates of our ABIDE program who are now adults marching forward as strong, educated, motivated, Christian leaders who are essential for improving tomorrow’s Uganda and all of Africa.

Q. What does the ministry need today?
There are many opportunities here, but mostly we need people to prayerfully come alongside us and decide how they can best use their time, talent and treasure to support the incredible work being done in Uganda. We need your experience and your passion.

Come to Uganda. It is an exceptionally beautiful country filled with joyful people. When you experience this place and its hospitality, you will find God leading you to do something exciting. We need your hands and we need your heart.

Do you like working with children? Are you a skilled artist or craftsperson? Are you an engineer or a pilot? A doctor or a nurse? Are you a gardener, an arborist, a farmer, a mechanic, a pastor, a computer networking consultant? Are you a marketer or writer, photographer or videographer? We need you all. The opportunities for contribution are endless, limited only by the hearts of people who care. Email us today to find out how you can become involved.

For a list of specific needs, look for the current “wish list” in the donations section of this website.