On July 4, millions of American gather each year to commemorate the United States’ independence from England in 1776. This annual event celebrates our privilege of living in a society where we can elect leaders that align with our values and have the right to voice our opinions. While the U.S. still has quite an amount of work to be done before we can truly call ourselves equally free, countries like Uganda have massive strides to make… beginning with overall human rights.

So, what does freedom truly mean? Merriam Webster defines it as, “the quality or state of being free: such as the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.” While this is a general definition, the idea of freedom varies from country to country. But, when broken down, it always comes back to choice.

The ability to make your own choices is a privilege we often take for granted. For many around the world, they cannot do this either by law or circumstance, which is the case for the teens at St. Elizabeth Girls Academy.

With no educational background or support system (especially when orphaned), many of these girls were forced to turn to begging or prostitution to keep themselves alive. This is why our school takes theses girls in and provides a safe environment, therapeutic support, socialization and the chance to learn skills to support themselves. The foundation and tools we supply these girls with gives them the opportunity to take control of their lives and better their living conditions.

In Uganda, education equals freedom, which is unfortunate because typically only affluent residents can pursue one. Our mission is to empower girls through education so that they can break the cycle of not having the freedom of choice. We offer vocational training courses in fields where girls can support themselves such as sewing, cooking, hairdressing, embroidery, farming and more. We are able to do this through you, our generous donors. Together our work helps prevent future generations of girls ending up on the streets. We know because our work with Kankobe Children’s Home gives the younger girls in our care the chance to attend primary school and eventually university.

On the Fourth of July, you often hear people say “let freedom ring,” which is “a statement that the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be spread across the Earth and allowed to flourish.” In the spirit Independence Day, we ask you to consider donating to Hope for Hearts so that we can continue freeing the teens at St. Elizabeth Girls Academy from a choiceless and dangerous life, and supporting the education needs of Kankobe Children’s Home.

Love, blessings and freedom,
Cristen Lyn