That’s how many boys Haggai has collected off the streets, brought into his home, and raised as his sons.
“I discovered that behind everyone, there is always potential. And that potential can never [be realised] until someone gives them an opportunity,” Haggai shares.
“The reason I brought these boys into my home was to give them an opportunity in life. I wanted to become a father to them because many of them didn’t have a male figure in their lives. Some of them are from single mother families, they have never had the opportunity to be around a man, so they don’t know how to relate to other men. They only way to help them was to bring them in closer… to speak to them, mentor them,” he says.
Haggai lives and works in Nateete, an area in Uganda known for its large slum community. His ministry, called Bridge Christian Ministry, gives young people in Nateete opportunities to reach their potential. Through his school, church and community initiatives, Haggai is seeing young lives change.
“Nateete is a place in need,” he says. “You see many people here living a hopeless life… they are not living, only surviving. Their life is just to eat, waiting to die. But that’s not why we have been created.”
“I want to see children growing up, discovering their potential. People living here [have the ability to] work in the marketplace, they can be preachers, politicians, leaders and influencers of communities, but many of them don’t know themselves,” Haggai says.
“We are here to challenge them, to grow them, to encourage them, and to lift them up.”
Haggai and his team at BCM want to see poverty wiped out, but his idea of poverty might be different to what you think.
“Poverty is not the absence of money. Poverty is a mindset,” he says.
“Do you know what happens when people live in a bad condition for a long time? It changes everything about them. They start thinking about themselves negatively. They don’t have the confidence to do anything in life.”
BCM exists to help young people regain their confidence, and its approach is simple:
- Through mentoring – standing beside young people, especially boys, and helping them become men. “Sometimes boys need models, people who can stand alongside them and challenge them,” Haggai says.
- Through connection – encouraging young people in Nateete to interact with people in other communities. “We are using football to connect people, and it’s working. People who were not relating to others are now beginning to reach out to others and learning from them.”