Often described as the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is a beautiful country straddling the equator in Eastern Africa. With misty mountains, massive lakes and everything in between Uganda is also home to the largest population of mountain gorillas in Africa. It is here in these mountains where tourists track the Silverback Gorillas that Mountain Children’s Ministry was started in July 2012.
Although rich with natural resources Uganda is also a country of extreme poverty. An entire generation has been lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, malaria and civil war. The World Health Organization estimates 2.2 million children have been orphaned. While the world has begun to respond to the children of the larger westernized cities, little help has traveled to the peasant orphans of the more primitive farming areas “deep in the villages.” Agriculture employs more than 80% of Ugandans however subsistence farmers see little income from exports.
The vision for ministry to the mountain children of rural Africa began on a visit to the rural mountain area of the Kabale district of Uganda by Michele Pageau and her work colleague, Mpeirwe Ivan Twino (“Ivan”), in July of 2012. With a combined work history of 17 years of caring for African orphans, Michele Pageau and Ivan recognized the needs of children made destitute and vulnerable because of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and civil war and how little was being done for them in the rural areas. As a result of the visit, Ivan quit his job and moved to Kabale in January 2013 to begin the sponsorship program. He formed a Ugandan organization, called it Mountain Children’s Ministry, and had it registered and certified as a Community Based Organization with the Kabale District Council on May 17, 2013. Ivan is the Executive Director of the Ugandan organization. The Ugandan Mountain Children’s Ministry is partnered with Mparo Deliverance Pentacostal Church whose pastors serve on the organization’s board. A governing board of 8 Ugandans from the Kabale area meet twice a year to assist with guidance, planning and future direction of the ministry organization.
Michele Pageau and other individuals in the United States formed an American not-for-profit corporation called Mountain Children’s Ministry in December of 2013 to provide funding and support for ministry work in rural Africa.