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Finding hope in desperate situations

A Ugandan former-sponsored child who lost all hope then recovered it when a 15-year-old student sponsored him is visiting New Zealand on a speaking tour.

Richmond Wandera, in partnership with aid and development organisation, Tearfund, will be sharing his inspirational story of how he broke free from extreme poverty and became an internationally sought-after speaker.

Wandera was raised in the Ngaruru slum in Uganda, which meant his family often went without food. At the age of eight, when his father was brutally murdered, he says he lost all hope of a life worth living. He was left to care for his mother and six siblings and he spent several hours each day searching for food. He consistently struggled with malaria, battling the disease over a dozen times.

Life changed for Wandera when Heather, a 15-year-old student from the United States, sponsored him through Tearfund’s sponsorship partner Compassion International.

Wandera reflects on how he felt that day; “I cannot describe the joy that filled our home when we heard the news: ‘Richmond you have got a sponsor, it means you can now go back to school, it means food will be given to us because of you.’ I saw an opportunity to rekindle the hope that was taken away.”

Wandera excelled at school and was selected to enter a leadership development programme. Since then, he has earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a master’s degree in theology and is completing his PhD in the Philosophy of Leadership.

He also founded the Pastor’s Discipleship Network programme which provides free training and mentorship for pastors in Uganda.

Tearfund CEO, Ian McInnes, says Wandera’s story is a remarkable and inspiring one.

“Richmond shares a powerful message of hope in desperate situations that is relevant to our own lives. We’re privileged to have him share his remarkable story with us.”

Richmond will be supported by local New Zealand singer songwriter, Omega Levine. Former frontman of award-winning outfit Parachute Band, Levine has embarked on a solo journey that blends his childhood influences of Johnny Cash and Motown gospel with his unique storytelling talent.

Wandera will be speaking at 14 events throughout the North Island. Entry is free.

Further tour details can be found at www.tearfund.org.nz or by calling 0800 800 777.


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