'One act changed my life'
From slums to success, a former Ugandan sponsored child will share with Hamilton how one act of sponsorship changed his life.
Born and raised in the Ngaruru slum in Uganda, Richmond Wandera's life was full of hardship and a lack of basic needs. As a child, he battled malaria more than 10 times. His father was murdered when Wandera was eight, leaving him to help his mother care for his five other siblings.
''I had several near death situations where I was sick [with malaria] and there was no one with money who could help,'' Wandera told the Waikato Times.
Out of desperation, his mother approached Tear Fund. Just over three months later, Wandera was sponsored, followed soon after by his sister.
As part of the child sponsorship programme, Wandera received schooling, regular medical check-ups and nutritious food. He said the whole family was able to benefit from the rations.
''We began to hear laughter and joy at home.
''This is the incredible story of how one act changed my life.''
After attending secondary school, he achieved a degree in accounting at university and later a master's degree in theology. Now an accountant in Kampala and pastor of a church, Wandera said he has tried to pay forward the kindness shown to him.
''I try to raise up my friends with an ethical message, and encourage ethical practice of accounts across the country.''
He and his wife, Rosette, have a sponsor child of their own.
His family, including his mother, still live in Uganda where all his siblings are ''alive and happy''.
The talk, hosted by Tear Fund, is part of the I Am Not Forgotten Tour. Also featured in this tour is the artist and former front man of Parachute Band, Omega Levine.
Levine had his own set of obstacles to overcome. Born without a nose, he was not accepted by his peers and was teased about the way he looked. He grew up with no self-esteem and was ready to take his own life at the age of 15.
Levine will share how he turned his life around, and perform some of his music.
Wandera will speak in Hamilton at 7pm on August 21, at Freedom Christian Church, 3 Clow Place, Hamilton.
Entry is free but donations are welcome. Further information and tour details can be found at tearfund.org.nz/iamnotforgotten or call 0800 800 777.