Hope returns for victim of child torture
THEY gave up their life of relative comfort on the Sunshine Coast to help children in Uganda.
Now Coolum Beach couple Susan and Tony Thompson have found Hope - a young girl whose beautiful smile belies the agonising pain of her childhood.
The Kyampisi Childcare Ministries website says Hope was reportedly kidnapped by witchdoctors from her home in Uganda when she was only a baby. For nearly two years, she is believed to have been kept lying at an altar with her arms and legs tied.
Her blood and parts of her body were said to have been used for sacrifices and she allegedly was given just enough food and water to keep her alive.
She has had the tip of her tongue and the tip of her right big toe removed, teeth snapped off and nine incisions on her stomach.
She cannot walk or talk and her bones and marrow are unmineralised from a lack of exercise, nutrition and simple use. Hope was found wrapped in a sack and lying in a cattle yard. She spent two months in a hospital in Kampala, Uganda's capital, where she received numerous treatments and was given the name "Hope".
Police found her parents, but when they saw her condition, they abandoned her. Since then, she has been kept in the loving care of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries. And that is where the Thompsons first met her.
Sue, who worked in Sunshine Coast TAFE's fashion department, was starting a sewing school in Uganda, and Kyampisi Childcare Ministries was in need of a sewing teacher in its village.
"This is how we met Hope, at the home in Kampala where Pastor Peter's (Peter M Sewakiryanga, Kyampisi's director) office is," Mrs Thompson said.
"After losing my son, who had many disabilities, my heart was drawn to Hope.
"We offered to have Hope on weekends so the carers could have a break, as she needs 24-7 care. We take her shopping, swimming, for long walks. She loves the pram - especially the bumps in the road."
Mrs Thompson's 12-year-old daughter Cirra-Sue is also loving have Hope around.
Kyampisi, which is seen as a leader in the fight against child sacrifice in Uganda, is trying to give Hope a future.
She has extensive physical and emotional damage, but one of the first things she needs to see is a dentist. However, the cost of intensive therapy is estimated at least $1220.
To be a part of "seeing Hope restored" and to learn more about Uganda, visit kyampisi.org.