If you’ve been following me on Facebook lately or if you saw this announcement, you know that I have a really exciting trip coming up! At the end of February (actually the day after Joel finishes the BAR) I’ll be boarding a plane to Uganda. I’m going there with The Archibald Project as part of their Media Mission Team.
From The Archibald Project’s website:
We exist to advocate for the orphan. Our stories serve to educate and inspire people towards adoption, and because we exist fewer children will be called orphans.
The Archibald Project has documented several adoptions with photographs and films – including one for my friend, Shannon. You can see the story of their first adoption, through the eyes of Whitney and Nick, here. And you can read about their second adoption (a sibling group of three from Jinja, Uganda) here.
We dream about a world where all children, even those deemed unworthy by society, have a chance to know love, feel touch, be given grace and mercy, and experience the love of a family. We desire that no child be without a parent(s), but the harsh reality is there are heart breaking circumstances that cause thousands of children to be orphaned every day. We do not think adoption is the complete answer to the orphan crisis, but there is no question that adoption is being used to save and change the lives of children. We have witnessed it firsthand, and we want the world to witness it with us.
We have seen a miracle adoption of a fourteen year old girl be completed just days before she was forced to the streets. We have seen parents travel to the ends of the earth to love a child that some considered unlovable. We have seen children who are underdeveloped solely because they are never touched. We have seen families spend thousands of dollars that they don’t have to rescue a child they have never met. Our pictures have helped a family find and bring home a boy who is HIV positive.
All of the things we have seen are stories. Some stories are beautiful, some powerful, and some heart breaking, but all of these stories need to be told. We tell these stories. We use our cameras to advocate for orphans. We capture precious moments that stir the heart and inspire others to adopt. We show the world little faces still waiting for a family. We let the orphan know that their life and their story matter. We give a face to the faceless and a voice to the voiceless. We want the world to know that they exist and we will travel anywhere we are called in order see this purpose accomplished.
Myself and the other artists going on the trip applied, along with a lot of other talented and amazing artists, and were interviewed for a spot on the team. And the 9 of us were chosen to join Whitney and Nick in Jinja, Uganda – a town outside of Kampala. Our team is made up of photographers, videographers, and writers, all extremely talented, and all with the desire to use our art to help others.
Our job while we’re there will be to document and tell the stories of the kids in an orphanage. In the mornings we’ll spend time just hanging out with the kids and getting to know them – holding them, hugging them, loving on them, showing them that they matter and that they are cared about. Because they do matter. And I don’t even know them yet, but I already care about them.
While we’re there, we’ll be sharing their stories via social media. I’ll be telling mine here, on my Facebook page, and through my Instagram account. Follow me those places to keep up with us and to get to know some beautiful kids while we’re there. I don’t know how often I’ll get to update, but you can get more regular updates through TAP’s Facebook page. Go like it right now so you can be sure to keep up with what we’re doing. And check out their website – seriously, you will be so inspired by what you see there.
So, how can you help? There are a few ways.
If you have a blog, I would love it if you’d repost this for your readers. The more people that know about what we’re doing, and who see our updates while we’re in Uganda, the better. I’d be happy to write a guest post for your blog if that’s something you’d like to have.
And since you’ve liked TAP’s Facebook page (You have right? I knew it. You rock.), we would really appreciate it if you’d share our posts with your friends while we’re in Uganda as well. SHARE, SHARE, SHARE, SHARE, SHARE! The more people that see what we’re doing, the better!
You can pray for us. We’ll be in a new place, far from home, which can always be a challenge. We’ll be serving people and trying to tell their stories – you can pray that we would do that well. That we would meet their needs as they actually are, not just as we think they might be. You can pray that we would do justice to their stories and tell them with dignity and beauty.
I’m also raising support to help cover the cost of the trip. The whole trip, airfare included, is $2200. TAP is a 501c-3 non-profit organization, so your donations would be tax deductible. If you want to help in this way, email me (rschlieman at gmail.com) and I’ll give you all the details.
Thanks for reading all this! I couldn’t be more excited to go with this group of creative people and bring the stories of these kids back to you. Stay tuned… there will be so much more coming soon!