We support a specific mission partner - Rev Richard Rukundo in Uganda - through the charity CUCMUK (Church of Uganda Children's Ministry UK)
Richard is assistant provincial education coordinator/children's programmes coordinator for the Church of Uganda. Before his appointment in 2012, he worked with Kampala Diocese in the children's department for 10 years. Richard's desire is to see Christian witness among children, to equip children's workers and develop strategies for discipleship.
Richard is also committed to making sure children's voices are heard. In a recent interview, he remarked: "In the Church we have to bring the plight of children into the limelight because children in Uganda, and maybe the whole of east Africa, have been affected by many injustices. It's clear from reports in the media that there is child abuse and violation of children's rights.... Children have been traumatised; we have seen child soldiers and girls who have been taken over by rebels. That's a part of the church we minister to."
To make sure that children are listened to, Richard has instituted a training programme in schools. The programme trains teachers as lay chaplains. "After the training," Richard says, "the chaplains know how to listen to children. Thanks to the programme, head teachers are now also realising the need for counselling and allowing time for children to open up. There is more of an understanding that if children are behaving badly at school it may be because there are issues going on at home."
In addition to his work in training teachers, Richard has developed a discipleship programme called Children At Risk for churches, schools, and organisations working with children. He also partners with other faith-based organisations in order to help children come to church and meet their needs.
Speaking of the effects of the Children At Risk programme, he remarked, "Most of the teachers are volunteers so prior to our programme they did not have the right training to counsel the children and spot when they are in need.
"My overriding desire is to see Christian witness among children," he says.
Richard is married, with two children, and has been working in Kampala Diocese for ten years. He holds a masters degree from Uganda Christian University, and was ordained as a deacon in 2011.