Between the care of her grandmother and the support of the Compassion child development center where Shamim had enrolled several years earlier, Shamim was happy. She was in the top 5 percent of her class at school, and she loved her teachers and friends at the center.

But now it was school break, and her mother had sent for her — for the first time since she had been abandoned. And from the moment she arrived at her mother’s home, Shamim worked hard, cleaning and cooking and falling into bed each night exhausted. When she began complaining of not feeling well, her mother reprimanded her for being lazy, demanding that she work even harder.

By the time Shamim’s mother finally took her to the doctor, malaria and mumps had ravaged her body. And when her “break” ended and Shamim’s grandmother came to get her, Shamim had gone almost completely deaf due to complications from her illnesses.

“When my grandmother came to get me, she was so disappointed when she called me and I couldn’t hear her,” Shamim says. “Granny cried in the garden. She said ‘You went good but came back deaf.”

Shamim’s grandmother appealed to the Compassion staff at the church. They immediately arranged for Shamim to be seen at the hospital, but all the doctors could do was determine that the damage she had suffered could not be repaired.

“Compassion tried their best but the doctor said the only thing to do was to take me to a school for the deaf so I could learn sign language.”

The costs for the closest school for the deaf was more than Shamim’s grandmother could ever afford, but through the education fund, Compassion was able to cover the costs. At her new school, Shamim worked hard to learn sign language and lip reading. She excelled academically but had to fight the victim mentality that was so pervasive among her classmates.

“I used to encourage children to wake up and read,” she says. “One girl told me to stop because our brains were different than the hearing. But I did not want to be limited by my disability.”

Shamim Nakiyemba stands smiling beside a large sign at her school

Her hard work through high school led to a government scholarship to university.

But even more important to Shamim is the ministry she started to serve other children with disabilities in Uganda.

“The support and hope Compassion has given me in my life has motivated me to have love and care for children with disabilities,” she says. “Without Compassion,

I couldn’t have been where I am. Because I grew up seeing many children with disabilities who have not succeeded in

life, and how the community minimizes them and treats them with negativity, I wanted to

form a ministry to help these children and change their disability into ability.”


Shamim has a great love and passion for children with disabilities. Gloria is one of the children she is supporting in her organization.

Today, Shamim’s ministry, Sherinah’s New Hope for Children with Disabilities, serves over 30 children in Uganda. And each child can see her courage and strength and know that with God, anything is possible.

There is no limit on the influence one sponsor can have on one child’s life. To learn more about sponsorship through Compassion International, click here.

Article from Sponsor E-News