In March 2009 God led Hugh Pilcher to form a small team and help local vulnerable children who hung around the streets and slept in shop door-ways in Kigumba town, Kiryandongo District, Uganda. At the time Hugh, from Suffolk, United Kingdom, was managing a large three-year development project for an international church organisation. Hugh had previously gained good experience of Christian development and relief projects through working in Tanzania for six years and Iraq for two years.Using funds donated by friends and churches in the UK Hugh and his team of locals provided assistance to children through nutritious cooked food, bible teaching and basic psycho-social care. The aim was to improve the diet of the children, share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them and improve their confidence and self-esteem.
In the following year Hugh extended the work and partnered with a local church to select children for sponsorship at a nearby Primary School. The children were all from very poor homes and included orphans and children of single mothers. This sponsorship programme was to form the foundation of the future work.
Since then that initial ministry has progressed and in December 2015 was registered and incorporated as an international non-governmental organisation, with the Ugandan Government and called ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children Organisation’ (JLtLC).
In 2016 the ministry extended to include children with special needs. These were also ‘vulnerable children’, the category God had given of children He desired to help. After a weekly club was formed parents and guardians started to come from different villages with their children. Some of the children who were not able to walk had never been to Kigumba their local town.
There are now two main programmes; The Schools Programme for children who need sponsorship to attend school and The Children with Special Needs Programme who require a diversity of support and assistance. Still based in Kigumba Town the ministry has expanded with parents bringing their children with special needs from outside the district.
The organisation now partners with Miracle Healing Centre, a local Pentecostal church in Kigumba Town where the children’s clubs are held.