Mamma Shirls
(Shirley Crawford)

Making a Difference in Gulu, Uganda

Help me, Teach me, Use me!

Shirley Crawford with children in Gulu

To family and friends who encourage and support me as I live my dream, loving on the beautiful people of Gulu, Northern Uganda, with the love God has poured into my life.

My name is Shirley Crawford, I am Mum to my son John and Ruth, and my daughter Fiona and Aaron and known as Mamma Shirls to my Ugandan family.

How did I get to be living in the small village of Pece, Gulu?

  • When I was 7yrs old, a Missionary came to my Sunday School at The Grove Methodist Church, Horsforth, and as she shared about her work with African Orphans a dream was planted in my life.
  • As an 18 yr old student at Cliff Bible College I committed my life to loving on African children as a nurse.
  • Age 50 yrs, my dream became reality, when Life Church sent me to lead the first of five teams to help Watoto Church, Gulu, build their village for orphans and returning child soldiers.

In January,2013 I left John and Fiona, my family and friends, my Life Church Family and my colleagues and pupils at Woodhouse Grove School, to live permanently amongst the Acholi people of Northern Uganda. I cried for an hour on the plane and leaving them doesn’t get any easier.

For the past 5 years, with a LOT of help from my friends, we have made a difference in the lives of so many babies, children, orphans, returning child soldiers, young teenage offenders, people suffering from HIV/AIDS, single mums and war widows-all who have been deeply traumatised living and suffering through the devastating atrocities of the 22 yr Civil War led by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

I cannot do any of this without the encouragement, prayer and support of my family and friends... on behalf of every Ugandan friend of ours, who’s life you have made somewhat easier by feeding the hungry ones, providing safe water for the thirsty ones, welcoming in the strangers, clothing the naked ones, looking after the sick ones and visiting the prisoners.

THANK YOU-together we are loving on my friends and giving them hope.
#livingmydream #teamwork #makingadifference


Projects I Am Involved With

Remand Home

Remand Home

The Remand Home is a centre for teenagers who have been suspected of committing a crime and are awaiting a court decision as to whether they are innocent, have been framed, or have actually committed a crime.
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Village Fun Club

Mamma Shirls's Village Kids Fun Club

My home is surrounded by very poor families living in grass-roofed, mud houses, predominantly inhabited by single mums struggling to feed and clothe an average of 8 children, HIV/ AIDS and abject poverty are relentless.
Read more...

Christines House

Christine’s House

A residential safe house for severely abused, pregnant, teenage girls where they receive love, trauma counselling, ante/post-natal care, discipleship, numeracy and literacy education. The girls are supported through their pregnancy, delivery of their baby and are shown how to care for their new born baby.
Read more...

Nurses Reaching Out

Nurses Reaching Out (NRO)

A UK registered charity which provides practical help to patients in Northern Uganda.
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Soleterre Family Home

Soleterre’s Family Home, Lacor Hospital

This is a wonderful home from home environment providing accommodation and care for children suffering from cancer and a member of their family. These children live far from the hospital and cannot afford to travel backwards and forwards for their chemotherapy which they need every 3 weeks for up to 9 months.
Read more...

Community Clinic

Community Clinics

In partnership with the Church of Uganda, we piloted Community Clinics providing a high standard of health care to all the people in my village and beyond. We have been thrilled with the response of my neighbours who are now benefiting from the excellent care provided by qualified Nurses.
Read more...

Remand Home

The Remand Home is a centre for teenagers who have been suspected of committing a crime and are awaiting a court decision as to whether they are innocent, have been framed, or have actually committed a crime.

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Mamma Shirls's Village Kids Fun Club

Neighbourly Love

I live in the village of Pece, 20 mins walk from Gulu town (the epicentre of the Kony civil war).

My home is surrounded by very poor families living in grass-roofed, mud houses, predominantly inhabited by single mums struggling to feed and clothe an average of 8 children, HIV/ AIDS and abject poverty are relentless.

Many of my neighbours can’t afford school fees to send their children to school, so I open my garden to the neighbourhood children at weekends and provide fun learning activities and a respite from the grinding poverty with love, fun numeracy and literacy activities, sport, craft, books and music in my Village Kids Fun Club.

They all really enjoy the playing with a Parachute which was kindly donated by Woodhouse Grove School

Donations help provide the learning materials and equipment, toys, books, jigsaws, musical instruments and craft materials.

If you'd like to Donate specifically to this project please visit my secure fundraising page here.

Christine’s House

Christine’s House is a residential safe house for severely abused, pregnant, teenage girls where they receive love, trauma counselling, ante/post-natal care, discipleship, numeracy and literacy education.

The girls are supported through their pregnancy, delivery of their baby and are shown how to care for their new born baby. When the girls first come to stay at Christine’s House they are extremely traumatised and distressed. Some are so withdrawn that they just stare at the floor and cannot make eye-contact...others are so broken that they cannot speak.

Gradually, as the staff gently pray and sing over them and love on them, the girls begin to feel safe and secure. Eventually, as they begin responding, they receive trauma counselling.

The girls are taught to read and write and are also taught a self-sustaining trade - tailoring, leather craft, jewellery, beadmaking, hairdressing, baking. This ensures they can be independent and provide for themselves and their child.

If you'd like to Donate specifically to this project please visit my secure fundraising page here.

Christines House - new mothers with babies

Nurses Reaching Out (NRO)

NRO Feeding Program - Harriet Cooking

Nurses Reaching Out is an amazing UK Charity who I have the privilege of volunteering with in Uganda. They fund various projects aimed at providing practical help to improve the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people in Gulu, Northern Uganda.

I started Nursing in 1978 and I have loved caring for many sick people over the years. When I moved to Uganda in 2013, I registered as a nurse here, a process which involved working for 8 weeks at our local state hospital in Gulu. The conditions and limited resources were a stark contrast to those I had experienced in my career, so I was honoured to be invited to be NRO's volunteer on the ground.

NROs 25:35 Feeding Program

This fantastic program is based on the Bible verse: Matthew 25v 35. "I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink"

Gulu Hospital is the main Government run hospital, where the areas poorest patients go. Resources are in very short supply and they do not provide patients with any personal care or food. When a patient goes into hospital here, they have to have an attendant or carer to give all personal care, cook, wash them and their clothes. If a sick person does not have a family member or neighbour to do these things, they cannot stay to receive treatment for their illness. Patients must have a carer accompanying them to cook their food, if they want to remain as an inpatient.

We have an incredible NRO lady called Harriet, who is allocated 15 of the most vulnerable patients in the hospital as identified by the Doctors, Nurses and Social Workers as those in desperate need of food.

Harriet and her assistant, cook nutritious, fresh food 7 days a week and provide clean, safe drinking water to those patients, enabling them to stay and receive appropriate treatment.

Baby Pack Provision

In some rural areas in Gulu Municipality where I live, the Church of Uganda has Medical Centres where qualified health workers have the skills and equipment to deliver babies safely.

We are providing five of these Medical Centres with lifesaving Baby Packs for women in labour containing items which increase the chances of babies surviving and which encourage the pregnant ladies to attend the Centres for their deliveries. The contents of each pack cost £7.00 and are saving lives.

Donations help provide food for the feeding project, wages for our cook and the contents of the Baby Packs.

If you'd like to Donate specifically to this project please visit my secure fundraising page here.

Soleterre’s Family Home, Lacor Hospital

This is a wonderful home from home environment providing accommodation and care for children suffering from cancer and a member of their family. These children live far from the hospital and cannot afford to travel backwards and forwards for their chemotherapy which they need every 3 weeks for up to 9 months.

Without the Family Home they would stay at home and not survive.

Through the generosity of my donors, we have set up a school for the children to continue their education whilst they are in the Family Home. We also provide Art Therapy to help the children through their cancer journey.

Donations help provide tests and medication, school equipment and supplies, supplementary diet to improve their recovery.

If you'd like to Donate specifically to this project please visit my secure fundraising page here.

Mother and Son at Soleterre Family Home

Community Clinics

Community Clinic

Having successfully established the Remand Home Clinics for the young people, my dream was to extend the service to the members of my village.

In partnership with the Church of Uganda, we piloted Community Clinics providing a high standard of health care to all the people in my village and beyond. We have been thrilled with the response of my neighbours who are now benefiting from the excellent care provided by qualified Nurses.

Emmanuel and Walter are the Church of Uganda Nurses who are responsible for the fantastic service our Remand Home young people and our Community members receive in the Medical Centre. They are qualified, Registered Nurses, who speak the local language( Acholi) and their passion to provide a high standard of excellent care and pastoral support is fantastic.

How To Make A Difference

As a volunteer I need to raise the finances to make a difference in the lives of the Ugandan women and children who I have the privilege of living with and loving on.
Every week I am faced with situations of desperate need so by partnering with me any donation makes a significant improvement in their lives.
Recently, late one evening, I met two young neighbours foraging in the dark for insects and roots as they had no food. It took just £4.00 of my donors money to buy enough fresh fruit and veg to feed their entire family of 5 for a few days.
If you'd like to know more about the projects I'm involved with please visit my fundraising pages here or on the individual projects above.
If you are interested in becoming a DIFFERENCE MAKER please select either one of:

  • 'Make a Regular Donation' using the MyDonate link below,
  • 'Make a One Off Donation' using the MyDonate link below,
  • download and complete a Gift Aid form
  • Contact Shirley Crawford at shirlscrawford@gmail.com for more details on 'How To Become A Difference Maker'.
  • Send a donation through MyDonate on the link below

Sponsor me on BT MyDonate

I would like to thank you in advance for partnering with me, together we can do so much to help make a difference in the lives of people I know


Donations will go into our partner ministry account: Fathers' Heart Ministries

CONTACT

Contact me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

shirlscrawford@gmail.com

Mamma Shirls in Gulu, Uganda

Meet Me

Mamma Shirls and children

I would love to invite you to come and catch up with the projects I'm involved with and talk about my life in Uganda. However I currently don't have any dates scheduled at this time as I am back in Uganda.
Please feel free to contact me and I will let you know when I have another Meet Me session scheduled

shirlscrawford@gmail.com