Local News

Wake Forest Couple Starts Nonprofit to Help Ugandan Kids

Posted October 4, 2007

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A 9-year-old African girl's horrific story led a Wake Forest doctor and his wife halfway around the world, and Dirk and Paige Hamp have started a crusade to help others in Uganda.

The couple's journey began after a friend e-mailed them about a 9-year-old Ugandan girl who was attacked during a land dispute.

"Sledge hammers and machetes were used to attack Jane and her family. Jane sustained serious wounds to her legs and her cranium. She was left for dead,” Paige Hamp said.

Jane's mother and sister were killed. Her father had died a year earlier from AIDS.

"There is no way that I could have closed that e-mail and gone to sleep that night and said, 'Well, that isn't my problem,'" Paige Hamp said.

Five months later, the Wake Forest couple was in Uganda. They saw that Jane's village had no electricity and no running water.

"They had a kind of an outhouse that was kind of a hole in the ground, and that's it," said Dirk Hamp, a pediatrician in Wake Forest.

While in Uganda, he said, he diagnosed several cases of AIDS and malaria while holding health clinics.

The Hamps adopted Jane and brought her home to Wake Forest.

Today, Jane has indoor plumbing and a lot more – four brothers and sisters – as well as a new mother and father committed to helping others in her native land.

"There are many, many stories like hers in Uganda and lots of kids that need help," Dirk Hamp said.

But the couple said they couldn't adopt Jane without adopting her country. So, they founded the non-profit group, Embrace Uganda, which has a mission to raise money and awareness in hopes of improving life in Uganda.

Jane's school was one of the first to get involved. Students at Trinity Academy of Raleigh plan to hold several fundraisers for the cause.

"Just $2,000 can build a house in Uganda," one student said.

29 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • mike23456 Oct 5, 2007

    Kudos to WRAL for finding positive examples of the human race self-sacrificing for the betterment of mankind. Its hard to listen to the news these days and hear anything positive about our community, our schools, or citizens and their actions. Thank you WRAL for not only finding this example that is giving a 9 year old girl great prospects for a better life but also for reporting how a local school is not focused on needing money for overcrowding, better facilities, and higher teacher pay raises but rather is looking inward at what it can do to improve this community and the world around us.

    Mike Preston

  • ddcdancer4ever Oct 4, 2007

    I'm sorry, but shouldn't the important thing be that SOMEONE was helped at all? Who cares where the individual was from? We are all the same inside.

  • rahowa_2 Oct 4, 2007

    Help our own HERE first.

  • hrraatth Oct 4, 2007

    to Hondaman:

    1) Yes, there are thousands of children right here in the USA who are in dire need. How many of them have *you* helped?

    2) You make a lot of statements about "those people". It sounds like you don't consider them "real" humans, like "us people" are. But we Markins had better get used to the idea that the world is shrinking and the oceans no longer insulate us from the rest of the world and its problems. "Us people" includes all of us who are passengers on the Spaceship Earth. Even you. Even me.

    3) Finally (and trivially) where do you get off talking about taking care of our own when your screen name brags about your Japanese car? Don't you care about all those USA auto workers?

  • GB2G Oct 4, 2007

    This inspirational story is simply about a young girl named Jane who was in need of quick medical attention and a loving home. Yes, she lived in Uganda. Not even looking, the Hamps were simply led to this little girl in need who happened to live in Uganda. A seed was planted in their hearts as they learned about this little girl who happened to live in Uganda. The seed sprouted to fully love this little girl, Jane, which naturally developed a love for her hometown in Uganda as well. Simply - There is no wrong with this picture! We can plant one seed at a time, care and see it sprout....or we can pull one petal off at a time and see it die. The Hamps are loving a little girl from Uganda, now their daughter in the U.S. and making a difference in one life. Love is what this story is about and offers an opportunity for others to embrace and share in their journey to make a positive difference in other children's lives in Jane's little town of Uganda.

  • superman Oct 4, 2007

    We should all learn to take care of our "own" before we wonder off to foreign countries. Those people dont want our help and wouldnt ever lift a finger to help us back in return if needed. They have no knowlege of our culture and our traditions. Those people are beyond any long term help--around the world there are so many that need help and anything we do is just helping them get thru the day-- we can do nothing to help them get thru next week or next month or next year. They just dont have the knowlege or the resources. There are millions of kids in the US with no hospital insurance and who are on welfare-- living day to day.

  • Harrison Bergeron Oct 4, 2007

    "Yes Harrison. I wake up after a six hour nap expecting to see pehaps 100 posts railing against the absolute truths I stated and I get.... nothing.... Are liberals just too lazy to lie today? Or if when the truth is so glaring and its antithesis is so ponderously indefensible have liberals finally learned just to shut up? No, gotta be the former cause the truth never stopped a single liberal and never will." -Steve Crisp

    Steve,

    1. I envy you with the 6 hour nap.

    2. Perhaps the lack of responses is due to the moderator's crack-down on ad hominem posts, the liberal's weapon of choice?

  • Steve Crisp Oct 4, 2007

    Yes Harrison. I wake up after a six hour nap expecting to see pehaps 100 posts railing against the absolute truths I stated and I get.... nothing. Absolutely nothing, well one post that invokes the anecdotal story of one family and another that mention three programs with none or very limited exposure in Africa.

    Are liberals just too lazy to lie today? Or if when the truth is so glaring and its antithesis is so ponderously indefensible have liberals finally learned just to shut up? No, gotta be the former cause the truth never stopped a single liberal and never will.

  • hholmes2 Oct 4, 2007

    It's amazing to me that that a story of human compassion and activism could expose such provincialism. If there were enough folks like the Hamps, America could put a major dent in human suffering both at home and abroad. I will find a way to support this effort as well as Habitat for Humanity, Communities in Schools, Food Bank and other organizations that are concerned about the well being of children.

  • taylor boy Oct 4, 2007

    I'll work for a non-profit org. My wife does.

More...