Led by Ugandan native Calvin Echodu, Pilgrim Africa was founded as an indigenous Christian response to the plight of more than 1.5 million refugees living in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the war torn regions of Northern Uganda. From its inception over a decade ago as a small organization providing simple medical and nutritional relief and psycho-social support to desperate refugees, Pilgrim Africa has grown to be an international organization with regional and national interventions in Public Health and Education.
After several years of providing relief support to those suffering in the camps, Pilgrim Africa began to look to the future by working to resettle over 1,000 families from IDP camps to ancestral lands. Later, the Beacon of Hope Secondary School was founded in 2005, focused on educating abductees of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and war orphans.
Driven by Uganda’s suffering the worst malaria intensity rates in the world, Pilgrim Africa was moved to enter the world of malaria control in 2008, and pioneered a comprehensive set of interventions in two different districts in Teso (Katakwi and Kumi). Since 2009, Pilgrim Africa has been engaged in an effort to enroll more administrative support for effective malaria control at the governmental level.
WHAT IS A PILGRIM?
People often ask why an organization devoted to malaria control and education is called “Pilgrim”?
A Pilgrim is a person on a journey. This journey takes us through heights and depths, blessings, challenges, and, most importantly, leads us to places of hope, building our perseverance for the next step. The journey of the Pilgrim is life itself. Being a Pilgrim means believing that we are on the path to a home that we cannot and may not see in our lifetime, but we know is coming nonetheless. Pilgrims live set apart from their surroundings and are without a permanent dwelling, residing in and serving as a beacon of light and hope to every neighborhood, country, and space they find themselves in.
We all face the choice to accept or deny the identity of Pilgrim. Choosing to take this path on our journey means choosing to live into the reality that this world is not our final destination. Our home lies in the hope and promise that God’s reign will soon be fully integrated into this world. For Pilgrim Africa, this means no more death, pain, or suffering due to malaria. It means that children in Uganda have access and support to receive an education and empowers them to be global citizens and leaders. And finally, it means never facing a season without food due to weather conditions, disease, or human conflict.
We work as Pilgrims in a world that is not our home to bring the Kingdom of God into this place so people can see, hear, and believe in the hope that is Christ.
‘Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope…the death of dreams.’ That is what I see in my village in Africa.
Poverty is much more than the lack of money. It is also a lack of vision and direction – an absence of courage and faith to challenge the obstacles to community progress.
How do you save a lost village like mine? How do you rebuild their sacred hopes and rekindle the lost dreams hidden deep and unstirred for many years?
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” ~ Psalm 84:5