November 5, 2012

Compassion Interview with Mentor Siraji


Ever wonder how in the world we keep track of 600 children, their families, and all of their needs?

Due to the ever growing size of our sponsorship program, Amazima could simply not function without all of the hard work of our mentors.  Each mentor is assigned a group of children to oversee.  This includes carrying out family home visits, medical appointments, attending to school issues, and counseling the children and families with any problem they may have.  All of our mentors are caring, compassionate, and wise individuals who have quickly won the affection of not only the children, but of the entire staff of Amazima!

It is our privilege to be able to introduce to you some of our phenomenal staff. None of our work here is possible without their hard work and dedication.We can't wait to introduce the rest of the mentors as well but for now meet Siraji, whose joy is always written across his face and continues to inspire the rest of us.



Siraji comes from the district of Kamuli, Uganda.  He is 27 years old and is the fifth child of a family of 13 children.   His family has very little education and in fact, he is the first one to obtain a degree.  He earned a BA in Social work and Administration as well as a Certificate in Christian Foundations from Kampala International University.  Currently he is paying for eight of his siblings to go to school.

Siraji has worked with Innovation for Poverty Action as well as Compassion International.   Siraji is always smiling, friendly, and incredibly charismatic.  It is impossible to walk away from a conversation with Siraji without a smile on your face as his laughter truly is contagious! He enjoys preaching the Gospel as well as taking part in research and public speaking.

It was such a joy to interview Siraji. You are going to think these answers are edited, but they are straight from his heart. We are so blessed by his wisdom and heart for Jesus!

You deal with difficult situations everyday.  
How do you maintain a sense of compassion throughout all of it? 

First of all, what keeps me going is being a Christian.  If I were not a Christian, I would help, but not as much as I do now.  Now, I can work late into the night, waking up from sleep, going to children who are in need because I am a Christian. I feel like I am truly transformed.

Secondly, I am used to experiences of suffering.  I have grown up seeing them.   I was brought up in a very humble family. To give you an example, I put on my first shoe when I was 14 years old.   I grew up sleeping on banana leaves.  Our family had many famines. When I see people going through what I went through, I feel the need to help because I am not in that position anymore.  I will not say that I am better than them, but I at least do have a job.  And I have reason to help them get out of it because I can relate to it.  When I get an opportunity to help, like with Amazima, I maximize the opportunity.  I want to exhaust myself with helping others so that a life is improved.

Lastly, someone helped me at one time.  My family could not afford my school fees and somebody contributed and made it possible for me to go to school.  Because of this I am indebted to help. Someone lent to me, and I have to give back.  I want to clarify that I give back freely. I don’t feel burdened. 

Who do you feel instilled in you your desire to help people?

When I worked at Canaan Children’s Home, my desire to help people was instilled in me by a man named Pastor Isaac.  Then also, my uncle gave me school fees with an open heart.  He was so compassionate.  He was helping more people than just me even.   Even from my early stages up until now that I am…can I say successful?  I don’t mean that in a prideful way, but I have my degree, which in this country is not easy.  But even up until now he has helped me.  Also, Katie and the Amazima staff has been incredibly inspirational to me in being compassionate towards others.

Have you ever found it easy to slip into apathy towards the suffering you see?

Actually, the busier I get the more I love it. I can never get tired.  The more the number of challenges comes in, the more opportunities I get to help.  As long as I have the ability to help, I don’t want to limit myself.   I do everything freely.  It really does give me joy.   This is why I became a social worker. 



You walk long distances every day to meet families, sit in clinics for hours at a time, ride crowded buses for entire mornings, and still seem to maintain a positive attitude.  Why do you do what you do and how do you remain so positive?

I need to remember that many times if I am not the one to do it, nobody will.  It is my responsibility to provide and to help these children.  Like the father to a family.  Whether I do it or not, it is my responsibility.  If you view ministry as a job, you will always have limitations.  But if you view it as your personal responsibility, you never have a limit.  My work is God-ordained.   God has given me this opportunity to serve with Amazima.  My heart and mind are fully convinced that I am here for a divine appointment and that is why I must work tirelessly.  The heaven has a task that I should fulfill here.  Even on a day I am feeling low, this will keep me positive.  Yesterday I was in the hospital for very long.  According to Amazima policy, I should have today off.  But I can’t do that when people need help.  I am not ultimately held accountable to Amazima policy.  I work in accordance to what God wants me to do.


What would your advice be to those of us who want to act compassionately to those around us?

 The first key thing that people need us to do is to give them time.   As long as we give them time, that is the first step of acting in compassion. 

Secondly, we don’t see compassion only in terms with money.  It is the way we speak and talk to people.  We can either encourage them our break them down.  It is important to let them know that they are loved.  This isn’t to say that we don’t discipline children here.  We should not spoil children in the name of compassion.  We need to discipline with compassion.

Thirdly, follow up.  If you have done something for someone, as if I have bought books for someone, it is important to check if the books are helping, if he is using them, etc.  

Most importantly, give what you can whenever you can.  If there is a need that you can meet, then please, give.  This is such an important part of compassion. 



43 comments:

  1. Love this guy's smile and his attitude. Praise the Lord for people like this!!

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  2. more more more! this was so helpful to flesh out--no pun intended--the work that is being done by amazima! nice to meet you, siraji.

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  3. such a wonderful heart formed by God...inspirational!!

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  4. You are blessed to have great mentors around you like Siraji. Greatness will attract Greatness and beauty to light and light to splendor. Father to Son,God to God, Husband to wife, Children, Neighbors, Families! I think that is what Jesus has always taught us. How to be family And love each other as yourself protect your neighbor for he may one day save your life. God Bless you Sweetheart!

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  5. Like the Royal Colors by the way!

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  6. May the Lord bless this man and his influence in these children's lives! I am overjoyed to see the Lord's work shining through Amazima Ministries and Siraji.

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  7. Amen..God will be with you!i'm sure that!!^^

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  8. God bless this man and all those who meet him! I have a lot to learn.

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  9. Great idea we will love to meet your "family" there.

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  10. I love what you said -- "If you view ministry as a job, you will always have limitations. But if you view it as your personal responsibility, you never have a limit." I put this on a post-it note and it is now on my desk at work. May God bless you and the work that you do!

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  11. Siraji, I can see Christ's light shining from your eyes. You are an example of a vessel of gold in the King's service. Here is a short prayer you may appreciate that my husband taught me: "Holy Jesus of the cross I yield myself to Thee, to live in obedience to Thy humility."

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  12. Such words of wisdom! God bless!!

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  13. God bless you Siraji! I love your outlook towards life and I'm sure you have been a huge role model to everyone :)

    -Madi

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  14. Complete inspiration. Absolutely edifying. Great story and great man.

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  15. Such courage and wisdom, we need more people like him in this world!

    PS. Thank you Siraji for helping out people in need.

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  16. Ahh... so incredibly encouraging. Jesus is so alive everywhere and it gets me pumped! I'm gonna be praying that God will keep molding his heart to be more like His :) Oh gosh... Jesus is so beautiful, oh my I love Him so much! He's so worthy of everything!

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  17. "If you view ministry as a job, you will always have limitations. But if you view it as your personal responsibility, you never have a limit." THESE words really speak to me and my situation. Thank you, Siraji! Your example of enthusiasm, love, and service inspired me today.

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  18. I am reading your book, Katie. It is very inspiring and educational. Meeting Siraji is great! I love his outlook on life. Even in this country,USA, there is poverty. My father didn't go to school until he was eight, he didn't have shoes. Bless this man's mentor for helping him and others. Now he is living what he was taught by helping others. We can all learn from his example, not giving from duty, but from love! It would be so easy in his circumstances to be bitter, instead he turned to love! Bless you all, and thank you!

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  19. what an awesome heart. May God Bless you

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  20. The world needs more men like him. May God bless Siraji

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  21. What wisdom and beauty...thank you. Some of these words are going down in my journal.

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  22. Wow. What wisdom in those words. Thank you for sharing them!

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  23. I really love his Nakumatt t-shirt! So awesome! Great staff you have.

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  24. Amazing work ethic, Godly conviction and insight! He needs to be a speaker that encourages churches and ministries!

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  25. That last line is so true and it hit me hard. When trying to figure out what God wants me to do for Him, it can be just as simple as this, "If there is a need that you can meet, then please, give." Thank you for putting it so simply.

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  26. Wow Siraji! Your heart is so big and you have allowed God to work so tremendously through you. Please keep sharing the wisdom God has given you with others. They need to hear this truth!! If you write a book, I want to buy it! May the Lord bless you always and strengthen you through all your life, hard times and good times.

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  27. May He richly bless you and your family! I feel like Paul by saying that I thank God for the remembrance of you. I pray you feel His Presence in such closeness.

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  28. May God bless him!

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  29. This was a nice interview. Thanks for sharing the same,

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  30. yes, thank you for sharing. You are an encouragement to me and my family. My family and I would like to visit Uganda and do a short term mission's trip to see what you do there and help in any way that we can. We are missionaries with Child Evangelism Fellowship, Inc. in the USA. My wife, myself and three of my teenage children would like to visit for 1-2 weeks. Is that possible? Regards

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  31. Thank you for allowing God's love pour through you to all around.

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  32. What you do is such an encouragement to me and my wife. May God richly bless you!

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  33. God bless you and your wonderful and positive attitude towards life(: You are so inspiring!

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  34. His positive attitude makes me feel so encouraged. Just knowing that you guys are doing this makes me encouraged.

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