FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Buyamba Sandwich Company is one of the newest tenants at Electric Works in Fort Wayne. The owners say when you buy a sandwich at their east coast-inspired deli, you’re supporting two charities that are saving and changing lives thousands of miles from northeast Indiana.
Buyamba is a village in Uganda, Africa and the word itself means “to help” which is the true mission of this local eatery.
Ray of Hope Medical Missions
Rebecca Ghent is part owner of Buyamba Sandwich Company and founder of Ray of Hope Medical Missions, an organization that provides life-saving medical procedures for children from underdeveloped countries.
More recently, the not-for-profit opened a maternity center in the small, unreached village of Buyamba, Uganda where they’ve helped reduce the infant mortality rate from 64% to less than 1%.
“It was just the lack of adequate care,” said Ghent, who has spent time in the village herself. “We offer prenatal and post-natal delivery service free of charge to the villagers.”
Since the center opened in 2019, about 1,300 babies have been born in Buyamba.
“It’s all about love and compassion and baby and mama health and that’s what we strive for and that’s what we’ve achieved there,” said Ghent.
The maternity center is staffed by native Ugandans and costs about $3,600 a month to run, according to Ghent. Money from the Fort Wayne restaurant will help keep the maternity center staffed and supplied with everything it needs.
Eventually, with profits from the restaurant, Ray of Hope will continue its mission of bringing children from impoverished countries to the United States for medical procedures.
Watch Rebecca Ghent talk more about the mission of Ray of Hope:
Empowered International is the second non-profit that gets funding from Buyamba Sandwich Company.
The organization was founded by Scott Jester, another owner of the restaurant. He met Rebecca Ghent through church.
“Our philosophy of mission, kind of how we do mission, that definitely lined up,” he said.
It’s all about sustainability, says Jester, and that’s the heart and soul of Empowered International which started in 2016 with a location in Haiti.
“Empowered International is a spiritual formation, and business entrepreneurship training program for young adults coming out of difficult, poor, marginalized contexts. It’s a 2 year intensive program where they have to develop a business and – we like to say- learn and lead like Jesus.”
With the help of sandwich sales in Fort Wayne, even more young adults will have the opportunity to pursue brighter futures in Haiti.
“Seeing lives change and seeing them be able to impact both themselves, and it’s not just about themselves and their families, but those around them, impact their society, really make a difference within the community around them,” said Jester. “It’s super encouraging.”
Watch Scott Jester talk more about the mission of Empowered International:
Jester says Empowered International plans to open additional locations in southeast Fort Wayne and in Buyamba, Uganda, and Ghent says the owners of Buyamba Sandwich Company are looking into opportunities to support Fort Wayne-based not-for-profits as well.