TWO Southland women are heading to Uganda to help feed, bath, dress, play with and read to babies and toddlers there, and complete a mural and gardening project.
Invercargill Sunrise Rotary Club committee members Christine Pryde and Christine Fraser Wilson, both of Invercargill, along with some friends, would be flying to Uganda this weekend to help at the Fountain of Peace Children’s Foundation children’s village in the country’s Kyenjojo District for three weeks, Mrs Pryde said.
“Our club has made a commitment to support Fountain of Peace since 2014. This will be my second trip – I’m going back to see what’s happening with programmes we helped support in 2015. I’m really excited and looking forward to reconnecting with the people involved. It’s even more exciting this time around because the first time I was quite anxious.”
The group would also be exploring the possibility of implementing a future water and sanitation project while there, she said.
Fountain of Peace Children’s Foundation New Zealand executive director Jane Laurie, who is leading the team, said the Children’s Village, founded in 2007, was home to 42 children aged from newborns to 3-year-olds.
New Zealanders had been helping out since 2012 and in that time 10 groups of Kiwis, mostly southerners, had visited to help out with various projects, she said.
“It’s encouraging for people in Uganda to see familiar faces come back – some real connections have been made… with teams going over it also validates where the funds are going,” she said.
Mrs Pryde said the atmosphere at the Babies Home was loving and the toddlers were all taught the value of sharing the little they had.
“They’ve been given a lifeline by the support they get from Fountain of Peace and they’ll be able to hopefully continue the good work themselves [when they become adults] and the cycle will change,” she said.
Mrs Laurie said, sadly, poverty was so dire in the region only the most vulnerable orphaned and abandoned babies could be rescued into the charity’s care and saved from neglect, abuse and hunger.
The good news was that each child now had a hope for a brighter future, receiving love and care and having the opportunity to attend a school established in the village by Fountain of Peace, she said.
The school presently had 430 children attending, with each child receiving a meal.
A child could be fed for a year with a $36 donation, or for a month with just $3.