Kevin's otherwise happy upbringing was interrupted by the sudden death of her father in 2009, when she was 10 years old. Her mother and older brother, valiant and strong, family-oriented individuals, took over the responsibility of paying for her education and supporting her general health & welfare from that point on. Kevin was able to complete Primary & Secondary-level school with exemplary remarks, and blossomed from a helpless child into an upstanding and optimistic individual.
On a warm morning in late May, three siblings woke up in the village of Nkokonjeru in southern Uganda and prepared themselves for school. Elvin, being the oldest sibling at seventeen, tried to rouse their mother, but she was in a deep sleep, recovering from a terrible headache she suffered the night before. He returned to his sisters, Evelyn the middle sibling and Elena the youngest, and made sure they were ready for the day. A knock came at the door before they had time to leave, and since his mother was asleep, Elvin answered. It was their neighbor, a friend of the family, inquiring about their mother. Elvin kindly told her that their mother was still asleep, which the neighbor took to be odd. She asked to enter the home, and Elvin stood aside to let her past. To her horror, the neighbor entered the home to find the mother lying lifeless in her bed. She had passed in her sleep.
In order to tell Sylvia's story, one must first understand the circumstances that her single father battled while raising 12 children. His first four children were born of his first wife, whom he loved dearly. When she passed away, he was left alone in care of four young souls who he desperately wanted to be able to go to school.
Brenda has been a CARITAS child nearly all of her life. With the help of her previous sponsor, she was able to finish Primary and Secondary School, where her favorite subject quickly became Math.
This week, we are shedding the spotlight on a 14-year-old student from Nkokonjeru, Uganda named Victoria Vision who is seeking someone to support the remainder of her Secondary-level education. Having been previously sponsored through CARITAS, she was able to complete Primary School and reach the second year of Secondary School (equivalent to sophomore year of high school in the U.S.). During her first two years at Secondary School, she discovered that her favorite subject is Chemistry, and decided that she would like to become a midwife who helps poor mothers who don't have the access to a proper hospital. Unfortunately, Victoria's previous sponsor is no longer available and so she has no-one to provide support to continue her education and achieve her dream.
In Uganda, families band together in times of strife. The child we are featuring this week, a young and optimistic 18-year old from Uganda, lost both of her parents to HIV/AIDS-related sickness when she was six years old. She was immediately taken in by her maternal grandmother, who eventually became too old to care for her. Maria has been living with her maternal uncle and her maternal aunt has helped pay some of the school bills but has a low-income job so could not afford the entire payment. Regardless of her inability to pay for school, Maria's aunt kept her housed, fed and safe, a miraculous feat that was only made possible by the help of other extended family members like her uncle.
At CARITAS, we hear many stories. The Field Coordinators at each of our locations are constantly providing daily updates that pertain to the status of our programs, as well as any special-need cases among the students. We approach each story that crosses our desks with care, drawing confidence from past experience with students that completed our program and raised themselves up out of disadvantaged life circumstances. And, although we know there are many who still need our help, we have faith that the optimistic stories of our successful children will reverberate notions of hope and perseverance through the communities in which we serve.
There are many reasons to lend your hand in service to impoverished or disadvantaged people. You may want to change the world for the better, even if by a small fraction of what you wish you could do. Maybe you're seeking additional spiritual fulfillment and have been directed towards the path of service by someone at your church. Perhaps you crave learning and wish to be immersed in an unfamiliar culture, or maybe you simply have some extra time on your hands. The reason is not what matters. If service is even but a fleeting thought in your mind, pursue it. There are many in this world who need help and have not the means to help themselves. The only solution is love and the recognition that everyone is the same in the eyes of the Lord.
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CARITAS needs your help. Any amount will help families and children in need around the world by:
- Expanding and growing our sponsorship programs and locations
- Providing supplemental tuition costs and vital resources of daily meals, clothing and supplies for a quality education
- Developing diocesan/parish-based Catholic Outreach Programs to support our total sponsorship/support ministry
- Aiding for inter-country adoption of children for families in the United States
- Creating initiatives around the world culturally and spiritually connecting families and individuals
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Besides his work with CARITAS For Children for over 16 years, Mr. Joseph Kkonde has also been the Deputy Head Master (Teacher) for 20 years at Stella Maris Primary Boarding School in Uganda. He is truly heart-driven to guide and care for all of the children who are supported through our CARITAS-Families.
Joseph, along with another local Field Coordinator, Alon Wangi, are committed to understanding, guiding, and communicating the children’s needs to our CARITAS team here in the US. They enable CARITAS to best work together, along with the children’s sponsors, in providing the highest of possible benefits for each child’s overall needs and well-being.
Be sure to scroll down to meet four young women, just some of the pioneers of Caritas from Nkokonjeru village (Lugazi Diocese), now ready for life.