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.
Esther( age 13) and Allen (age 13)
The least of our brothers and sisters are not always the smallest or youngest. Sometimes they are teens.
When looking to sponsor it is easy to be drawn to the young children. Young children (age 12 or younger) in general are sponsored much faster. This leaves many teens waiting, and waiting and waiting.
Lillian, is beginning a lifetime of service to others, thanks to Caritas.
As a Sister, the mission of my vocation is to reach out with compassion to the marginalized of society in the spirit of St. Francis, our core founder. We strive to reach many parts of Africa with limited resources; the uneducated, the oppressed and the less privileged.
Our calling, which empowers us with the knowledge and skills to better serve within the community we live, includes: nursing, education, and social work and is always imbued with our Francican spirituality . I am a registered midwife with great passion for mothers and children. It’s always my joy to see them thriving.
In Africa, women have always been neglected. Women are not allowed to own property, can’t seek leadership roles, and are even denied some basic foodstuffs. Because of a lack of education, girls are often forced to marry at an early age. As their bones are not fully ossified they end up with child birth complications like fistulas, obstructed labor, hemorrhage or even death. Those young mothers, a key component to the continuity of life in Africa, need to be handled with great care by a skilled person, especially during delivery.
As religious we serve in remote, doctor-free, areas where often the only assistance available are nursing assistants with limited knowledge.
The challenge I faced as a midwife was finding people with varied conditions that would turn up at the health center seeking more medical attention than I was qualified to provide. That challenge inspired me to expand my training for wider areas as a nurse. Training to manage different medical and surgical conditions would allow me to provide better health care for those seeking varieties of medical attention.
My dreams came to reality when I was able to pursue a bachelor’s level nursing degree, which includes four years of clinical practice studies and a one year internship.
Nursing is a noble and interesting profession that requires a broad mind, critical thinking, total dedication and sacrifice. Thus far, I have completed two years of studies, and the resulting experience has been of immense value at school and at clinical practice sites. My studies have included general nursing, first aid, guidance and counseling, improved communication skills, and various medical and surgical conditions and their management.
I believe a nursing degree and my midwifery skills will greatly benefit any community where I am sent to serve in my role, both as a Nurse Practitioner and a religious sister. I’ll be able to take care of the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of many different people for God’s greater glory and honor.
My special thanks go to my congregation for connecting me with CARITAS For Children to further my education. Thanks be to God for His call for us to be set apart to serve His people in different ways in His vineyard. I feel privileged to have had such a golden opportunity. God’s blessings be upon our visionary leaders and all our supporting congregational members.
Thanks to CARITAS for the unique works of love and care of God’s people. CARITAS, you have touched so many lives, far and near, and restored hope by providing them a future. I am extremely happy and grateful to God to be part of the CARITAS family of beneficiaries. May peace, love, unity and prosperity reign upon the entire CARITAS family and bless all the its collaborators throughout the world. Long live CARITAS For Children.
To Michael my dear sponsor and father, I have no better words of thanking you, nothing to give back, apart from my hard work, making you feel proud, and my prayers for you for God’s protection and guidance. You have a special passion and attribution for nurses and their work. It’s from this view you sacrificed your assets to educate a nurse and a sister. You are such a loving, caring and generous person to enable me to realize my goals, dreams and God’s plan for me. Thanks for your thoughtfulness and kindness of heart through CARITAS to ensure I am comfortable at school and many different clinical practice sites. It’s in giving we receive and God loves a cheerful giver. May He reward you abundantly for your generosity of heart and grant you good health of mind, body and soul. It’s my prayer that God inspires more people like you so more young people can seek knowledge, to become supported to achieve their goals and careers in life through CARITAS, empowering them with skills of service to Gods people.
Finally, my special thanks to Mr. Chris, such a hardworking and dedicated person. Thanks for being a loving and caring father. Thanks for the coordination and collaboration with Michael, helping make everything run smoothly. You are always there for me to speak my mind, even when I feel I have nothing to say. Thanks for your total commitment in serving God’s people in CARITAS for His needy children. There is joy in service, may God grant you His fulfillment here on earth and in the life to come.
Sr. Beth...with His love.