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.