Bendigo aid group Uganda-bound

A GROUP of Bendigo residents will travel to Uganda today on an aid mission.

Representatives from Connect Church Bendigo, a Christian church, formed Connect Uganda and will spend three weeks helping out international aid organisation Watoto.

Connect Uganda, with the help of the church and Bendigo community, has raised $40,000 to build a house for orphans.

The group has also gathered about 50kg of resources, including craft equipment and books.

Connect Uganda member Glenda Serpell said the country was still recovering from civil war and the aids crisis, and was in need of assistance.

“We’re taking a team of 14 men and women to be involved in an international aid organisation called Watoto,” Ms Serpell said.

“I’ve been there several times before and the need is huge in Uganda for aid ... We have a two pronged approach to our project this time.

“We’ve raised the funds with the help of the church and the Bendigo community to build a home as part of Watoto’s project to rescue children, rescue orphans.

“So we’re building a home.”

Ms Serpell said the male members of Connect Uganda would help build the home while the women would lend a hand to Living Hope.

“Wototo and this organisation have gathered the most vulnerable women from the community,” she said.

“All are widows, all are HIV-positive and Wototo gathers them from all the outlying communities and brings them in to this program, Living Hope.

“So we’re taking over a program to add to their lives. 

“In Living Hope they’re looked after, they’re educated, their medical needs are catered for, they’re discipled, they’re taught skills to take back to their communities to help them to become self sustainable and help them stay alive, basically. 

“Wototo recognises that there are so many orphans because there are not enough mums to look after them. 

“So our program is feeding into that and we’re taking over different crafts and different skills that these women can take back to their communities.”

Ms Serpell said the next three weeks were bound to be an eye-opener.  

“These women have been through life circumstances that we can’t even comprehend,” she said.

“Many of them are ex-child soldiers. Some of their stories would just break you.  

“For us to go and say, ‘We love you, we care enough to come from the other side of the world just to show that’, is huge.”

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