Volume 12, No. 3
Winter 2009
IOCC and Orthodox Church
Reach Uganda's Youth
Apostolos (third from left) lost his parents to AIDS and found himself at the tender age of 14 responsible for 6 brothers and sisters. Today, he hopes to go to university and study law with help from the Uganda Orthodox Church and IOCC. (Photo credit: Z. O'Dell/IOCC Ethiopia)
Katente, Uganda — Far off the main road linking the capital city of Kampala with the Lake Victoria commercial port of Jinja, children lie in wait near the trenched ditches along dirt roads, waiting for white ants to climb out of their hills before the heat of the sun drives the insects underground again. With weathered plastic cups in hand they hope to catch as many of these delicacies as possible.

For many children in this area, these white ants may represent their biggest source of nutrients. The HIV/AIDS epidemic and civil war over the past two decades have left a wake of extreme poverty and large families parentless and displaced from their homes.

Along that same road is a clearing and the site of St. Mary Parish of the Uganda Orthodox Church (UOC). Here, the Orthodox Church provides a haven for orphans and vulnerable children to get food, education, and perhaps a little dignity. Through its primary and secondary schools at the St. Mary Parish, the UOC is providing hundreds of children throughout Uganda with schooling, books, and uniforms.

"I have seen much suffering and violence in my lifetime, and I do not want the same for my brothers and sisters," says Apostolos, 20, who is the eldest of six orphaned siblings. "After our parents died it was just me left to provide for our family, and I was scared because I was still so young."

IOCC is helping to support the St. Mary Parish primary and secondary schools through a new agricultural project. IOCC is constructing a poultry farm and corn mill at the school which will provide students with a marketable skill. Local villagers will also benefit from the ability to mill their corn crop locally instead of incurring the expense of milling in Kampala. And the school will be able to defer some of the costs of sponsoring children through the income brought in by the mill and the poultry.

Additionally, IOCC is providing regulation desks for classrooms, which will allow the schools to be nationally certified for proctoring end of year exams. "Before we had these desks, the school was paying for the costs of students who had to travel long distances to take the year-end exam," remarks headmaster James Kakende. "Now, that money can be spent on sponsoring new children, and local families will have more money left for their survival needs."

After spending more than 6 years living and studying in Katente, and being financially supported by the school, Apostolos is poised to graduate high school next year. "With the help of the school I have been educated, and given income to support my brothers and sisters, and I am no longer scared for the future." Apostolos hopes to be able to attend University and study law.

by Zachary O'Dell
IOCC Ethiopia


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In This Issue

After War's Devastation, IOCC Helps Refugees Rebuild Their Lives

Message from the Executive Director

Small Blessings Provide Big Impact for Georgians Recovering from War

IOCC and Orthodox Church Reach Uganda's Youth

IOCC Partnering to Give Children in U.S. a Head Start

New Grant Broadens Romanian Orthodox Church's Social Service

IOCC Volunteer Highlight: Anne Pourakis Alexandrou

The Will To Help

Donated Cars Still A Vehicle For Change

Become an IOCC Parish Representative

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