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In June 2017, a team will head from the chaplaincy to work for two weeks in Uganda, East Africa.
The team will be spread across two projects, set up by two local charities – Abaana, and Waakisa Ministries.
This overall goal is to support and strengthen relationships with our two partner charities, with whom we began working over two years ago. In June 2015, a team of 17 people previously made the first trip to Uganda, and since then the chaplaincy has continued to support, fundraise for, pray for, and sponsor projects with Abaana and Waakisa.
The name ‘Abaana’ comes from an Ugandan language, and means ‘children’. Abaana is a Bangor-based charity, with 7 staff in Northern Ireland, and 8 on the ground in Uganda.
Since 1998, Abaana has raised over £1,500,000 to build schools, to provide clean water, medical care and education.
Abaana has also built 6 ‘New Life Homes’ for children at risk. These houses are each home to 10-12 street kids (boys). The goal of the project is to prepare the boys to attend the New Foundations School, and be placed with a foster family.
Waakisa Ministries is another charity founded locally, with a well-known charity shop in East Belfast which raises support for their work.
The Waakisa Centre in Uganda aims to provide care and support to young vulnerable girls who are pregnant and alone, and to deliver health education programmes to local schools and churches. The Centre currently hosts up to 50 girls and their babies.
Waakisa undertakes personal development plans with each of the girls they help, helping to educate them in motherhood and useful life skills. By providing medical care, pastoral support and community to those in need, they aim to support vulnerable young women at a pivotal moment in their lives.
Partnership We are partnering with these two projects because they reflect many of the aims of The Hub’s work with our own students: providing homes, community, education and support.
Support We will be supporting both projects through a variety of practical and manual tasks; by running children’s clubs; by assisting in education work; through schools’ work; and by providing relief work with street kids.
Investment As a chaplaincy, we want to invest in the lives of those who go on the team, helping to cultivate their awareness of issues such as poverty, education, healthcare, housing – and how they might respond to such needs.
Catalyst We want this to be the start of an ongoing relationship, supporting these projects alongside growing the potential for future teams. We also want to inspire each member of the of the team to engage further with these issues, and work with them beyond university.
Funds for the cost of the trip and donations to each project are being partly met by personal contributions for each team member, together with support from the chaplaincy.
However, the team are also planning to fundraise through a variety of events and activities – more information coming soon!