March 19, 2006

Recycling for Uganda

Sisters Margaret and Monica in East Ham have become increasingly involved facilitating some projects in Uganda. Initially we asked for sewing machines and computers from Sisters in the Institute and we sent these five to Africa in 2004. Since then we have widened our net and now have links to parishes and recycling centres in the East End and have sent 35 computers and 25 sewing machines plus 200 pairs of Clarke's shoes (donated by the boss) and sacks of children's clothes and books, given to us by local people. Tools and electrical goods have also been shipped to provide the resources for carpentry and light engineering work training for youngsters.

Mrs Josephine Nsubuga —
Project Co-ordinator for Josen Sewing Project—at work

A women's group which exists to enable economic independence to the members who struggle with unmotivated, unemployed husbands have built a shop and begun a catering enterprise solely on the resources they have gathered from our support. It is a humbling and happy experience to discover what these simple, courageous women are accomplishing with so little.

Hardware shop


We have enabled three charities to be set up, one in the city of Kampala and two in rural areas. The men and women responsible for these are known to us personally and give us amazing accounts of their activities. Their gratitude is overwhelming and sometimes I feel a bit like my childhood memories collecting for the "black babies" especially when one of the project directors told me his new baby was named Monica! At this time we are hoping to encourage more local people to sponsor a child or group, as the requests we receive are endless.

Southern Sudanese Refugees with Josen —Director, Computer and Sewing and Steel Projects Training—After Sunday Church Service

As with other countries, there are many Ugandan refugees and failed asylum seekers in London and we meet some of these in a Catholic community which gathers in Bethnal Green each month to celebrate Mass and solidarity.

So what begun with a few redundant Institute Machines has grown beyond measure. There are machines providing income and training, self respect and hope, to a large number of adults and children from Kampala in the south to Gulu in the north of that country which Winston Churchill called "The pearl Of Africa".

Irene handing over the 200 pounds to Betty The Treasurer (2004). This money started the hardware shop. The women are dressed in the group uniform.

Reprinted with permission from Eleison, issue no 241, newsletter of the Institute of Our lady of Mercy Great Britain.
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