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Upcoming Uganda Trip

by Debra Dawson
orphan girls in Sudan

Last May I visited the ASAH girls while they were on spring school break. St. Noa Junior and Senior Boarding School houses them during the breaks, where they take computer classes and participate in sports and tutoring. Our staff and the school bus driver takes them on field trips. My January trip will be a little different. Two supporters are traveling with me. Randy Schatz hopes to do some aid work in the future and is exploring Uganda as a potential place where he could do some good. Paul Fields, a member of the Lutheran Church of Peace in Platteville, WI, has traveled with me a number of times. This church built our kitchen/dining compound in Duk Payuel. The compound was almost completed when the village was attacked in 2014 and our students fled. The congregation has stood with us through the many changes as we located our students in refugee camps in three countries and moved them to Moyo, Uganda where we stayed for three years. Last January, we moved our students to Kampala and enrolled them at St. Noa. In January, we will celebrate the high school graduation of our first girl in Uganda, Deborah Yar, a top student.

Girls without relatives in Uganda will stay with friends through Christmas. World-wide, aid organizations don’t have sufficient funds to fulfill all the food needs, and camp rations have been cut drastically, resulting in hunger. We sent our students with food rations to feed themselves and their families through the duration of their stay. Your generous donations helped us provide this outreach. Our girls will be welcomed by their extended families because they miss them, and the food makes their visit even more important.

We will travel to Gulu District in northern Uganda where our older students will be participating in a vocation training program at ChildVoice International. If you look at their link for December, you will see their graduates this year. One of the ASAH girls, Sarah, is pictured. ChildVoice enables vulnerable Ugandan and South Sudanese girls to learn skills to support themselves. They were there for us when Sarah needed their help. Now our other students will have a chance each January to participate in their vocational training and agricultural program, learning skills that will help them no matter what they choose in the future. We are now planning for the futures of our students. Some may choose to learn a trade to support themselves after high school, while others may qualify for a college or university.

From there, the older girls will travel with me, Paul, and Randy to the camps to distribute underwear and washable sanitary pads that were donated to ASAH. These supplies are needed in refugee camps where girls who reach puberty are often homebound due to lack of these supplies. If you are interested in sewing pads, please visit our sewing patterns page. Any products received by January 10 will be packed for the trip. If you want to make these supplies in the future, I will find a home for them on the next trip.

About the Author

Debra DawsonDebra Dawson

Deb Dawson is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, businesswoman, teacher, humanitarian, and philanthropist. She holds a B.S. Ed. in Education and English, and an MFA in Creative Writing. Her role as mother to biological, step, and internationally adopted children led her to write When Love is Not Enough, a memoir about the way mothers and daughters forge relationships in the face of tremendous obstacles.

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