Jorja Hinks, 9, decided last spring while she was volunteering in Uganda at a local orphanage with her family that she did not want the experience to be her last in the east African nation.
“That was the best experience of my life,” said Jorja, a Grade 4 student at Goulds Elementary, citing the connections she made with other children at the orphanage.
While in Uganda, Jorja played games with the children, some of whom attempted to teach her Swahili words. She taught them to play the card game Uno, amongst other things.
Along with her mother, Tracy Langdon, Jorja is set to make a return trip to Mpigi this spring, the community where the Bread From Heaven orphanage is located. Last year, the pair, along with others, raised close to $20,000 in Newfoundland and Labrador. That money was used to purchase a vehicle for the orphanage and build a multipurpose room. According to Langdon, the room is used to dine in and for group activities.
Given the local school does not have a enough space to accommodate its students, some classes are also being held in the multipurpose room.
The Bread From Heaven orphanage recently lost its main sponsor, a Christian organization based in Ontario called For The Least of Them. Langdon said that organization is now focusing its efforts on work in the Philippines. For The Least of Them Ministries, which is based out of Fort Erie, Ont., is not a registered charity.
“Newfoundlanders probably have the most sponsorship of the children in the orphanage, and they’ve really stepped up to the plate now and taken over the sponsorship program,” said Langdon.
Sponsorship of the orphanage is now handled by Bread From Heaven Outreach International Uganda. A Facebook group under that name was started earlier this month.
This year, the focus of fundraising is empowerment through education. According to Langdon, tuition for school costs $75 Canadian each year. Uniforms cost $10 and shoes $15.
“We want to make a contribution that will lead to future sustainability that will give them the tools to become independent and have a future,” said Langdon.
The current fundraising goal for what’s billed as “Jorja’s Journey — Empower Orphans” is $20,000, with half that total to be devoted to education. Langdon said fundraising efforts thus far have fallen well short of that goal — she could not specify an exact figure for how much money has been raised.
Hand-knitted cosies for mugs are being sold for $5 each, of which approximately 150 have been sold, and several events are scheduled to take place over the next month, including an Easter party in Witless Bay on April 13. A campaign called “Give Change — Make Change” has also been launched, encouraging people to collect change in aid of the orphanage.
As was the case last year, donated items are also being collected to take back to Uganda. Langdon said there is a particular need for medication such as Tylenol, ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
Jorja and her mom will be among a group of six people leaving the province April 29 to travel to Uganda for a two-week stay.
— Weblink: https://www.facebook.com/JorjasJourneysEmpoweringOrphans https://www.facebook.com/groups/542081149239309/