Dear Aninga Project Supporters,
Happy New Year! I hope that 2015 is off to a great start.
Your support, encouragement and donations made 2014 The Aninga Project’s most successful year to date. Knowing that we have you to thank for all of our success, I requested permission to share this email with you. I received it from Constance, the head of our organization in Uganda. Constance travelled with her husband, Dr. Asiki, and their three year old daughter, Ayike, to Koboko District for Christmas. They invited all of the girls whom The Aninga Project supports and their guardians to join them for Christmas dinner. Here is what happened:
It was a beehive of activity at our village home with over 150 people in attendance so we were on our toes the whole time. We had a thanksgiving ceremony for the project from 3pm and ended at 10pm on Christmas day. We gave updates on the project, introduced the beneficiaries to the community and gave a brief on the selection criteria. The beneficiaries all had a chance to give us their feedback and their stories visibly touched the community.
It was evident that the project had picked people in most need of support and is therefore making a tremendous difference in the lives of these girls. They were so grateful for the support being given to them that has enabled them to get an opportunity to be educated. They said without the project they had no hope of continuing with their education. The two girls in their second year of university told the community, “Without this project we had never dreamed of going to the university but now we have made it and are now counted as respectable people in the community. Our lives will never be the same again.”
The girls all travelled from different parts of Koboko District and some of them spent the night at our home in the village as it was too late for them to back to their homes. One of them said, “When we heard that this thanksgiving was organized, we borrowed money for me to travel with my guardian to attend from Arua- this project has changed my life because I have no one else to help me. My dream is to complete my studies and also help my siblings.”
After the testimonies from the beneficiaries, I gave updates on the project- what the project gives and does not give, the role of the caregivers/guardians and the community. I encouraged the community to invest in girls’ education so that people can be lifted out of poverty. This was followed by a sermon by the current Archdeacon of Koboko who encouraged the community to join hands in helping the less privileged and also thanked the donors in Canada for their kindness in helping the community in Koboko to become better. He prayed for God to bless the project and the donors for sacrificing their hard-earned money to help others.
Personally, I was struck by the impact The Aninga Project has in the community- I think it had never really sunk deep how much the beneficiaries appreciate the support given to them. All who were present appreciated that the project was helping the orphans and widows in the community who would otherwise be incapable of helping themselves to get the girls educated. In the words of one of the community members, “Aninga is a question- it means whose? The answer is Anika which means ours. This project is helping our own ‘ours’. We are very grateful.”