For the last edition of ICN I wrote to the Editor from Rukiga in Uganda, using a borrowed computer fired by solar power. Our visit there was a real success. We returned safely with lots of information, new contacts and ideas about how Ickenham can link with Rukiga over the coming years.
I hope that you like the name of our project – CLICK Rukiga (Community Links ICKenham)! So, now that we are back, what next? You may have seen some preliminary feedback in the Leader and the Gazette on what we saw. These two local papers have already agreed to support our project and they have taken the lead in being the first to sponsor one of 50 children from Rukiga.
World Vision, our main partner in Rukiga, is giving us lots of support. They have identified the 50 children who need sponsors and they will ensure that the sponsored children receive the best value from the £18 per month (that’s 60p per day) that it costs for an individual or group in Ickenham to sponsor a child. Helped by this money, the children and the communities in which they live will have better education, health and much improved living conditions. Child sponsorship is just one part of the CLICK Rukiga project. If anyone wants to sponsor a child, they should contact me, Mike Whitlam, on 01895 678169 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since we returned, our steering group has met to consider which priorities to propose to the two churches and the community of Ickenham. We feel the initial priorities should include the child sponsorship programme mentioned here, prayer and communication links, as well as support for one significant development project. There are currently two options for the major project. One is ensuring that everyone in Rukiga has good access to clean and safe water. This is an essential basic need and we will be discussing with both churches how to make the provision of clean water a reality. The second key challenge involves healthcare and in particular combating HIV/Aids and malaria. Both these health problems kill many people in Rukiga. By the time the December edition of ICN goes to print, we will have decided which of these two significant developments will be taken forward first.
But from now onwards, we want to meet as many people in Ickenham, in schools, clubs, societies, businesses and any other way, so that we can share some of the 1000 pictures we have brought back, and explore with you how you can get involved with the people of Rukiga. Remember this is the area that was overrun with Rwandan refugees fleeing the genocide in the mid nineties.
If your group or business would like us to come and meet you, please get in touch. One or more of the team will be happy to give a presentation or just discuss the options for involvement.
And over the coming months in ICN we will tell you more about the different aspects of CLICK Rukiga, the people and their needs – so watch this space.
DROP-IN FOR THE BEREAVED. Third Monday of each month. St Giles’ Church Hall, 2pm to 3.30pm. A friendly, informal opportunity for a chat, over a cup of tea, with other bereaved people and pastoral visitors. The next meeting is on Monday 19th November (then Monday 17th December). Just come along, or ring the Rectory (622970) if you would like to talk to someone first.