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Good Samaritan Women’s Project

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This holiday season and beyond, I invite you to join me to assist a dear friend and fellow graduate of the Women Leaders for the World, Rosemary Nakijoba.

Rosemary is a social worker, teacher, and trainer with significant experience in Gender and HIV/AIDS Program Planning and Management. She has a Masters Degree in Development Studies at Martyr’s University in Uganda. She has just completed her PhD in Development Studies at the University of Western Cape, South Africa. She has two children of her own and is raising six additional children whose parents died from HIV/AIDS.

Good Samaritan Women’s Project

Rosemary (on the right in purple dress) founded the Good Samaritan Women’s Project (GSWP), a charitable NGO (non-profit), in Uganda, East Africa. Rosemary’s decision to launch GWSP came after she observed a group of young children rummaging for food in garbage bins and stopped to talk with them.

She learned that they were all orphans as their parents had died of AIDS and they were surviving however they could. As a social worker, she was already deeply concerned about the prevalence of orphan-headed families. This was the decisive moment for launching her non-profit.

AIDS in Uganda

In the 1990s Uganda had a model program for addressing and treating HIV/AIDS. However, it ultimately collapsed due to a countrywide recession as well as from the devastating consequences that AIDS continues to have across the country, personally, socially and economically. This is especially true for people living in rural Uganda where few services are available and those living with HIV/AIDS are heavily stigmatized.

According to Avert.org, a global HIV/AIDS information and resource site, in 2017 (the most current information available), 1.4 million Ugandans are living with HIV, with women and young women disproportionately affected, and millions of children are orphaned.

50,000 new HIV infections were reported in 2017 and there were 26,000 AIDS-related deaths. Despite major efforts on the part of medical professionals and social workers, new infections are projected to grow rapidly to 340,500 by 2025. Uganda has an orphan crisis of over 2.5 million (UNICEF)

Domestic funding for the national response and for any other projects is currently seriously underfunded and heavily donor dependent. GSWP is deeply committed to doing all they can to assist rural families impacted by HIV/AIDs with training, services and resources that will help them live better lives and with hope and dignity. Donor support for their work is critically needed!

Matilda Kasirida Lwasa walks through her farm in Lukaya, Uganda, where the Good Samaritan Women’s Project has helped rural women improve their financial literacy, thus improving the quality of life for the women, many of whom are widows who also care for children who lost their parents to AIDS. The program was funded by the Call to Prayer and Self-Denial of United Methodist Women. This woman is a widow in her 80s. Only one of her four children is still alive.

How I Met Rosemary

Rosemary and I first met in 2008 as fellow members of the Women Leaders for the World (WLW), then based at Santa Clara University. We re-met in Uganda in 2013, where she contributed invaluable planning for a weekend in Kenya where 20 of us created the Regional Alliance of East and South African Women Leaders. Rosemary led a program the following year for women leaders in Uganda who were unable to obtain US visas to attend the WLW training.

The work she and her staff do through GSWP assists girls, women,  orphans and families in rural areas to gain a variety of skills and resources critical for their survival. However, I didn’t know the full scope of her work until the winter of 2019, when she wrote to me asking for help as GSWP was out of funds. I was astonished by how much she has accomplished and continues to do for marginalized women, children and families. Without funds, however, she and her staff are at a serious impasse.

I told my website designer Kathy, about Rosemary’s plight. It was clear that she needed a better site from which to raise funds. Kathy, who has a huge heart said, “Let’s build her a new site!” I committed to working with Rosemary on the text, and to market and promote her work and site.

This year has been a huge learning curve for the three of us, most especially for Kathy. She had no idea about the challenges of no electricity or water (with no notice!) and networks being down, frequently three-to-five days a week. She didn’t know that no one has smart phones, that few people have credit cards, and that due to theft, money laundering and corruption, Pay Pal, fund-raising platforms and other methods for accepting donations are not available in Uganda! This last issue caught us all off guard. Ugandans volunteer their help but cannot afford to donate. This has been a huge breakdown, with only a few breakthrough possibilities.

The soon-to-launch website

The Impact on Women Due to Poverty and Family Crises

Women bear almost all responsibility for meeting the basic needs of the family, yet are systematically denied the resources, information and freedom of action they need to fulfill this responsibility.

The vast majority of the world’s poor are women. Two-thirds of the world’s illiterates are female. Of the millions of school age children not in school (families will pay for boys to attend if they can, but not girls) so the majority of uneducated children are girls. And today, HIV/AIDS is rapidly becoming a woman’s disease. In several southern African countries, more than three-quarters of all young people living with HIV are female.

The current world food price crisis is also having a severe impact on women. Around the world, millions of people eat two or three times a day, but a significant percentage of women eat only once. Now, many women are denying themselves even that one meal to ensure that their children are fed. These women are already suffering the effects of severe malnutrition, which inevitably will be their children’s fate as well. The impact of this crisis will be with Africans for many years.

Studies show that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. Their families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. In short, communities become more resilient. By helping GSWP, you will be part of the solution!

A women’s savings group meets in Lukaya, Uganda, where the Good Samaritan Women’s Project has helped rural women improve their financial literacy, thus improving the quality of life for the women, many of whom are widows who also care for children who lost their parents to AIDS. The program was funded by the Call to Prayer and Self-Denial of United Methodist Women.

How Your Donations Empower Women, Girls, Orphans and Families

  • $10 will purchase drugs to deworm two pigs.
  • $15 will provide feed to an out-of-school child to help support her pig.
  • $20 will buy one pig for an out-of-school child to raise and sell for profit.
  • $120 will provide one pigsty built from local materials and local labor
    for an out-of-school student (student without funds to attend school).
  • $10 will provide school supplies for a student attending secondary school.
  • $5 will buy 3 class books and a small English dictionary.
  • $ 25 will provide a girl with necessary sanitary products and medicine for a year.
  • $ 50 will provide a student with a school uniform, socks, shoes, and undergarments.
  • $100 will help underwrite the cost of girls’ reproductive health classes held during their school holidays.
  • $250 annually provides a primary student’s uniform, meals, medicine, and supplies for one school year.
  • $325 annually provides a primary student’s uniform, meals, medicine, and supplies for one school year. The donation will also provide a student’s case management inclusive of counseling services.

You may also request that your donation be used for additional programs such as: 

  • Basic farming practices to supplement a family’s diet.
    Supplies for setting up or expanding a craft collective.
    Anti-viral medications for babies, children, or caregivers.
 Children get dressed for school in the morning in Lukaya, Uganda, where the Good Samaritan Women’s Project has helped rural women improve their financial literacy, thus improving the quality of life for the women, many of whom are widows who also care for children who lost their parents to AIDS. The program was funded by the Call to Prayer and Self-Denial of United Methodist Women. These children belong to an extended family, where a widow with three children has adopted her sister’s four children after her sister died.

Please help the Good Samaritan Women’s Project with a donation of any size!

Rosemary and all the women and children the project supports need help. You are welcome to choose how you would like your donation to be used. Your assistance will help to bring desperately needed change to families in rural Uganda. And, as soon as we finalize an international donation method for Rosemary’s new site, I will will host a “Grand Opening” at VanillaQueen.com. In the meantime, this article serves as an introduction to Good Samaritan Women’s Project.

As we haven’t finishing vetting secure donation methods, I am collecting and documenting donations, then wiring the money to Rosemary’s bank in Uganda. You may send a donation of any amount to me at Patricia Rain, P.O. Box 3206, Santa Cruz, CA 95062. We cannot provide you with a donation receipt, but we greatly appreciate your donations assisting Rosemary to keep Good Samaritan Women’s Project alive and well!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you belong to a book club, an organization that helps to support women, girls, orphans and families in the rural developing world or know of a group that raises funds for non-profits, please consider doing a group donation. Any amount will make a difference.

United, we are the change we wish to see!

Patricia Rain
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