10 Years of Friendship
Fr. Richard Reflects on 10 Years of Friendship...
Ten years, a ray of hope started glowing in the little village of Kabingo and the surroundings. It all started with a medical mission by our American friends who, I am sure thought were doing a one time experience in Africa. What has happened in these last ten years is difficult to describe in a few lines. The creation of the Hope for Kabingo Organization a couple of years later went ahead to set up priority goals. These priorities were in the fields of “Education”, “Health and Wellness” and “Economic Vitality”. These have generally been met in these last ten years.
In the area of Education we have seen an increase from 110 kids frequenting our High School ten years ago to a total of 900 as of today. The number of sponsorships at all levels, from kindergarten to University has reached 400 kids and still growing. Over a hundred of these have completed their courses and are now employed in the different fields according to their training. The beautiful thing is that some of these are back to serve in Kabingo as teachers, medical workers or administrators in our different projects.
In the area of health and wellness, we have held every year a medical camp program for two weeks in the month of July where over 3000 patients are treated each time. Our local clinic continues to serve the villagers through the year. In this same field, a water project started four years ago and currently serves 500 households with about 3000 people. This same project serves also the three schools in the area that have a population of over 1300 children.
In the field of economic vitality, we have seen the development of a Women’s Bank where women can acquire loans to run their little business. We have developed a cooperative of basket weavers and these do hundreds of baskets every year which they put on sale to earn for their livelihoods. A few months ago another group has been created that produces both solid and liquid soap. Another successful activity in this field of economic vitality is Agriculture where people are taught new and modern methods of farming. The arrival of electric power two years has lit up the area and we begin to see the benefits.
These activities are changing the face of Kabingo. I am sure someone who visited it ten years will not recognize it today. This has been possible thanks to the contributions from both our friends from the USA and the collaboration of the people of Kabingo. We think that the skies are the limit. We will continue to grow given the increasing number of young people getting educated and ready to give back to their community. -Fr. J. Richard Kyankaaga