The Companion Diocese partnership between Rupert’s Land and Central Buganda Diocese in southern Uganda is entering its third decade of shared ministry.
This valued partnership rooted in the great commission of the Gospel is a constant reminder of the good work to which we, on two separate continents, are called. The partnership consists of two programs: the Parish Links Program and the Orphan’s Fund Program.
During a 2002 visit to Rupert’s Land by a delegation from Central Buganda Diocese, our African partners were asked what assistance could be offered? Their response: “Help with the orphans.” At that time, Uganda had one of the world’s highest rate of orphaned children due to the aftermath of civil war, malaria, and the AIDS epidemic.
Soon after, the Rupert’s Land Orphan’s Fund was created. Its purpose was to provide education and basic healthcare to orphaned children in Central Buganda Diocese on an ongoing basis.
Since 2004, two installments of $10,000 have been sent in September and February of every year to directly assist 138 orphaned children in receiving primary and secondary education and basic healthcare. Once children graduate from their studies, new children enter the program.
In this manner the program has been blessed with sustainability. Over the years it has been inspiring to hear from former children of the program who have moved on to post-secondary education, started their own families, and, in some cases, now themselves care for orphaned children.
To date, over $260,000 has been raised by parishes and individuals across Rupert’s Land and contributed to the lives of several hundred children who have moved through the program over the years.
The Companion Diocese Committee, which facilitates the Parish Links Program and the Orphan’s Fund Program alongside the Diocese of Central Buganda, would very much like to see the Orphan’s Fund Program continue. The needs are many and local resources scarce as very few aid organizations operate in the region.
We are strongly urging Rupert’s Land parishes and individuals to continue to contribute to the Orphan’s Fund Program. We are also asking parishes to consider contributing on a yearly basis as part of their annual church budget. This will allow us to continue to meet our $20,000 per year commitment to the Orphan’s Fund.
At a 2015 companion partnerships conference in Dar es salaam, Tanzania, the Rupert’s Land Orphan’s Fund was commended by several African bishops as a powerful reminder of hope that has withstood the test of time amidst many challenges.
It is our hope that this treasured program will continue to contribute to the lives of children through our shared partnership with our Ugandan friends in our sister diocese of Central Buganda. – Companion Diocese Committee