EDUCATION is what lifts a country out of poverty, says Helen Plant, who has returned from her fifth trip to the Holy Trinity Community in Masaka, Uganda.
Mrs Plant and seven others from mission outreach group Impact Uganda, an Emmanuel Community ministry, met with sponsor children and community members over the course of two weeks.
Impact supports about 120 Ugandan children and have already put another 29 through schools and trade works since about 2010.
Mrs Plant loves her work.
Reaching out was easy, she said, because “they help us as much as we help them”.
“Even though it’s a drop in the bucket and you’ll never be able to do everything, you can do what you can do,” she said.
For the children she’s befriended in Masaka, every bit helps.
“People over there are so beautiful; so welcoming, we can learn a lot from their hospitality and their love for God,” she said.
“They treat us like we’re royalty, really.
“And we don’t go over there to fix things, even though you may go over with the mentality to fix things, but that’s not what it’s about.
“It’s building up relationships.”
This year also brought Emmanuel Community leaders Patrick and Kym Keady to Masaka.
Mrs Plant said it was great to see the Keadys meet with the leaders and children of the Holy Trinity Community.
“They’ve got this rapport now,” Mrs Plant, who was recently at Ignite Conference 2019 with a stall showcasing the work Impact does, said.
Rosary beads hand-made in Uganda were on sale at her stall, as well as a buy-a-brick donation system, where young Ignite participants could give a coin or note donation to buy a brick for a wall in the Holy Trinity Community.
Impact recently posted on Facebook that more than 50 children were sponsored over the course of the two weeks of Ignite conferences in Brisbane and Sydney.
The Facebook page was also a place where sponsors could see their sponsored children and engage from home.
Impact, business partners, donors and the Holy Trinity Community itself have all been working towards building a school in Masaka.
While the school is still in its infancy stage, a lot of the ground work has been done, including buying the land and fundraising for the first toilet block building.
There was still a lot of fundraising to go and still a need for major donors to come on board.
But the importance of the school could not be overstated.
Mrs Plant said it was crucial to have an actual school to get a continuity of education through pre-Prep to Year 12.
The Ugandan education system suffers from lack of funding and teacher training, and inadequate facilities which all hinders this continuity.
Mrs Plant said with those practical goals in mind, the overarching vision was to build leaders for the new country.