Today provided an opportunity to visit with our founder, Father Donald Dunson and a special guest from Uganda, Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe at Saint Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio.
Sister Rosemary is from the country of Uganda in Africa. She is known internationally for her advocacy for women and children, particularly those displaced and marginalized by the LRA rebellion and war in Northern Africa. Sister Rosemary was named in 2014 by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people and in 2007 as a CNN Hero. Her travels are based upon invitations; the invitee covers her travel costs. Sister Rosemary uses the opportunities presented to her to speak on behalf of Saint Monica’s and the women and children she and her community serves.
Sister Rosemary runs a school, Saint Monica, in Gulu. Actually, Saint Monica is more than a school. It is, as Sister noted, “a place for rebuilding broken lives and stolen childhoods.” It is a place which offers hope to the marginalized through “love, acceptance, and compassion”. About 350 women and children call it home.
Women and children who are victims of the war and violence in North Africa are offered a safe place to call home and an opportunity for a better life through education. The children go to Saint Monica’s schools; the women themselves are given an opportunity to learn skills such as making purses and other useable items from pop tabs and colorful jewelry from paper. Sister Rosemary refers to the process of making useful and beautiful items as “trash to treasure”. The skills these women learn help transform items such as pop tabs – which we throw away – into beautiful, useable items which can be sold. (Check out the beautiful items on sewinghope.com.)
Saint Monica offers both primary and secondary schools – they are important to the Saint Kizito Foundation as some of our students attend these schools. But it is important to note that while education is important – Saint Monica’s offers more than a chance to learn “the 3Rs” – students are treated with dignity, they are given a safe and loving environment in which to grow up – and they are given hope for a better life.
In listening to Sister Rosemary it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the scope of poverty and brokenness but Sister is quick to remind that help and hope can be offered one person at time. This focus on helping one person – one child- at a time can have an enormous impact on that one life and in time all the lives she/he touches.