Committee members: Father Paul, Ali and Paul Ambridge (chairpersons), Julian Gabriel, Steven Barnes, James Tanner, Joe O’Dwyer, Kirsten Horner, Mike Harman and Sheila Pike.
History of Worth-Uganda Friendship
Our friendship began in 2007 following a reconnaissance trip by a group of parishioners in 2005 to find a parish in Uganda with which Worth Abbey Parish could form a meaningful relationship, one in which we could learn from each other. They settled on the parish of St Matia Malumba in Irundu, north of Jinja in one of the poorest, most rural and in terms of population structure, one of the most youthful areas in Uganda. By chance, also working in the parish was a group of the Benedictine Sisters of Grace and Compassion, the religious order which in the past ran a training facility in Compass House at Worth. The Parish Priest was Fr Stephen Mudoola, a man who the people saw as a father figure who would take care of them and he, in turn, told them that God would always provide for them.
Much has been achieved in Irundu, not least the provision of a Health Centre, focusing on maternity services. The Centre has in-patient care, a pharmacy, a rudimentary lab and is viewed very positively by the local population. With financial assistance from Worth School a Vocational School has been established with training courses in hairdressing, carpentry, tailoring and motor mechanics, providing a much needed qualification for employment opportunities other than subsistence farming. The Friendship House was built initially to house visitors from Worth. Funding has been provided for an eco-friendly latrine for the school.
In 2018 when Father Stephen visited Worth he had just learned that he was being transfered to Itanda Parish, much nearer to Jinja but just as poor. The Worth-Irundu Friendship Committee felt that it was time to move with him to an equally-deserving parish having achieved all we could hope to in Irundu.
Our arrangements in Irundu were carried out in a manner no longer deemed to be appropriate in an era of heightened safeguarding. Our new support for Itanda required adherence to strict safeguarding guidelines. Julian Gabriel, a new Committee member and an Old Boy of Worth School, had recently established a UK-based charity, Running Well, with all the necessary guidelines in place and it seemed provident to support his charity through the Parish.
Running Well provides communities in Uganda with clean water, primarily by building water boreholes. Working closely with Father Stephen and, together with Julian’s own trusted engineers, communities are identified as being in need of access to clean water. Each borehole lasts for at least 20-30 years providing clean water for one person for £3-£4 for life. Julian fundraises through donors and sponsorship of extreme sporting challenges such as the Marathon des Sables, 6 marathons in 7 days across the Sahara Desert. He has spoken to the parish on several occasions about the work of his charity and the importance of access to clean water in disease prevention.
Worth-Uganda Friendship is supporting this very worthwhile cause. Every penny raised is used directly to build the boreholes. All the costs of running the charity are covered by Julian. Please consider becoming a monthly donor to help build another borehole by the end of 2020 by contacting Father Paul or Maria in the Parish Office on 01342 710313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Every year in the Autumn, there is a Uganda Mass with a Ugandan choir, followed by a party in Compass House with great fun to be had by all.
The Future: an Update from the Committee, June 2020
“As of January 2020, with a largely new Committee, the Worth-Irundu Friendship was set for a big rename and relaunch with events planned and the aim of funding a borehole by the end of the year. We managed to get one event done days before all fundraising events were cancelled due to the pandemic. We raised £400 at Java and Jazz in Forest Row thanks to the owners, John and Annie, who have always been great supporters of our charity.
We aren’t deterred and will press on in the future, although our big restart will probably be over 20/21 instead. Although work has been suspended here, work still carries on in Uganda and we have heard that the borehole already funded by Worth Abbey Parish is now operational and providing clean water for 2500 people.
This is thanks mainly to our regular monthly donors in the Parish who made a commitment many moons ago and have achieved so much in Irundu through their generosity.”