Today provided an opportunity to visit with our founder, Father Donald Dunson, and a special guest from Uganda, Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio.
Sister Rosemary is from the country of Uganda in Africa. She is known internationally for advocating 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. She travels upon receiving invitations from around the world; the invitee covers her travel costs. Sister Rosemary uses speaking opportunities to talk 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. However, 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 that 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 receive 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 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 often thrown away into beautiful, useable items then sold. (Check out the beautiful items on sewinghopefoundation.com)
Saint Monica offers both primary and secondary schools, where some of St. Kizito Foundation’s students attend. However, it is important to note that while education is important—Saint Monica’s offers more than a chance to learn “the 3Rs”—students are respected, they receive a safe and loving environment to grow up, and they gain 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 us that we can offer help and hope to one person at a 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 we touch.