“I’m calling myself Ruth to hide my identity. I’m 39 years old and I live in Kabubbu, Uganda and I’m from a family of nine brothers and sisters. Many years ago I lost my Mum and Dad from AIDS, it was awful watching them suffer and moan in pain without any pain killers or palliative care. I always knew that my parents would probably die before me, but I wasn’t prepared for this!
Soon after this my sister died of AIDS, then one by one I watched the others die and each time they asked me for help, so that was when I bought a mobile phone. You may think that’s a waste of money but it was cheaper for me to phone them than to take a bus journey to visit them because transport is expensive here. I phone them to see if I really need to visit, or if I can organise others living nearby to help them, because my kids and I are living on just £5 a week.
When I visited my sick sisters I tried to help them, but I couldn’t afford the drugs they need. Later when the ARVS treatment were free in Uganda, I couldn’t afford to improve their nutrition to ensure the drugs were effective, so over the next few years I lost all six sisters and one brother. Now I have one surviving brother, but he and his children all have AIDS, and I’m helpless! You see I can’t help because I’ve eight children after, some are mine, some are my orphaned nieces and nephews and grandchildren.
Two years ago a visitor from England came to my home with Resty my neighbour. Of course all my neighbours knew who she was, but she hadn’t visited me before so I was shocked and speechless! I didn’t know why she came but I answered her questions and Resty translated. I soon realised she cared about me and my son Simon. She saw we slept on the ground in 1 room, so a donor bought beds and bedding, and she organised to pay my rent and buy food.
Later I thought life was improving when my other son Jake got a labourer’s job. But a month later he was on the back of a lorry as it sped along at high speed, and he fell off and broke his neck. Then 2 months ago my oldest daughter Caroline died of AIDS, and I’m numb! All my money goes on burying my family and now I have her 1 year old son Ben to look after and he’s also AIDS positive.
I cried for the first time yesterday when I heard that my charity friends in the UK were fundraising to build us a house, they already have £800 of the £5,000 needed.”
Quicken Trust founders didn’t plan to devote 18 years in developing a village, but God led them there, and he has miraculously provided for the charity through amazing circumstances. Here, we know and care about individuals but also keep an eye on the big picture. We do things differently:
- We ensure 100% of our donated funds go to the people and projects in Kabubbu.
- We ensure donated funds aren’t used in marketing or advertising or to pay staff salaries.
- We partner with the Kabubbu Development project (NGO) located actually in the village.
- When we learn that a mum had died in childbirth and her oldest child may leave school to care for the siblings, we start a maternal health programme.
- When many guardians were found dying of AIDS, we built an AIDS clinic
- When a child starts primary school we know he or she won’t ever find paid work unless we later support them in University or college.
- When a child is bereaved, homeless and without relatives we build a foster home and provide a loving caring foster mum so they can finish their education
- Each relationship with a sponsor, volunteer or donors and a Kabubbu family is very special!
Further information can be found on www.quickentrust.com
It is a real honour to host this story by Geraldine Booker, co-founder with her husband Geoff, of Quicken Trust, a charity that most certainly does work in Africa. I’m proud to say that I did a fair amount of research at Kabbubu for my latest book – GRASS SHOOTS – which is sponsoring school lunches for a boy there. Perhaps you may be inspired to help too?
Charities Already Featured in this Fortnightly blog Series: St. Peter’s Lifeline
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