Fundraiser for African shelter being held this Sunday at K of C Hall

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The St. John the Baptist Church social justice committee is hosting a pasta dinner fundraiser this Sunday with the aim of assisting women in need in the Congo.

Father Donato Lwiyando, who is the associate pastor at St. John the Baptist Church, started the Hope of St. Joseph Shelter in 2006 to aid women and girls near Bukavu, a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa.

“We are having the fundraiser to meet the basic needs of the girls and women living in the shelter,” Fr. Lwiyando explained.

Father Donato Lwiyando (left) and Larry Allen hold a flyer for a fundraiser that the St. John the Baptist Church social justice committee is hosting at the Knights of Columbus Hall this Sunday. Proceeds will help benefit the Hope of St. Joseph Shelter in the Congo.

Father Donato Lwiyando (left) and Larry Allen hold a flyer for a fundraiser that the St. John the Baptist Church social justice committee is hosting at the Knights of Columbus Hall this Sunday. Proceeds will help benefit the Hope of St. Joseph Shelter in the Congo.

The fundraiser is being held at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 190 Richmond St.

The country has been ravaged by war, with over seven million people having lost their lives. Fr. Lwiyando said 500,000 women and girls have also been raped during wartime, with many of them now living with AIDS. The girls have been marginalized after being raped, he added, and go into Bukavu to go into a brothel.

Fr. Lwiyando stepped in ten years ago and had girls taken out of there. While he originally couldn’t find families within the parish in the Congo to adopt them, his efforts continued. Some of the girls in the brothel were as young as 12-years-old and some of the young girls would later become pregnant due to being at the brothel.

A visit to the mayor of Bukavu didn’t prove to be productive but eventually Fr. Lwiyando was able to secure a home on the outskirts of Bukavu. The home, which was subsequently able to be purchased, became the Hope of St. Joseph Shelter.

There are 31 women and girls now living in the home, he noted.

The girls receive vocational training, said Fr. Lwiyando, such as sewing, making soap, tending to animals and growing their own food. Many also go to school.

“Some of them don’t know how to write or read,” said Fr. Lwiyando.

The shelter is looked after by a nun and a team of four other women.

Larry Allen, a member of St. John the Baptist Church’s social justice committee, said people can get an income tax receipt by making their cheques payable to St. John the Baptist Church and mentioning in the memo line “St. Joseph Shelter.”

“It’s a safe shelter for them,” said Allen. “They feel safe there.”

Dinner will be served from 4:30-7 p.m. and tickets are $10 each for adults and $7 for children ages 6-12. Kids five years of age and under are free.

 

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