SACU receives $50,000 donation thanks to Amherstburg couple

 

By Ron Giofu

Save African Child Uganda (SACU) has received a large donation from an Amherstburg couple with that money going towards more new classrooms.

SACU received $50,000 from the couple with SACU committee member Ingrid Silvaggio Heugh stating the couple wishes to remain anonymous.

“Dreams do come true,” she stated.

Heugh noted that a single classroom she had been fundraising for is finished and a second two-unit classroom has also been completed. The $50,000 donation will allow SACU to construct a four-pod classroom for babies and younger students with a common area in the middle. The new building will also be able to have indoor washrooms, said Heugh.

The donation was made after recent articles were published in the River Town Times about Heugh and her trip to Uganda. SACU supports children in the Ugandan village of Buwando.

“The Lord has answered a lot of our prayers,” said Heugh. “We’re quite excited about all of this. It’s a very generous couple.”

Heugh said this will complete the number of permanent classrooms they need and get the students into buildings with concrete floors and walls. Makeshift classrooms built with tree limbs, metal sheets and other materials SACU could scrounge up will be decommissioned and that is a good thing in another sense, since snakes have been burrowing into the flooring in some of the small rooms.

Another portion of the donation will be used to support families in the area. They also hope to use a portion to start planning for a new shelter, since homeless boys and girls in the current shelter may not be able to use it anymore as the government officials in the African nation may shut it down due to the age of the children and the fact it is a mix of boys and girls.

Another shelter to separate the boys and girls is a project for the future, she noted.

“Believe me, it can be filled very quickly,” said Heugh. “We’re considering using part of the $50,000 to start the process of constructing another shelter for the kids.”

Workers are happy to build such structures, she added, because they not only get some needed money but they also appreciate people giving back to their villages and homeland.

Donations have been coming in at a steady pace, she added, including a substantial donation from an estate last fall. The Harrow woman who died, who was identified simply as “Aunt Madeline,” left the donation through her estate and that has been helpful to SACU as well.

“When she passed, her family wanted to give back because she was very generous when she was alive, especially to those in need,” said Heugh.

Ingrid Silvaggio Heugh stands in a classroom she helped fundraise for in Uganda. Now, thanks to a $50,000 donation from an Amherstburg couple, a new four-pod classroom will be constructed in the village. Heugh is part of SACU. (Submitted photo)

While Heugh was unable to disclose the exact amount, it did enable SACU to fund high school educations for 12 of its students and keep them together. Tuition was over $1,000 for each student.

“To keep those kids together was a great feeling,” she said. “They could stay as a family.” Even though SACU is making significant progress in Uganda, Heugh said there is still more that needs to be done. In addition to the new shelter, there are still children that need to be sponsored.

“My next goal is to get older children sponsored,” she said.

Many children start young but many of SACU’s children have older siblings who haven’t had the opportunity to be educated, stated Heugh.

Sponsoring a child costs $350 annually.

“It’s less than a dollar per day,” said Heugh.

All donations are appreciated, she added.

“What you are able to give is a blessing.”

SACU began when Windsor resident Geri Sutts developed the program with Ugandan resident Ivan Nsera. Early work included clothing and feeding the children and while that continues, matters have improved somewhat to where there is a shelter, school and food garden on their three-acre site. They now have a seven-person committee that, in addition to Sutts and Heugh, includes Betty Westfall, Cheryl Rudgers, Kathy Vriesen, Margie Anson and Elaine Johnson.

Their website – www.saveafricanchildugan.wix.com/sacu – is still being developed. The public can also access information about SACU on YouTube & Facebook (Save African Child Uganda). Donations and sponsorship cheques may be mailed to 6625 Matchette Rd., LaSalle, ON, N9F 2J9.

Additional information can be obtained and donations can also be made by contacting Heugh at 519-736-3512.

Heugh is also welcoming churches, schools and organizations to contact her so she can make a presentation to them. She has received some invitations, but would like more.
“I want to share my story,” said Heugh.

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