SACU representatives educate over 100 people at luncheon

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The work done by Save African Child Uganda (SACU) has gained an increased understanding after a “sharing session” luncheon put on by two of SACU’s committee members.

Over 100 people attended the Sunday afternoon luncheon at the Verdi Club with extensive presentations made by SACU co-founder Geri Sutts and committee member Ingrid Heugh, both of whom visited the Ugandan village of Buwundo late last year. Sutts co-founded SACU with a young Ugandan, Ivan Nsera, and they have helped build schools and shelters, planted fruit trees and have helped save African children from slavery, starvation, illnesses and abandonment over the last five years.

Sutts explained that when she retired as a teacher in 2004, her goal was to help others in Third World countries. One of her trips was to Uganda in 2008 to help provide aid to the group Watoto, but she met Nsera at a soccer game there. Nsera approached her with the idea of helping in his village, an idea she was unsure of at first, but she said she had “just the right feeling” and after two years of correspondence, she decided to proceed.

“SACU wouldn’t have started if people didn’t believe in me and the Lord didn’t touch people’s hearts,” said Sutts.

Save African Child Uganda (SACU) co-founder Geri Sutts (left) speaks of her experiences in Uganda at a “sharing session” luncheon held Sunday afternoon at the Verdi Club. Over 100 people turned out to hear about the work SACU performs in the African nation.

Save African Child Uganda (SACU) co-founder Geri Sutts (left) speaks of her experiences in Uganda at a “sharing session” luncheon held Sunday afternoon at the Verdi Club. Over 100 people turned out to hear about the work SACU performs in the African nation.

Starting with ten sponsors, all of whom are still with SACU, Sutts started helping the children of Buwundo and has made seven visits there over the years despite early reservations from her family who questioned how safe it was to travel there. SACU now helps 125 children, children Sutts thinks of as her own, and has helped them learn English and provides medical assistance in addition to the group’s educational component.

Sutts said they even got a $10,000 donation from a Toronto woman to help purchase the land that SACU needed in Uganda. All money goes directly to helping the children, said Sutts.

“It’s a real thing,” said Sutts. “It’s not putting money in a bag and setting it on fire. It goes to my kids.”

Heugh, a retired Amherstburg Public School teacher, said she also wanted to help people in Third World countries and took the cash gifts she received when she retired last year and turned them over to SACU.

Heugh became affiliated with the group in 2012 after seeing Sutts make a presentation at a teacher’s conference and the relationship grew from there.

“I was deeply inspired by what she was doing,” said Heugh.

Heugh began sponsoring a child, one that shared the same name as a beloved aunt, and was eventually invited to a SACU meeting at Roseland Golf Course in Windsor. She helped raise money for the land title and vowed to visit Uganda once she retired.

Sarah Almeida gave her speech about the Ugandan child her family sponsors through SACU. Almeida’s speech was part of  a “sharing session”  luncheon held at the Verdi Club last Sunday afternoon.

Sarah Almeida gave her speech about the Ugandan child her family sponsors through SACU. Almeida’s speech was part of
a “sharing session” luncheon held at the Verdi Club last Sunday afternoon.

That day came last year and, despite reservations from her family as well, Heugh spent three weeks in the African nation.

“These children have been through so much,” she said.

Many have been abandoned, experienced “unreal” child abuse and got to the point where they didn’t trust adults.

“You hear their stories and wonder where they get the courage to continue,” said Heugh.

The children are so grateful for whatever they are given, she added, and said she will visit Uganda again as it is hard to stay away once a person becomes attached to the children.

Sarah Almeida, a local elementary school student, recited the speech she gave to her class about the child her family sponsors. Almeida said her family has been sponsoring a child for over three years and said she enjoys helping people. She added she wants others to know that there are people in the world who have things worse than people in Canada.

For more information, to donate or to arrange a presentation, contact Sutts at 519-962-5840 or 226-975-6303 or e-mail sutts@hotmail.com. Heugh can be reached at 519-736-3512.

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