Unity in Christ holding fundraiser May 10 to benefit people in South Sudan

By Ron Giofu 

Fr. Nichola Mauro Iko (left) chats with women outside the women’s centre in Chukudum, South Sudan during his visit there in 2013. (Submitted photo)

Fr. Nichola Mauro Iko (left) chats with women outside the women’s centre in Chukudum, South Sudan during his visit there in 2013. (Submitted photo)

 

The local group Unity in Christ is hosting their fourth annual fundraiser this Saturday with the aim of further assisting women in South Sudan.

This year’s fundraiser will see funds raised go towards renovating a building near the women’s centre UIC has already helped fundraise for. The fundraiser will also attempt to raise enough money to put a fence around the women’s centre.

Father Nichola Mauro Iko, who comes from South Sudan, said the building they are trying to renovate would be “an extension” of the current women’s centre. He said it could be used for storage or offices.

“It’s one of the buildings they need to use but it needs major renovations,” said Fr. Mauro Iko.

Previous fundraisers have helped rebuild the centre but also put solar panels on the roof so they can generate electricity, provide equipment for the women’s centre including a refrigerator/freezer and a water tank and generator.

Fr. Mauro Iko, the former associate pastor at St. John the Baptist Church and current pastor at St. Alphonsus Church in Windsor, travelled back to his homeland last year and was “amazed” at how the women’s centre is transforming people’s lives.

“By the time I travelled there last year, there were seven people employed there,” he said. “We have created jobs for women and helped those who are destitute.”

The women’s centre has also been rented out for conferences and workshops, Fr. Mauro Iko added, with the revenue generated helping to aid women in need.

“It’s become a centre that is very useful,” he said.

Fr. Mauro Iko said he is grateful to the community for its support and said the money that has been raised over the first three years has produced significant results.

Fr. Mauro Iko hopes to travel back to South Sudan in July but unrest in that African country has placed a large question mark over his travel plans. He said over 10,000 people have died in the four-month conflict and a million people displaced, though the part of South Sudan the women’s centre is in is currently safe.

Tickets for the May 10 fundraiser are $30 for adults and $15 for children aged 5-10. They can be purchased by calling 519-796-7795, visiting the office at St. John the Baptist Church or by e-mailing tickets@uic-charity.org.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the chicken and pasta dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

 

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