Church News

A Coffee Morning to support two charities in Africa – Uganda and Lesotho

A coffee morning in St John’s Church hall in Cupar aims to raise some funds for two life changing charities in Africa. Jenga is a charity working in Uganda and Polihali outreach engaged with a community in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.

Here are their two stories.

One of the elders of St John’s, Elaine Lyden, relates her story of a visit to a life-changing charity in Uganda.

In October 2013 I had the privilege of visiting the charity Jenga Uganda based in Mbale in the south-east of the country. Mbale is 5 hours from the capital Kampala along the most cratered roads I have ever seen.

Established in 2005 and with a rapidly growing Ugandan staff and unpaid international volunteers (as well as a UK base), Jenga focuses on providing the essentials of life, including water, health & education, to the most needy of communities – women, children & orphans .  Its philosophy is to serve with love through both words and actions. Without actions words are, at best,  meaningless. As one worker, Jessica Johns, says : “You see someone orphaned you mother them , you see someone hungry  you feed them, you see someone naked you clothe them. Stories of lives changed, hearts saved, starving bellies fed, sick bodies healed, orphans adopted, the naked being clothed, the lost being found.”

Jenga Uganda is guided by the following principles : justice, sustainability, cultural sensitivity, empowerment & partnerships. These values guide Jenga in what it does and, just as importantly, in what it doesn’t do. Current Projects include :  Water, Goats, Women’s Ministry, Vocational Training, Child Sponsorship, Community Health Training, HIV Programme, Church Ministry, Prison Ministry, Hospital Ministry, Children’s Bible Clubs, Street Children’s Ministry, Alpha Uganda and Youth & Sports Programmes.

Elaine and her son Niall relate that visiting Jenga in Uganda was a humbling experience :  “To see first hand how other people live and serve a community and how any one of us can make such a radical difference to the lives of others. Despite what may seem to outsiders to be the very bleakest of circumstances, I witnessed first-hand the joyfulness and hopefulness that faith & community can foster through unconditional love. I miss being there and I’m sure I’ll go back soon. I have to.”

Lesotho – Polihali

Lesotho, also called the Mountain Kingdom, is a small country totally surrounded by South Africa. It is thus also the birthplace of some of South Africa’s biggest rivers (Orange and Tugela). The Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme  was  established during the 1990’s to supply water to some of the highest populated and fast growing areas of South Africa. The first phase, Katse Dam, was the beginning of great things for the people of the Mountain Kingdom: it brought electricity and tarred roads, white people and plastic….

The second phase of the LHWS was launched during 2015: approximately 1 500 million cubic metre of water will be contained between the mountains by a 165m high  rock fill dam wall and infrastructure like roads and water transfer tunnels.

This brings us to the story of Polihali:

Looking out over the valley, which will be filled with water over the next ten years, is this small village in one of the most unreached regions of Lesotho. Approximately 30 huts build with stone and mud cling to the steep slopes of the Maluti mountain.  With no electricity, running water, medical clinic, school or shop, the living conditions of the community are very poor.  They are self-sustaining sheep and goat farmers, dependent for food on the crop of maize that they plant in the shallow mountain soil. Needless to say that after the past very dry season we all experienced, famine is at hand for them this winter.

We have experienced through trips to Katse Dam, that with the concentration of nearly 1000 construction workers, problems like prostitution, HIV and Aids, drugs and alcohol abuse, pose a real threat to the surrounding community. Within a year or two, construction work will get on the way at Polihali.

After conversations with some of the people there, we realized that they have no idea of what awaits them.

A stirring in our hearts led us to Pastor Leeto who has been working in the community on his own for the past decade! In January 2016 we have decided as a core leadership team of the Bloemfontein Afrikaans Baptist church whom we represent, to invest in the support growth of this village by working hand-in-hand with pastor Leeto. We aim to do this by visiting at least four times a year with bigger teams to do various projects in the community including time spent with the children through puppet shows and games.

With every visit we will try to relieve their material and physical needs as well. On 11 June a group will challenge the cold winter weather, taking blankets and food to them.

Our long term vision is to walk the road with the people of Polihali for the following ten years to come, through the development stages of the project, to see a community standing strong amidst times of challenge and change, fathers taking their rightful place, and mothers being competent in nurturing their families.

You can support these two projects by coming to the Coffee Morning at Cupar St John’s on Saturday 8 October from 10am -12am. If you want to donate in support of the charities, you could do so by a deposit into the bank account (marked Africa charities). Bank details: sort code 831723 Account number 00681312 Cupar St John’s & Dairsie United Parish Church. Or post to St John’s Church, Bonnygate  Cupar KY15 4BY.