HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

Decades of war have left many people of Northern Uganda in a serious state of poverty. Supplies of food, medicine, shelter, clean drinking water, educational opportunities, care for the HIV/AIDS victims and orphans are very much needed. Education is a powerful means of fighting ignorance and poverty. In our Archdiocese of Gulu, it is painful to see in one district of Pader hundreds of young girls and boys who cannot continue with their education because of financial constraints and lack of a good school in the area. Hope for Uganda provides enormous assistance is helping to develop a school which gives opportunity to these young people who feel abandoned so that they can develop their talents and become useful citizens for the transformation of the society.  We invite your solidarity with us in the realization of this project for our youth. It is only with your support that we can succeed in reaching out to the most vulnerable and marginalized people of Northern Uganda.

WHO ARE HOPE FOR UGANDA’S PRIMARY BENEFICIARIES?

This apostolate provides support for two private educational facilities:

  • Sacred Heart Seminary
  • Archbishop Flynn Secondary School
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Sacred Heart Seminary in Gulu, Uganda (SHS)

SHS was founded in 1936 by the Comboni Missionaries, who brought the Catholic faith to Northern Uganda. Archbishop John Baptist Odama refers to this minor seminary as the heart of the Archdiocese of Gulu because it provides quality education for young men, many who eventually will become priests, but all who have been given the tools to help build a better future. The Seminary celebrated 80 years of dedicated service to humanity in 2016 and has over 160 seminarians enrolled in studies to become priests.  Consistently exceptional performance on government exams, ranks them among the best schools in Uganda – positioned 114 out of 2900 in the entire nation. Enrollment reached a landmark this year, topping 160 seminarians.

The mission of SHS is the formation of priests for service to humanity.  Since 1990 the US apostolate has been very instrumental in supporting priestly education and programs at SHS, for which the Archdiocese of Gulu is grateful to all its benefactors.

Though blessed in many ways, we are not without challenges and needs at Sacred Heart Seminary.  Most of the structures were built in 1937, using mud instead of cement for the foundations and walls with no ring beams, inviting termites to destroy ceiling board and timbers. The students’ auditorium, computer labs, and washrooms are among the buildings in dire need of renovation.  Also, many of the used computers donated by Computers for Africa are now down and unable to be repaired, so there is great need for more computers, modems, and printers for the seminary.

The long effects of war are still having negative impact on the economic state of most families in the Archdiocese of Gulu. The majority of parents do not have funds to pay tuition fees for their sons and daughters. This has caused many children to drop out of school. Support of scholarship funds at both Archbishop Flynn Secondary School and Sacred Heart Seminary is the answer to this challenge. Please join our scholarship program to provide education for poor children at risk of dropping out of school.


Archbishop Flynn Secondary School (AFSS)

AFSS is a Catholic co-educational boarding school in the Pader Town Council of Northern Uganda, founded as a response to the decimation of war. During the height of the insurgence in 2002, desperately concerned parents approached the office of the Archbishop of Gulu for help with the education of their children.

More than 80% of the population was living in camps for displaced persons, the school system had collapsed, and poverty had reached dehumanizing levels. The Vicar General of the Gulu archdiocese, Msgr. Matthew Odong, heard the plea for help and began his appeal for money from friends he had made during mission trips to the United States.

AFSS became operational on February 16, 2009 with 37 co-ed students.  Enrollment numbers continued to grow. In 2015 the school finally added the last two grades of high school with a total enrollment of 510 students.  The dream is very much alive.

The mission of AFSS is to be among the best performing schools in the country, offering quality education to the youth of Uganda who still suffer from the 22-year war that created abject poverty for most families in that area. Thanks in large part to the generosity of our donors, the mission is succeeding. The performance of AFSS students in governmental exams is very good and the school has developed a reputation for academic excellence.

(AFSS) remains committed to being among the best performing schools in Uganda.  The students and staff are focused and hard-working, motivated for spiritual growth and academic performance.  In 2015, AFSS ranked 57th out of 2900 secondary schools in all of Uganda, and 2nd out of all schools in the northern region.


FAQ’s

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Is there a charge for this education?

Yes, there is tuition, room, and board required at both schools.  However, because of the extreme poverty in Northern Uganda, scholarship programs have been established to help defray the cost of attendance to those who qualify.

Who is Msgr. Matthew?

Msgr. Matthew Odong is the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Gulu, Rector of Sacred Heart Seminary, and founder and Chairman of Archbishop Flynn Secondary School.  In addition to his administrative roles, Msgr. Matthew travels annually to the United States to share the story of the progress and continuing needs of the two schools and the Archdiocese of Gulu.  He meets with the many friends and benefactors he has cultivated over the years, and asks for prayers and financial support for his ministries.  He is a man with a very big heart who wins hearts easily.

What are the other goals of the apostolate?

In addition to supporting the operation of the two schools, the apostolate provides funds to maintain and update Sacred Heart Seminary (a 70 year old facility), and to construct the still expanding campus of buildings for AFSS.  Scholarship programs have also been established for children who qualify for greater assistance.

In the past, the apostolate has provided refugee relief for the local citizenry displaced by war, drilled many wells in the area to provide clean drinking water, purchased a tractor for the seminary to encourage self-sufficiency and to assist local farmers with their planting, and has also provided new motorcycles and Mass kits to newly ordained priests, allowing them to offer their ministerial service in the vast bush country of Northern Uganda.

Why are they boarding schools?

The Archdiocese of Gulu is located in a very large impoverished area of Uganda.  The public school system collapsed during the war. Transportation is minimal to non-existent.  The distances are great between the students’ homes and the schools.  In a boarding situation, healthy, nutritious meals are provided for the students, and they are housed in safe surroundings.  Many students’ homes are small huts, with no facilities, electricity, or environments conducive for studying.  There is 24 hour supervision, 7 days a week by resident staff at both schools.

How is funding approved?

This non-profit organization is governed by a volunteer board of directors. Funding requests are submitted by Msgr. Matthew and his staff, and are reviewed and approved by the board in Minnesota.  The two schools provide monthly financial statements so their requirements can be monitored.  Funding is approved on the basis of need, priority, and ability to raise the necessary capital.

Are my contributions tax deductible?

Yes.  Donations are given directly to the Minnesota non-profit corporation.  The corporation files all required tax returns to preserve its non-profit status.  Funds are transferred to Uganda in response to approved requests for humanitarian, educational, or religious assistance.

How can I receive additional information?

Please visit the website, www.HopeForUganda.org  for more information.  Sign up for email information, subscribe to our bi-annual newsletter, “Like Us” on Facebook or send your email address to info@HopeForUganda.org .  Your contact information will never be sold, and your name and email address will be promptly removed at any time upon request.

I would like to hear and meet Msgr. Matthew. Is that possible?

Yes!  Msgr. Matthew usually visits the United States in September.  If you are on the email list, you will receive Msgr.’s Mass schedule while he is here.  He is generally available after each Mass to meet new people and greet old friends.  Be ready to care deeply for this man of God and the people of Northern Uganda.