An interesting project involving Goulburn people has taken seed in Eastern Africa.
The Kisoro Project, an initiative involving people from Canberra and Goulburn, has changed the lives of the Batwa people, who live south west of Uganda.
The project committee has been working with the Diocese of Muhabura in the Church of Uganda, who are looking for support and partnership, which the local diocese here is considering.
Two other groups based in the Anglican Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn, the Mothers Union and the F5 Fellowship (based at Christ Church West Goulburn) have also worked alongside the committee, assisting and supporting the Batwa.
The project aims to provide assistance and support for the Batwa and the people of Southern Uganda, with the hope that their efforts may prevent the extinction of the Pygmy people of that region.
“The Batwa people face extinction, which is being caused by a raft of calamitous circumstances,” Kisoro Project committee chairman Reverend Roger Ellem said.
“Substance abuse, prostitution, poor hygiene, oppression, and despair are just some of these.”
So far two teams have travelled to Kisoro from Goulburn, with increasingly positive results.
More visits are being planned, and several enterprises are being considered. The visits have been both spiritual and secular in nature.
“There is much to do. Mental health and drug and alcohol issues, especially in children, education, women and their children’s health, income generation, vocational skills training, children’s support and many more areas of need clamour for attention,” Reverend Ellem said.
“Our initial effort is to get Batwa women creating income by making exquisite beaded jewellery out of paper beads. We want to follow this up with a program that will also encompass the men of the Batwa community providing an income with dignity and self-respect.”
The Kisoro Project works as part of the Global Development Group, a major Australian NGO and was officially launched last Thursday by Goulburn Mulwaree Council mayor Bob Kirk, Anglican Bishop of Canberra & Goulburn, the Very Reverend Stuart Robinson and Mrs Jane Robinson of the Goulburn Mothers Union.
A stand has been set up in Goulburn Square for those wishing to donate or purchase items.