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Order Aids African AIDS Orphans

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8/1/2015
Jennifer Reed and Jacinta W. Odongo

At first sight, the Marengoni Primary School in the village of Kikumango, in the Central Uganda district of Nakaseke, resembles other highly regarded educational facilities. It includes classrooms, dormitories, an administration block, a library and a student hall, each with clean, brightly colored walls. But behind the smiles of students eager to learn, each one has a painful personal history to bear, for this is a school for orphans and needy children. Most of them have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS, which has afflicted Uganda for over two decades.

Named after Comboni Missionary Father Giovanni (John) Marengoni — who co-founded the Congregation of the Apostles of Jesus with Comboni Bishop Sixtus Mazzoldi in 1968 — the school’s construction was funded by the Knights of Columbus beginning in 2012. Thanks to the Order’s support, the school currently provides education to more than 300 pupils, ranging in age from 4 to 13, including 160 girls and 60 boys who board there.

“This partnership between the Apostles of Jesus and the Knights of Columbus has made such a huge difference — more than we ever expected,” said Father Paul Gaggawala, director of mission promotion for the Apostles of Jesus. “Dreams that we once felt were impossible to ever be realized have come true because of this partnership.”

During his annual report at the Supreme Convention in August 2011, Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson announced that the Supreme Council would partner with the Apostles of Jesus to expand services for orphaned children in Uganda and Kenya.

“Of course, the Knights of Columbus cannot do everything — we cannot solve every problem. But where we can help, we do so. And I believe that we can help alleviate the suffering of at least some children orphaned by AIDS,” the supreme knight said.

Excerpt from Columbia Online

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