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Annual Report 2013

posted 22 Mar 2014, 22:12 by Darren Creek
Thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for improving the lives of hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children in rural Uganda. 

2013 was another busy and successful year for Let the Needy Smile. We continue to provide stationary to over 250 children to allow them to attend school. Whilst many of us see education as a basic human right, many Ugandan orphans cannot access this luxury. Your support provided through this program provides these children with a new opportunity to look towards the future with genuine hope. In 2013 we raised over $8500 from Australia and UK to support orphan education in Uganda. In addition, the local community in Tororo collected funds and second-hand clothing to provide additional support for orphans and widows in two of the villages. 

Our village crusades continue to provide health education to the community, and it appears that general knowledge about the cause, prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS is now increasing in these villages. The educational material provided by TeachAIDS has been an important resource, and our work was recently highlighted by this multi-national not-for-profit organisation (http://teachaids.org/blog/children-in-eastern-uganda). Check out the videos for yourself at www.teachaids.org.

2013 Conferences and Crusades
Two large crusades were held in the villages of Bunganga (June) and Bumanda (December) providing essential provisions, lively entertainment, and importantly, health education for these remote communities. 
Volunteers from the Evangel church in Tororo continue to provide outreach conferences and crusades to remote villages of Eastern Uganda. These crusades bring much joy to the villages in the form of sports, singing and dancing, and in a country where religion is often used to justify harm and prejudice, we are able to bring God’s real message of love, forgiveness and hope.  

HIV/AIDS is a major issue in Eastern Uganda, and counselling and health education remains a major focus of Let the Needy Smile. These crusades are funded entirely by the local community in Tororo, Uganda, who in addition to raising $2500 for transport and food, provided salt, sugar, matchboxes, soap and second-hand clothes to orphans, widows and vulnerable people in the villages. 
  
In addition to the village crusades, Pastor Benjamin is active in raising awareness about HIV and providing counselling for affected people in the greater Tororo district. 
This has included visits to the local prison, and regular appearances on the local radio station to explain the cause of HIV/AIDS and dismiss local myths about HIV prevention and cure. 
These ministries are currently limited by funds. If you wish to specifically support expansion of these activities please contact us directly to arrange financial sponsorship or to visit Uganda in person. 

Completion of Individual Student Sponsorship Program
Our student sponsorship program has assisted up to 50 students to attend secondary school over the last 5 years. 
This year saw the end of our individual student sponsorship program. This program provided school fees for orphans and vulnerable children to attend secondary school in cases where free education was not available. 

Unfortunately, the administration of this program did not meet our strict standards of transparency and accountability. Therefore, Let the Needy Smile has stopped the individual student sponsorship program. 
Sponsors can be assured that all funds did go to needy people in Eastern Uganda, although not always to the intended children. We have stopped working with the coordinator of this program and continue to strive to fulfill our promise that all donated funds will reach the orphans that they are intended for. Whilst it is sad to lose this aspect of our sponsorship, we will now be able to focus more funds and attention on the more vulnerable orphans in the villages. 
With your help we will continue to sponsor the provision of stationary to support education of orphans in 6 remote villages in the Tororo district: Auyo, Bumanda, Bunganga, Ngeta, Maundo and Kidoko. 
Hopefully as fundraising increases we will soon provide much-needed uniforms, blankets and mosquito nets for many of these orphans. 

Sponsors Spotlight
Let the Needy Smile wishes to acknowledge two of our largest sponsors that have supported this work for over 5 years. 
1) Lockhart Uniting Church is a small but generous congregation in rural NSW. This community has suffered two devastating floods within the last 4 years, having recently recovered from 10 years of severe drought. The congregation can no longer afford to support a Minister for themselves, but still donates regularly to support orphans in Eastern Uganda. 
 
2) Tororo Evangel Church is the backbone of this organization, providing many gifts, funds and volunteer hours to reach the orphans in remote villages. This church meets in a makeshift rented shelter, and many members themselves live below the poverty line, yet they find it within themselves to give out of the little they have. 
Surely this is the true spirit of giving!

Be a Part of The Difference
Contact us at lettheneedysmile@gmail.com to participate in upcoming fundraising activities or to make a donation.

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