By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Region – Patrick Ssenyonjo, founder of Raising Up Hope for Uganda (RUHU), recently visited the local chapter of Days for Girls (DfG) to bring a message of thanksgiving for the generous donation of sanitary kits that were delivered to the girls at RUHU’s Children’s Centre in Bulenga, Uganda late last summer.
A delegation from the Shrewsbury/Boylston local DfG Chapter made the trip, including Barb Trudel, Nancy Hughes and her husband Jack Collins, and Cecile and Jerry Cote.
“We were introduced to RUHU in 2012 when our daughter, Catherine, spent a semester in Uganda with the School for International Training Study Abroad (SIT) during her junior year at Smith College,” Cecile Cote said. “SIT connected Catherine to Patrick and she was tremendously impacted by the experience and knew then and there that she would find a way to continue her relationship with RUHU.”
Since then, it has become a family venture that also includes their son, Andrew, who designed and manages RUHU’s website. The family has also joined forces with RUHU’s U.S.-based partner Beautiful Response, started by two students from the same study abroad program and RUHU’s primary funding source.
The Cote family has made several trips since 2012.
Ssenyonjo was in the country visiting people and organizations that are important to his work. He also spent time in Pennsylvania.
Orphaned at an early age, Ssenyonjo and his sister ended up in the slums of Kampala, Uganda’s Capital. Through a couple of benefactors, he began helping others like him.
“As time went on kids started calling me ‘daddy Patrick’ and at 16 years of age I had 10 kids,” he explained. “I felt like God has helped me go through what I have been through and put me in the position where he wants me to take care of his people.”
Ssenyonjo’s message of thanks is for all those in Shrewsbury and St. Mary’s Church who have helped financially and to make these people feel valued in the world, he noted.