My blog this week is a plea for help, one that will benefit people in desperate circumstances in one of the poorest countries in the world. Yet it has to do with the medical crisis that is affecting us all – here in the United States and around the world, including the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Southwest Uganda.

Those who have been regular readers of my column and blog know about my work in Uganda with Pathways to Hope Africa, including several trips to the Nakivale Refugee Settlement. Nakivale is home to more than 200,000 refugees who have fled or been forced from their homeland – one of thirteen war-torn countries in Africa.

One of our projects in Nakivale was to set up a Sewing Center, where women are able to earn an income and take care of their families. With the help of several other organizations, and through donations of funds, sewing machines, yarn, and fabric, women and girls who were victims of poverty, violence, and forced prostitution have been provided with a new life, one of dignity and hope. Additionally, women in the Sewing Center are helping the community through the clothing and products they sew, knit, and crochet, including school uniforms, diapers, and feminine hygiene kits.

And now they have a new goal: face masks.

Medical facilities and personnel are almost non-existent in Nakivale, and there is no running water in most of the settlement. So the people living there are at even greater risk from the coronavirus than many others around the world.

We now have an opportunity to equip the women with the training, supplies, and materials to make face masks that can help to protect the most vulnerable among the population, and can be distributed to households throughout Nakivale to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

In addition to the face masks, we hope to train and equip some of the women at the Sewing Center in the production of liquid soap and hand sanitizer – critically important in areas with no running water!

It will take about $4,000 to get both projects up and running. I’m hoping that, even though many here in the United States are also struggling to survive the medical and economic impact of coronavirus, some of you may be willing to lend a helping hand to people far away from here who have already suffered more – and in more ways – than we could ever imagine. And who are, like us, falling victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

Any amount is welcome, and will help save lives in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement. To donate, please visit, and designate “Sewing Projects” in the box where you can specify where you’d like your donation to go. Thank you!

June 5, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020

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