SJE Hosts Dr. Susan Wilson of the Tumaini Fund

November 11, 2019 after the 9:00 AM Mass in Rome

The Tumaini Fund now supports 25,000 orphans—approximately 23% of whom are Catholic.  The Fund pays secondary school fees for 6,000, high school fees for 200 and university and college fees for 200.  It has sunk 100 fresh water wells, built an elementary school, completed two large irrigation projects, established countless microfinance projects and established 11 vocational training schools for tailoring and carpentry.  It has provided improved housing for many in need, distributed hundreds of bicycles to eliminate the need for school children to walk great distances to and from their schools, provided solar lamps to enable students to read at night in their homes which are not electrified, distributed hand-made dresses and sweaters to children desperately in need of clothing and distributed and maintained thousands of mosquito nets to limit the spread of malaria.

Through its staff of 180 social workers it provides agricultural and animal husbandry training to the families it supports and helps local communities to develop rules for the use and maintenance of the fresh water wells it has sunk.

Dr. Susan Wilson, the Founder and CEO of the Tumaini Fund and the directors of Tumaini Fund USA, a 501(c)3 corporation based in Naples, are aware of the assistance which parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church have provided to those less fortunate than they for many years. They thank your pastor, Fr. Tom, for giving them the opportunity to acquaint you with the wonderful work being performed by the Tumaini Fund.  Please plan to come along to the Rome Room to meet Dr. Susan Wilson on Monday morning, November 11, after the 9:00 a.m. Mass, to learn more about the Tumaini Fund and how you might assist it to continue to provide better lives for those in need living in Kagera, Tanzania.

In 2001 Dr. Susan Wilson and her husband, Dr. Douglas Wilson, MDs from Guernsey in the British Channel Islands, spent a sabbatical working in a Mission Hospital located in Kagera in northwest Tanzania.  Kagera is one of the poorest areas in Tanzania, which is among the poorest nations of the world.  The area is located far from the country’s capital and few international charitable groups extend their reach to the region.  Its inhabitants are primarily subsistence farmers, hoping to grow crops sufficient to feed their families with food left over to exchange for needed services.  The average annual income of the typical farming family is approximately $110. 

In the late 1990s an AIDS pandemic had hit the area due to the influx of violent men from Rwanda and Burundi who infected thousands of local women.  Wives infected their husbands and both shortly died,

leaving the oldest of their children to serve as the head of their families.  The Wilsons left Kagera with vivid memories of older children leading their younger siblings or carrying brothers and sisters on their backs as they searched for food, because their mothers and fathers either had died or were too sick to care for them.

Susan agonized over how to provide assistance to these young families.  Failing to find charitable groups to whom she and her husband could donate to relieve the poverty in Kagera, she prayed to the Lord Jesus and one day decided it was his wish to have her create a fund to provide this aid.  In response, in 2003 she founded the not-for-profit Tumaini Fund UK.  “Tumaini” means “Hope” in Swahili and it is hope for a better life that the Tumaini Fund and its affiliated funds established in the U.S., Scotland and Canada bring to the inhabitants of Kagera.

Dr. Wilson was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) designationby Prince William in 2013 for her outstanding service to alleviate the suffering of so many people in Kagera.

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