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Catholic Mission’s 2017 World Mission Month Appeal is propelled by Pope Francis’ annual World Mission message, which reminds us that… mission is at the heart of our faith.

This year students in Catholic schools across Australia are invited to partake in World Mission Month celebrations by ‘Socking it to Poverty’ through their active support of missionaries such as Sister Mary Goretti, and the professional staff at St Luke Health Centre in Bujuni, Uganda. Together, they work to provide critical community health and medical resources to support needy children and new mothers. Each day, 42 children in Uganda pass away from malaria related illnesses due to exposure of dirty water, a lack of access to nutritious foods and infected mosquito bites.

We invite you to discover the story of Harriet, a thirteen year old primary school girl who lives with her five brothers and sister in a mud hut on the outskirts of Bujuni in Uganda. Harriet, relays to us her experience of being dreadfully ill with malaria and typhoid, and inspires us with her rapid transformation thanks to the dedicated work of Sister Mary Goretti and the trained medical staff at St Luke Health Centre.

Harriet shares with us the struggle of her family as they were forced to place her on the back of a motorbike for two hours late one afternoon, as her fever continued to grow at a rapid rate. This motorbike was her family’s only option to ensure their daughter could access the urgent medical care she required, as there is no ambulance, no bus and no family cars available in their remote village.

Thankfully, with the help of Catholic Mission, Sister Mary and the staff at St Luke Health Centre, were able to admit and properly diagnose Harriet as soon as she arrived. During her time at the Centre, she received the proper medical care and medicines that she required to make a full recovery.

Inspired by the level of quality care and medical support that she had received from Sister Mary and the staff at St Luke Health Centre, Harriet makes an important decision to pursue further study to become a qualified nurse when she leaves school.

Sadly, there are still countless children across Uganda who are unable to access affordable health care.

Sister Mary compels us to consider how we can help the staff at St Luke Health Centre to receive a new community ambulance service to ensure they can reach out and provide urgent medical assistance to sick children and their families at their direct point of need.

This year, students across Australia can ‘Sock it to Poverty’ and help children like Harriet by fundraising and collecting gold coins for the work of Catholic Mission. Together as a class or school group, students are invited to raise money by creating a fundraising activity based around socks or an African/Ugandan-inspired theme, and ask family and friends to sponsor them through cash donations.

Fundraising is an excellent way for students to reach out to children who are vulnerable in Uganda, and all around the world.

As part of nurturing the Catholic identity of your community, the Bishops and Directors of Diocesan School Administration have asked every Catholic School in Australia to support Catholic Mission’s work with children. Students have the opportunity to support Sister Mary by helping children in the poorest communities of Uganda, Africa receive life-giving medicines and medical services.

Pope Francis, has urged us to remember that… mission is at the heart of our faith. So, it’s now up to us! Together we can provide critical health resources and a new future to needy children in Uganda, and all around the world.