Woman receives prestigious Rotary award for charity work in Uganda

A Cookley woman who has worked tirelessly for many years for a village charity in Uganda has won a prestigious Rotary award.

Kate Oakley
Kate Oakley

Kate Oakley, the 76-year-old founder of the charity Planting for Hope Uganda, has been supported by Rotary Clubs in Kinver and Bewdley.

Members were so impressed over a number of years by her dedication to her work in Kititi village in Uganda that they nominated her for the Community Champions Award,a national award presented by the Rotary organisation in Great Britain and Ireland.

The award is given for outstanding work in the community at home and abroad.

It recognises Kate’s tireless drive to empower the community of Kititi by giving them hope through a self-supporting and sustainable future.

She will be presented with the award virtually on June 30.

The Club has supported her work in projects such as providing clean water for this bush village.

Since first visiting the area in 2008, Kate, through donations, has helped buy land for a farming project, helped build a school and employ teachers and create a woodland, coffee plantation and other job-creation schemes.

Her current project is to build a dormitory for 50 orphaned and vulnerable girls at the Cornerstone School in Kititi, to provide safe accommodation and free education and health care.

Kate, a former teacher at schools in Stourbridge and Dudley, said: "When I first went to Africa I had never been there before and never flown alone but I felt a light go on and knew I wanted to help and became friends with someone who shared the same vision.

"He started a farm school and I realised there were about 1,000 orphaned children around the area and the aim was to give them one egg and one mug of milk each week.

"I organised for a choir to tour in this country to raise awareness and funds and wanted to help by improving housing, food and education.

"The school that has been built now has 600 pupils and 12 houses for teachers.

"The first thing we did was start a co-operative and then formed a charity and now I spend time here doing car boots and giving talks to Rotary Clubs or whoever will have me to raise funds.

"Now each child gets a mug of porridge each day and we have job-creation schemes with the latest being to teach people tailoring."

Kate was unable to visit the village last year because of Covid-19 restrictions but hopes to go again in January."

Anyone wanting to make donations or to book Kate for talks is asked to call 07791680204.

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