Making a difference half a world away

She envisions creating a micro financing program for the women of Ddegeya, perhaps teaching them a skill like craft making and setting them up with supplies so they can sell their wares locally or in the U.S., bringing some much needed money into their households.

Most of the women in Uganda don't have an opportunity to make an income. By making it a micro-loan program, ETC would in time receive the money back, enabling them to put that money back to work for other Ugandans, too.

"Not only would they be able to support themselves and their family, but they would be able to send their kids to school," added Sara.

Still, Sara said she realizes her understanding of the situation in Ddegeya may change once she gets on the ground.

"I'm going to ask the villagers themselves what they in their opinion need the most, and then use the proceeds for that," she said.

Besides helping out in Engeye's clinic in the village " the only opportunity the residents there have to access medical care " the team will visit the 21 young scholars whose education is supported by donors here in the U.S.. Sara will also be working at a program run by Union College fellows for children whose parents cannot afford even the few dollars for a public school uniform, barring them from an education.

She'll bring games, puzzles and educational materials donated locally to the program.

Sara Weinman said she hopes her trip will also help her find more ways to get local youth involved in the cause. ETC has about 10 dedicated volunteers who work to organize fundraisers. Last year, the group ran a successful "Cafe Night" at the Journey United Church of Christ, for example, that featured local youth talent.

She said she's been preparing for the trip by talking with other members of the organization who've made it before.

"One of my main goals is pretty much to survive through it," she said. "I don't really know what to expect. I'm a little nervous but I'm also excited."

For more information on Engeye and ETC or to make a contribution, visit engeye.org or engeyescholars.org.

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