Classic Health Care Worker Rita Kalegga has been on a mission since 2008 to help widows and orphans in Kenya.
Having fled war in her home country of Uganda in 1980, Rita became a refugee in Kenya. Her husband passed away in 1998, leaving her a widow to care for four children. After nearly 30 years in Kenya, Rita and her children moved to Canada in 2008.
“When I reached Canada, I looked back to Kenya and felt the need to help widows and orphans. From my own experience, I knew the hardships women experienced as widows and organized a way to help them.”
Rita started an organization called Blanket of Naomi, a reference to the Biblical story of Naomi, who cared for the widow Ruth and her children.
She contacted a pastor in a village outside of Nairobi, who introduced her to 10 widows with many children between them. Rita listened to their stories and set about helping to improve their lives. Since meeting the widows, two of them have died leaving behind 9 orphans.
Rita has collected donations and delivered toys and books for the children, provided money for them to attend school, started a business selling charcoal for the widows to manage and has returned to the village every year.
“When I told them I was going to help them, the women said to me, ‘You are God-sent.’ They couldn’t believe someone was thinking of them and wanting to help them.”
Rita and some of the widows with a sack of charcoal to sell. She was able to purchase them a bicycle so they can deliver the charcoal to customers.
Rita returned to Kenya in November for a month and collected donations to take with her.
Her plan was to buy the women a sewing maching and a machine to ground maize so they can sell the goods they make. They currently sell baskets they make, which Rita will bring back to Canada to sell for them.
Rita’s future goal with her charity efforts is to build an orphanage in Uganda. While she hasn’t returned to Uganda in almost 30 years, she will visit in November and search for land to purchase where the orphanage will be built.
“This has been in my mind for a long time, to help women and children. If I could have adopted all the babies who are unwanted and discarded, I would. But caring for orphans is a way that I can help, since I can’t take them all home with me.”
If you would like to support Blankets for Naomi, contact Classic LifeCare. When Rita is back from her trip, she will provide an update on the widows and children and how she was able to help them.
For more information about Blankets for Naomi, visit http://www.blanketofnaomi.com/about/