Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The retired Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi has advised Ugandan leaders to emulate the legacy of Irene Gleeson, an Australian Missionary who helped thousands of destitute children in Northern Uganda.
Gleeson settled in Kitgum District in 1991. While there, Irene supported thousands of needy children with free medication, education and food. She reached out to orphans, disadvantaged children and ex-child fighters from Kitgum and neighbouring districts across Acholi sub-region. Irene lost a battle to cancer in July 2013.
At the time of her death, she had started four primary schools and a technical institute, a faith-based radio (Mighty Fire FM), a Community Church and a hospital all under the founded the Irene Gleeson Foundation [IGF] umbrella.
Speaking during the 6th annual Irene Gleeson memorial service held at Kitgum Public Primary School Playgrounds on Saturday, Archbishop Orombi said Irene Gleeson looked beyond herself, left her country and family to help needy children and her compassion paved a bright future for Ugandan children.
Archbishop Orombi lauded Irene for her generosity that didn’t stop at children only but also extended to the women, men and the community. He challenged the leaders to invest in people citing that Irene Gleeson invested in people who have kept her candle burning to date.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem said Irene’s compassionate heart was so rare; “She was God Sent,” He remarked.
Oryem asked the public to generously contribute funds towards the construction of a state of the art public library in memory of Irene Gleeson to boost the quality of education in the region. Construction of Irene Gleeson Foundation (IGF) public library in Kitgum Municipality is budgeted at 600 million Shillings.
But IGF Executive Director John Paul Kiffasi noted that only half of the required budget have been raised since last year when the project started.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah who represented the president at the annual memorial event as Chief Guest said that people should learn to sacrifice in order to help others.
“Sacrifice and charity is the hallmark of what we celebrate today. if you want comfort, you cannot help anybody else, but if you to do away with comfort, you can help anybody else and that’s where we get heroes, that’s why we celebrate the life of Irene, she changed the lives of many other people,” Oulanyah says.
Irene Gleeson Foundation currently supports 4,300 pupils and student beneficiaries enrolled in four nursery schools, four primary schools, technical institute and Business Institute while 250 people are being employed.