Pencil instead of gun
Within the framework of the action ‘Missionary carol-singers’ Polish children will help children in Uganda. Many of their African peers spend childhood with guns in their hands.
The carol-singers have started visiting Polish homes on Boxing Day. Fr Bogdan Michalski from the Pontifical Missionary Works says, ‘Carol-singing is sharing joy of meeting the Saviour who was born in Bethlehem. The missionary carol-singers want to turn our attention to the hard situation of children in the missionary countries. This year they are going to talk about children in Uganda. They will collect money for children in Uganda.
‘Poverty and anxiety plague most Ugandan children every day. Half of the population have no access to drinking water. Every doctor must care for 25,000 patients and school… is often an unfulfilled dream. But the biggest drama of the Ugandan children is the ongoing civil war,’ explains Anna Sobiech, the secretary of the Pontifical Society of the Missionary Childhood.
The war has been waged in northern Uganda, where the tribe of Acholi lives, for over 20 years. Having not enough soldiers, the rebels fighting against the governmental army have kidnapped 20,000 children within 20 years, giving them guns and forcing them to fight. The children have been trained to be brutal soldiers, devoid of scruples.
‘Education, school – our remedy for the problem of juvenile soldiers’, stresses Fr Kazimierz Gajowy, SDB, who has been a missionary in the Middle East for many years. Currently, ten Polish missionaries are working in Uganda. Our financial help from the collections organised by the carol-singers will be given to them. It will allow the missionaries to continue 44 most urgent projects for almost 100,000 children. Thanks to the educational projects the Ugandan children will be able to attend school.
As a rule the missionary carol-singers visit people’s homes between Christmas and the New Year’s Day. The souvenir of this visit is a star with the words of blessing for those who receive the carol-singers. These little missionaries collect money from people. The conclusion of this action is held during Mass on the Feast of Epiphany. At the same time 6 January is the Missionary Children’s Day (established in 1950 by Pius XII).
(Pontifical Society of the Missionary Childhood)