A UGANDAN orphan supported by Meltham parishioners has paid a personal tribute to the people of the village.
Catherine Kabwijukya is one of many young people in the Ugandan village of Kyema who have been helped by Meltham residents over the past decade.
On Saturday she visited Meltham for the first time to thank the people for their kindness on behalf of all the other orphans.
The Meltham Churches Together project has supported 50 orphans through education over the past 10 years. Funds raised by the seven churches has also contributed towards medical and domestic care for orphans living in foster care.
Community leader John Bakanoba, who was born in Uganda, said: “The people of Meltham have helped this orphan girl to become a bright young woman.Catherine is now 25 and she came into the project aged 14.Now she is a teacher and is able to help many more people like her.
“Seven of the orphans Meltham has supported are going through higher education, 22 are at secondary school and the rest are at primary school.
“This may not have been possible without the help and support they have received by the Meltham community.”
Ten years ago members of the Meltham Churches Together committee decided to care for the orphans in Uganda.
Some of the committee have since visited Kyema and have helped to build a kitchen and other facilities for the villagers.
Many of the children they have helped are now living in foster care and are thriving thanks to the generosity of the committee.
The Meltham project has also helped to provide safe, clean water for the village through the Mustard Seed Project.
Mr Bakanoba added: “In the 70s there was a lot of mothers dying at birth because of a lack of medical care.
“Both of Catherine’s parents died when she was young and so the people of Meltham really did help and support her.
“She came to thank the people who looked after her and her friends in Uganda. This weekend was Catherine’s chance to thank them all.”
Catherine has been working at a school in Cornwall and learning more about teaching. She plans to take the skills and knowledge back to Uganda.