Parish has high hopes for high tea

Forster Tuncurry parishioner Loretta Heffernan shares a recent parish initiative that was both fruitful and fun.

After a young Mums’ prayer group meeting at Old Bar, Linda Norris shared photos with Judy Tyler of her recent trip to Tzaneen, Africa. During these trips, Linda works with Humanitarian Project International Inc and the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, to help build homes for AIDS orphans.

Judy was touched by the images of the orphan children and offered to host a fundraising event at Forster Parish community hall. With Linda Norris, Anne Moloney and other volunteers from Forster and Old Bar, it all happened! The hall was transformed, tables were beautifully laid and all who attended enjoyed an appetising and delicious high tea selection.

The event was promoted throughout Forster, Taree, Old Bar and surrounding areas. Judy and Linda collected donations from businesses in the area for a silent auction, there was a stall with goods made by local ladies from Tzaneen (so they can earn a living) and the opportunity for those attending to “buy a brick” to help raise funds for the building of homes for AIDS orphans. All monies raised go directly to help the Sisters to continue to work with the orphans and in the villages.

Over eighty people attended and were enthralled by Linda’s story. She shared her roles as university student, girlfriend, wife, mother, teacher and Religious Education Co-ordinator; her struggles with work and health, and the chance meeting with a friend who was helping to make memory books with people dying from AIDS in Africa.

In 2007, Linda travelled to an AIDS camp. As she said, “Nothing can prepare you. There are cardboard and iron shanties, thousands are sick and dying, people are ostracised from families and communities. If a person is HIV positive they are not wanted. In Australia we have many choices and support from churches, government, and community groups but in Africa there is very little. Fifty percent of the population in Uganda is under 15 because of the deaths of parents in civil war.

“In 2011, after seeing the Watoto Children’s Choir at Taree and listening to their stories of brutalisation, torture and killings by soldiers of the Kony regime – and their forgiveness of the perpetrators – I again felt the need to help. This time my husband, Michael, came with me to volunteer for Mission Watoto Australia. We had new careers as bricklayers, building a place to take care of babies that had been thrown away – literally. I was then asked to be a Volunteer Manager for Humanitarian Project Australia.”

The Ladies High Tea Fundraiser at Forster was a wonderful success and an excellent example of what can happen when parish communities work together.

To learn more contact Mike and Linda Norris, Humanitarian Projects International Inc.
E or P 0431 631 503 or 0408 077 089.

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