Stephanie reaches out to Africa's AIDS orphans

By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.com.au

A YOUNG Gladstone woman will brave malaria and other infectious diseases to help Africa's orphans.

Stephanie Silvester, 22, is aiming to raise at least $4500 to be able to go to Uganda to work in two or-phanages and in the local communities near Mbale.

'I have a passion to work with African children, and this gives me the opportunity to do that,' she said.

Stephanie said she heard about the Olea (olive) Tree International mission during a presentation at the Biloela Baptist Church and soon indicated her interest in taking part.

She will be the only person from Gladstone among seven people leaving Australia for the three week mission on November 26.

'I have always been interested in missionary work, and this presents an opportunity to see what it is like before making a commitment.'

She said most of the children had been orphaned through either one or both parents dying of AIDS.

Stephanie said if AIDS took a husband, the wife often would give up their children to the orphanages because she was unable to work and look after them herself.

Some of the children could be infected by AIDS themselves.

She said although she did not have many fears about working in the orphanages or in the village, she was aware of the risk of contracting AIDS and, what was more likely, being infected with malaria.

Stephanie will work at the Christian Adoption Home and the Bushikori Christian Centre which also has a school attached.

She said she hoped a concert, organised for her by her friend Leanne Christensen of the Gladstone Municipal Band and Lost for Words Band on October 30, would raise the needed funds.

The concert, which will feature both bands, will be conducted at the Gladstone Municipal Band Hall from 2pm.

Entry is $5 for adults and a gold coin for children. There will be raffles on the day and afternoon tea provided.

For information phone Leanne on 4978 1902 after hours.



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