By Martha John Savio
Thousands congregated for memorial service at Irene Gleason Community Church Kitgum Municipality in memory of Mama Irene Gleason yesterday.
The Memorial service that took nine hours was dedicated with a course of extending hands to the vulnerable families affected and still live with children suffering from Nodding syndrome, under the theme, “End nodding diseases syndrome”.
In his homily the senior pastor of Irene Gleason community church, Pastor Alfred Komagum preached about love and sharing to the most needful people in the society.
Further still Pastor Olanya Denis embraced Mama Irene Gleason and gave a testimony that, he was an orphan who grew up under the care of Irene and up to date he is now working at the Gleason Foundation with some of his friends like Pastor Alfred Komagum.
At his speech the key note speaker Dr. Sylvester Oziwa a doctor at Mulago referral hospital explained to the congregation that the nodding syndrome begun way back in 1993 and 2005 but up to date they have not received any clear course of the disease but as Doctors, the team will continuously work hard to come up with a lasting solution.
Dr. Sylvester further explained that the most unfortunate part of the disease is that, the disease kills mainly the age group of 15 and 30 years.
Meanwhile the administrator for the Irene Gleason Foundation Mr. John Paul Kifassi stressed out about how the girl child is handled by some cruel people in the society. He said just in two weeks, “research carried out indicates that so far 94 girls had been defiled in one sub county of Kitgum district,” but refused to mention the sub county for reasons of further investigation.
Mr. John Paul stressed that for every year in memory of Irene Gleason there’s a course of carrying any charitable walk and this year, the foundation had lobbied for fund raising and some donations in kind in terms of basic needs from the local community and stake holders to be donated to the 1000 families suffering from Nodding syndrome and has realized 185 million Ugandan shillings.
Mr. John Paul appealed to the honorable members of Uganda Parliament to lobby for fund in order to facilitate the suffering families with good accommodation, food and clothing.
In response the 3rd prime deputy minister of Uganda Mrs. Nakadama Rukiya Isanga and also the Member of Parliament Mayunga district who was the Guest of Honor said ‘the government of Uganda works for the people and definitely she will sit with the Acholi members of Parliament to move the issues to the Parliament to be deliberated on”.
The ceremony was attended by Nancy Achora MP Lamwo District, Okin Ojara PP MP of Chua West Amere Onekali Denis MP Kitgum district and Aol Betty Ohan MP Gulu City including some visitors who came from Gulu, Kampala.
Mama Irene Gleason was an Australian Woman who was abandoned by her parents at the age of 15 after a teenage pregnancy and got married at a tender age of 16 but by 20 years, unfortunately she was divorced and abandoned again by the husband and children which made her to relocate to Africa and opened an orphanage in Kitgum in 1991 at a peak of the rebels of Joseph Kony’s war where she lived in a caravan under a mango tree with no water and electricity.
Mama Irene begun teaching children, feeding, teaching word of God and nursing them and started lobbing for finance and improve in her infrastructure of schools with branches and medical facilities.
Mama Irene escaped six gun bullets during the LRA war and loved reading Bible verse of Exodus 23:20.
She died in 2013 23 /7/and in Kitgum District she is termed a woman of faith and a heroin that made her to be famous to the people of Uganda.