Violence and political upheaval in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Burundi have caused hundreds of thousands to flee their homelands as refugees, ending up at the United Nations refugee camp in Nakivale, Uganda. More than half of the refugees are widows whose husbands were murdered. Many are mothers who have been raped, some multiple times by gangs of rebels. Their stories are terrifying and traumatic. They can never go home.
Barbara (Basia) Olpinski visited Uganda about two years ago and met many of these women, Their stories broke my heart. “They are unbelievably strong, many educated and capable,” she said. “One of them, Janet, speaks four languages and translates for the U.N.” What Olpinski realized is what these women need more than anything else is an encouraging word from someone who knows them. She came up with the idea of Sisters of Refugees, a pen pal program where American women can build a relationship with one other kidred soul. Basia currently has 88 pen pals in 16 U.S. states writing to pen pals. She returned to her sisters in Uganda in 2018 to find mountains of love and gratitude for the program.
If you would like to join this exclusive band of caring women, all it takes is a letter of introduction. There is no cost or arduous travel. For more information, contact Chapel Outreach Chair Lee Mulder email@example.com or 630-606-1580.