Hundreds of women in Kireka, Uganda, who earned roughly $1.20 per day breaking rocks into gravel donated $900 to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The women turned over their money to AVSI, a Catholic Italian aid organization in Kampala, which forwarded it to an AVSI office in the United States.
“I was just completely blown away,” American aid worker Amy Cunningham said. “At first I thought, ‘This can’t be true. These people are just scraping by.’ But I went to the ceremony, and they were so happy to be able to send over this money. They were just overwhelmed with joy because they were able to do something to help.”
The charity of the Kireka residents is partly the story of Rose Busingye, a 36-year-old Ugandan nurse who founded Meeting Point International, a private relief organization that has embedded itself in Kireka to help the people who live there.
“Those people who are suffering, they belong to us. They are our people. Their problems are our problems. Their children are like our children,” Busingye said.
200 women broke rocks for weeks and donated most of their wages to the Katrina pot. A few others turned over their revenue from selling bananas, necklaces and small chairs.
“I am moved by your gift, simplicity, and heart,” Cunningham said while addressing the people of Kireka at a special ceremony. “It is moving to see that people living outside the United States also care for America.”