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Korea institute opens AIDS orphanage in Uganda

SEOUL (UCAN): Kkottongnae, South Korea’s largest social welfare institute, launched the Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan Centre in Kiruhura, Uganda, on August 18 to strengthen its programme of caring activities for orphans whose parents died of AIDS related diseases.
Archbishop Michael Blume, the apostolic nuncio to Uganda, celebrated the opening Mass for the new centre.
Archbishop Paul K. Bakyenga of Mbarara, and Father John Oh Woong-jin, the founder of Kkottongnae, also attended the opening ceremony along with 1,500 people.
The 1,800-square-metre facility can house up to 150 children. Its namesake, Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, who passed away in 2009, was a former archbishop of Seoul who spent much of his life tending to the poor and alienated in society.
Cardinal Kim is widely respected in South Korea for challenging the leadership of strongman, Park Chung-hee, in the 1970s and 80s during the country’s bloody transition to democracy.
In remembering the pioneering efforts of this iconic figure, Archbishop Blume said, during his homily at the opening ceremony, the center would further cement his legacy by caring for the most vulnerable members of society, a fact highlighted by the rampant human trafficking in the region.
“In situations where children are sexually abused or exposed to human trafficking, Kkottongnae cares for those who are weak and vulnerable, guided by the love of God and with His mercy,” he said.
Father Oh said the late cardinal wanted to put in motion a set of measures to turn around the lives of children whose future looks bleak.
“He showed great concern to AIDS patients and agreed with Kkottongnae shortly before he passed on, the need to set up a scholarship foundation for orphans whose parents succumbed to the disease,” Father Oh said.
Kkottongnae will set up the Paul Bakyenga Centre as a school for the orphans next to the new facility. It will teach kindergarten up to high-school level.
In 2009, the agency opened a similar facility in Karama, another district in the Western Region of Uganda, called the House of Love.
Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, showed his support for the project by sending one of his ministers, John Byabagambi of Karamoja, with a pledge of five million Ugandan shillings ($10,200).

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