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  • Writer's pictureMichael Barritt

Christmas Appeal: Shirts For Uganda

From club chaplain Sam Magill.

Two groups from Thriving Life Church, Newtownards are visiting Uganda in 2019, in conjunction with Bangor-based charity Abaana – the word ‘abaana” means children in the local language, Swahili.

They will be visiting a number of Abaana projects, including the Tekoo Primary School in Gulu Province, which has been funded by donations from Thriving Life Church and S Clarke & Son Funeral Directors.

Abaana is a Christian based charity which invests in Children in Africa, particularly in Uganda, helping them to break the chains of poverty, through education. Abaana currently work with over 4,000 children in Uganda through their network of primary schools, and through their  Street Kids project in the capital city Kampala.

Many past visitors to Uganda have remarked on how much the children love football. They are quick to ask which football team you support, and know the names of all the top players, even though they have never seen them on television. Their favourite players are Mo Salah, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and they love football shirts, regardless of the team, as they are very hard to get in Uganda. Past groups of volunteers have taken football shirts to Uganda, and the kids love receiving them as gifts.

So this is where we can help!

I am co-ordinating a collection of football shirts for the TLC and Abaana volunteers to take to Uganda in January/February 2019, and I would love to invite all Ards supporters to be involved. Any shirts donated do not need to be new (but if you want to donate a new shirt it will be gratefully received!)

Ideally we will collect these at our home game against Cliftonville on Saturday 15 December. We can also accept donations at the Ards FC Sports Club, or you can phone me on 07790 019228 to arrange for any shirt donations to be collected.

We are accepting reasonable quality used shirts from any team (even Bangor!) and would respectfully ask that they are washed before being donated. Kids sizes are a priority, but we can also accept larger shirts as Abaana do work with younger adults in Uganda. We can also accept kits, if shorts and/or football socks are available.

We have been promised photographs of the youngsters wearing their shirts, and I love the thought of being able to publish them in Ardsview later this season. I love the thought of loads of kids in Africa running around in Ards shirts!

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