Three AJWS Grantees Honored by International Organizations

New York, NY; December 8, 2008 — American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is proud to announce that three of its grantees working in Africa—Friends of Orphans (FRO) in Uganda, Foundation for Development of Needy Communities (FDNC) in Uganda, and Luapula Foundation in Zambia—have received prestigious accolades from international organizations for their work improving children’s livelihoods in war-ravaged and vulnerable communities. 

AJWS, an international development organization, is committed to supporting grassroots organizations that empower marginalized and disadvantaged youth throughout the developing world. Organizations like FRO, FDNC and Luapula Foundation represent AJWS’s core grantmaking philosophy—to provide tools and resources to local leaders who are most knowledgeable about the challenges their communities face. AJWS believes that local leaders are best equipped to effect positive change. 

Ricky Richard Anywar, Founder and Executive Director of Friends of Orphans (FRO) in northern Uganda, was honored by World of Children with its Humanitarian Award on November 13 at UNICEF House in New York City. World of Children, a global recognition and funding nonprofit, pays tribute each year to an individual who has made a significant lifetime contribution to children in the areas of social services, education or humanitarian services. Anywar, a former child soldier in the Lord’s Resistance Army, co-founded FRO in 1999 with the mission of rehabilitating and reintegrating former child soldiers into communities traumatized by atrocities the children were forced to commit during Uganda’s 22-year-long civil war. 

AJWS began its partnership with FRO in 2005 and supports its work to provide vocational training to formerly abducted child mothers, orphans and at-risk community members in the Pader District of northern Uganda. In September, FRO also received the Harriet Tubman Reintegration Award from Free the Slaves, a nonprofit organization that seeks to end slavery worldwide. AJWS nominated FRO for the Tubman award, which celebrates and funds an organization “specializing in social reintegration of survivors of slavery, helping them recover psychologically, earn their own income and regain a respected place in the community.”

Samuel Watulatsu, Founder and Trustee of another AJWS grantee, Foundation for Development of Needy Communities (FDNC) in eastern Uganda, was invited as a guest speaker at the Y2Y Global Youth Conference on “Empowering A Generation: Developing Skills and Capacities in Youth” at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. on October 23. Y2Y is a community of young staff at the World Bank that seeks to mainstream youth issues within the bank’s activities and in the broader development community and to engage with young people around the world. Watulatsu helped create FDNC in 1996 to bring rural communities together to enhance the productivity, innovation and self-reliance of disadvantaged people—especially women, children, youth and persons with disabilities—through social and community development programs. 

AJWS and FDNC have been working together for the past six years. Recent funding from AJWS supports FDNC’s community health workers and its special needs school that offers formal education to physically and mentally disabled students. AJWS also sends young Jewish adults as volunteers to work with FDNC for seven weeks as part of AJWS’s Volunteer Summer Program. AJWS volunteers have helped FDNC build water tanks for schools and a boys’ hostel at its vocational school.

In addition to FRO’s award and Watulatsu’s speaking engagement, AJWS grantee, Luapula Foundation in Zambia, won an International Service Human Rights Award for the “Defense of the Human Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS” this month. The International Service Human Rights Awards recognize organizations and individuals that work at the grassroots level in promoting human rights. 

Luapula Foundation was founded in 2001 to provide social, financial and educational assistance to HIV-infected and affected children and their families. Since 2003, AJWS has provided Luapula with general operating support and project support for its voluntary HIV testing and counseling center. 

“AJWS is delighted that FRO, FDNC and Luapula Foundation have received the recognition they so greatly deserve,” said Ruth W. Messinger, president of AJWS. “FRO’s work with the victims of Uganda’s civil war is truly groundbreaking. FDNC’s educational initiatives for disabled youth are desperately needed. And Luapula’s programs to prevent the spread of HIV and improve the economic prospects of people devastated by HIV/AIDS are commendable.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with these organizations in their efforts to heal and invigorate their communities.”

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