Sharing More Than a Namesake

Friday, February 29, 2008 | posted by Global Playground News |

Students at Christ the King School (CKS) in Haddonfield, New Jersey now share more than their school's namesake with the students at Christ the King School in Kampala, Uganda. Thanks to a donation effort spearheaded by Global Playground volunteers, more than three hundred students at CKS in Kampala are now scurrying to class in style--proudly wearing uniforms previously worn by their counterparts a half a world away.

The idea for the donation effort arose when Global Playground volunteer Joyce Howell learned that her grade-school alma mater had decided to change the school's uniform design for the first time in thirty years. The design change required all the students at CKS in Haddonfield to purchase new uniforms, leaving the question of what to do with all the previously-worn uniforms. In the past, previously-worn uniforms were given to a uniform exchange or distributed to needy schools in the area. Because of Ms. Howell's volunteer efforts with Global Playground, however, she knew of a needy school which also happened to be the perfect recipient for the uniforms: Christ the King School in Kampala, Uganda!

Ms. Howell's cousin Carol Saldutti, who has three children attending CKS in Haddonfield, organized the collection drive for the uniforms. In a newsletter to students and parents, CKS in Haddonfield asked families to donate their children's previously-worn uniforms to the students in Kampala. The response to help the Ugandan students was overwhelming. So many uniforms were donated that student council members spent hours sorting through them. The council members "went to a lot of effort to make sure the uniforms were in good condition" and chose uniform pieces that could be worn comfortably in Uganda's equatorial climate, Saldutti said. To transport the hundreds of uniforms to Uganda, Ms. Howell and her extended family vacuum packed the uniforms into suitcases durable enough to travel the more than seven thousand miles between Haddonfield and Kampala.

As part of Global Playground's efforts to share the resources of the developed world with the developing world, Global Playground board and advisory committee members delivered the uniforms in person. Msgr. Paul Ssemogerere, Father Joseph Kerunga, and three teachers received the uniforms to much surprise and delight on New Year's Eve. Msgr. Ssemogerere opened suitcase after suitcase to reveal jumpers, skirts, blouses, polo shirts, and shorts, all embroidered with the "CKS" monogram or the Christ the King emblem. Msgr. Ssemogerere remarked about the great quality of the uniforms and the fate that brought the two Christ the King Schools together. He liked the CKS emblem on the uniforms so much that he wanted his school to adopt it as their own. Father Joseph then animatedly expressed gratitude on behalf of the students and the school: "I would like to thank Christ the King in New Jersey on behalf of Christ the King children's group, Sunday school, and nursery for these donations. We thank all those who donated them. May God bless them always."

-Diana Chemotti and Doug Smith

If you have an idea on how to share the resources of the developed world with the developing world, please contact Global Playground at 1-800-998-9348 or at info@theglobalplayground.org.