Maama Irene Gleeson Laid To Rest In Australia As Ugandans Remember Her Contribution In Northern Uganda

Posted July 29, 2013 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Charity ~ 5,047 views


Up to 10,000 people have attended a memorial service in Uganda to celebrate the life of an Australian woman who cared for a generation of children traumatised by war. Irene Gleeson dedicated more than 20 years of her life to helping orphaned children and those abducted by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. The 68-year-old died in Sydney last week from cancer.

Uganda’s foreign minister and several MPs were among the mourners who attended the service on Saturday on the grounds of the Irene Gleeson Foundation at Kitgum in the country’s north.During two decades on the frontline of war, Ms Gleeson fed, housed and educated an estimated 6,000 orphans or destitute children. During much of that time she lived alone in a caravan at Kitgum, but built several primary schools and two vocational colleges. Her passing is of deep significance to the region’s people, who affectionately knew her as Mama Irene.

The nation’s foreign minister, Henry Okello, says northern Uganda would be a very different place if Ms Gleeson had not dedicated her life to helping others. The government is now being asked to consider honouring Ms Gleeson as a hero of Uganda. Jean Paul, the chief executive of the Irene Gleeson Foundation, says he is going to continue the work that she has done.

“Today is a day of celebration. Our hearts are broken. We are in pain. We lost our mother. The entire nation has lost a mother,” he told the ABC.
“But also we are here not just to mourn but to celebrate the life of Mama Irene. The lives she has changed.

“The landscape she has transformed, the nation she has blessed, the thousands of children that she has given hope to who would have perished without her sacrifice of leaving her home in Australia, selling it and relocating to the war zone of Uganda.

“We have received thousands of mourners who have come to pay their last respects to Mama Irene. We have district officials, representatives of the Australian High Commission in Nairobi are here. It is a big day.

“The people are asking that this day be remembered every year, the day Mama Irene passed on, 21 July every year, we come together and remember it.

“Yes, we are in pain. We are hearing testimonies of children who have been built to their full potential by Mama Irene.
“But also we are not just going to mourn. Mama Irene say: ‘Never say, rest in peace, for me’. Because for her, she will be dancing and singing in heaven.

“We know she will be proud to see the people here today and the lives changed through her work.”

Source — ABC New 24 Australia

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

One Comment

    O. Daniels

    we will miss her. may her soul rest in piece. May the Almighty God comfort her family members and friends

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