(Seguin) -- Hope is being shared around the world and all thanks to a non-profit effort that for the most part is being led with folks living or tied to Seguin.
Watcch Inc. (What About The Children Children's Home) in Uganda, Africa is an extension of the caring hearts that were left behind a few years ago following a mission trip taken by such locals as Linda Redix and Pat Redix and DeCarmen Mitnaul, a 2013 Texas Lutheran University graduate who has since taken over as the president of the group's board of directors.
All ladies oversee leadership positions representing the United States and help facilitate those members who make up the Ugandan Local Board of Directors.
Mitnaul says the group was created to serve the needs of children who were found "in an orphanage in the worst conditions." She says the children served are often those who have lost their families to a natural disaster.
"We're more so seen as a disaster relief organization -- like long term relief. There were like a series of mudslides that took place. When we were on our missions trip there, we had actually just heard about the latest mudslide disaster that happened and we took a trip down to Bududa and we were just looking at the condition of the kids. There was over 75 children that were living at a temporary home. They were receiving government assistance. However the way the government works there, you only get three months assistance before the children have to either go to the street. Some end up going to other homes or some end up in not so happy places. Some of the kids had committed suicide. Some kids ended up being sex trafficed. It's just a lot of different things that happened to the kids. They have three months to find a sponsor to take on the home before those things happen," said Mitnaul.
Following the trip taken by Mitnaul, and Linda and Pat Redix, the women reportedly returned to the United States with even more passion for the children they had encountered. Mitnaul says within a year, Watcch was put into operation here in Seguin thanks to volunteers and a number of people who help provide the kids with nutritious meals, adequate health care, shelter and education.
"It was kind of like -- I came back and I was so touched and moved. I literally was so heartbroken for everything that we had seen. When I got back me and Ms. Linda and Ms. Pat and a couple other people had talked. I was like 'we just can't leave the situation like it is.' In disaster, they do get assistance from other emergency relief organizations, but they don't have any long term relief. Then we received a phone call that actually one of the three year old boys that we had met while down there had died at that particular location and he died because he didn't have Malaria medication which would have only cost $15. We just thought this was crazy. We spend more than that on food just to go to a regular restaurant. We spend more than $15 on a meal and that could have saved his life. It kind of motivated us. We got together. I want to say almost eight, nine months later, we got our 501(c)3. We came together and we started putting our heads together, doing different fundraisers, different things and building an organization," said Mitnaul.
Upon the teams arrival to the orphanage, they found that the children had no water and were only being provided one meal a day. Plus, children were suffering from heatstroke and others were fighting over the little food that was being provided. Plus, the children to mattress ratio was 35 to 1. Currently, the group is renting a home. The goal is to one day own their own building.
Mitnaul says since 2011, the non-profit group has supported a handful of children thanks to local fundraisers and support by organizations such as the Wesley Harper United Methodist Church. She says the group today faces its next goal which is to increase the number of children being served. She says a local "Soup Fundraiser" will be held this Saturday outside of Arlan's Market in hopes of not only raising funds but also bringing awareness to the organizations.
"Well this weekend, we're having hot soup. We do this almost every year, but this year, we're really making a big deal out of it. It's going to be at Arlan's Market. We have several of our donors, our biggest donors and supporters are going to be there helping. Then, Ms. Linda and Ms. Pat are also going to be there. We're selling taco soup and we're also selling chicken vegetable soup. They're also going to be selling banana bread and pecans. It's going to be a great time, great fellowship. It's going to be right outside of Arlan's Market," said Mitnaul.
The Soup Fundraiser will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Arlan's located in the Oak Park Mall building.