Daniel thanks Derry as people reminded to return their Trócaire boxes

Daniel (on left) with his family in Uganda. Photo Mark Stedman.
Daniel (on left) with his family in Uganda. Photo Mark Stedman.

A young man from Uganda has thanked people in Co. Derry for their donations which have meant he has been able to continue his education.

In 2012, at the age of nine, Daniel Okweng featured on the Trócaire box as part of that year’s Lenten appeal.

Now Daniel is a 15-year-old teenager. His home is a simple hut in northern Uganda and his family is among the survivors of one of the worst massacres perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) during the 20 years of terror the rebel group inflicted on the region.

Daniel was 18 months old at the time when over 300 people were killed in his village of Barlonyo on February 21, 2004.

Trócaire helped many families returning after the war to get their farms and small enterprises functioning again.

“When Trócaire came here, we had no hope,” Daniel’s mum Betty said, explaining how the charity helped her and her husband Joel to reclaim their farm and introduce new techniques to ensure better harvests.

The support Daniel’s family received meant that he and his siblings could go to school. Education is the most important thing for Daniel’s parents as it is the only way they can prevent their children from returning to a life of struggle and poverty.

Daniel said he’d like to come to Northern Ireland some day and see a few of the faces who know his from the Trócaire box, but in the meantime, he’s a young man determined to make the most of his chance at staying in school.

Kevin Donnelly, Trócaire’s regional manager, said: “Daniel’s story is a great example of the very real difference donations made here at home during Lent can make in some of the world’s poorest places.

“The work in Uganda, and many other developing countries, is only possible because of the generous donations made by people in Co. Derry and across Northern Ireland.

“Parishes across the country will receive returned Trócaire boxes from this week. We would be extremely grateful if anyone who has a Trócaire box at home or in work could kindly drop it back to their local parish and we can start putting these generous donations into action.”

Trócaire boxes can now be returned to Catholic parishes across Co. Derry.