American star actress brings hope to the north

KAMPALA.

American actress Mary-Louise Parker is in the country to create different opportunities for vulnerable Ugandan youth affected by Lord’s Resistance Army twenty years of insurgency in northern Uganda.

During her four-day visit, Ms Parker will use her position as a Golden Globe winning actress to raise money towards educating students in northern Uganda.

Yesterday, Ms Parker travelled to Gulu to visit Hope North, an organisation that works towards educating victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebellion. The organisation runs a secondary school, an arts centre, vocational training institute and a farm.

Already, thousands of victims of the Joseph Kony war have studied at Hope North since it was opened in 1998 with support from donors including Oscar winner Forrest Whitaker and Ms Parker.

“Education is the best gift one can give children,” Ms Parker told Daily Monitor at Roots Retreat and Camping Resort in Entebbe before leaving for Gulu. “I am here with my children to find a way of sponsoring some of the poorest children so that they too can go to school. With an education, they will get jobs and sponsor other children.”

According to Mr Sam Okello, the founder of Hope North, Ms Parker, best known for her lead role as Nancy Botwin in the TV series ‘Weeds’, began her involvement with Hope North six years ago.

Within that period, Ms Parker has sought creative ways of raising money used to sponsor hundreds of children at the school. These include hosting film and television stars to galas as well as baking.

“She came to visit the project and also see how best not only to promote Hope North but also Uganda abroad.

She is also looking at creating different opportunities for Ugandan youth, especially in education, vocational skills, training and tourism,” Mr Okello said yesterday.

cabangirah@ug.nationmedia.com