Ugandan Hospital Fundraiser Features African Pop Star
By Jeannine Manning Hutson
A fund-raising concert to benefit a program aiming to build a hospital in rural Uganda will be held April 29. The 7 p.m. concert will bring Ugandan pop icon George Okudi to Faith and Victory Church in Greenville to benefit the Kadami Hospital Project. The fundraising event is being organized by Ginger Dail, a public health educator with the Brody School of Medicine, and Dr. Sylvester Odeke, medical school faculty.
Okudi is a celebrated African musician who won best male artist in Africa and best East African artist in 2003 at the KORA awards, which celebrate achievement in African music. He has also won awards for best gospel group and best gospel single from the Pearl of Africa music awards. Last year, he was nominated for KORA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Africa.
Okudi has performed his music, featuring natural rhythms mixed with a pop-music style, around the world. In Greenville, his concert will benefit the Uganda Hospital project. The 65-bed hospital will provide health care to more than 500,000 poor residents in rural eastern Uganda.
Tickets for the concert are $10 for adults. Children under the age of 12 will be admitted free. Tickets are available from Odeke and Dail, and at Acasia’s Tipsy Teapot, 409-B Evans Street, and The Rock, Christian bookstore on Old Tar Road. Tickets also will be sold at the door.
Dail founded HOPE Aid International in 2005. The non-profit organization works to alleviate the burden of poverty and lack of available, accessible resources around the world.
Even though Dail and Odeke have similar interests in improving the economic and health status of people living in Uganda, they hadn’t met until recently.
“After we met, we realized we have the same vision on how to help people,” Dail said. “When I heard about the hospital, it goes along with the mission of HOPE Aid, which is to provide resources for people in need. It’s a great project that Dr. Odeke is doing.”
Odeke suggested that they bring Okudi to Greenville to perform. Okudi is in the U.S. on a special governmental invitation, Dail said, and will return to Uganda in a few weeks. Dail will travel to Kampala and Fort Portal, Uganda in June to check on 40 income-generating projects with families.
“We have families who have been recipients of rabbits, pigs, goats, a cow through HOPE Aid. And a school received 1,000 birds for a poultry project; those birds provide income to support the teachers’ salaries through egg sales, and provide lunches for the children. We want to create jobs, and that’s what these projects will allow,” Dail said.
She will also be looking at land to build a children’s center to benefit children of the community, who have been orphaned by AIDS. It would be a combined school and orphanage, called HOPE Children’s Center, housing 20 to 30 children in the beginning, and eventually expanding to 50 children.
Odeke recently returned from Uganda, where he performed a month-long medical mission program. The hospital project is a personal mission for Odeke, who is a native of the village where the hospital will be built.
For more information, call 321-7412 or 744-3410, or visit www.ugandahospital.org. HOPE Aid’s website is www.hopeaid.org.