Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

100% Hope despite Hardship; Trishelle Sayuuni Had a Dream and Acted on It: She Left Home Behind to Care for Ugandan Children

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

100% Hope despite Hardship; Trishelle Sayuuni Had a Dream and Acted on It: She Left Home Behind to Care for Ugandan Children

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Calcino

AUSTRALIAN schoolteacher Trishelle Sayuuni found herself held at gunpoint for seven terrifying hours almost immediately after stepping off a plane in Uganda.

Most new arrivals would sprint immediately back to the airport and the safety of their home country after their release.

But Mrs Sayuuni was on a mission to change the lives of impoverished children and would not be swayed by violent threats.

The intimidation did not stop there, but her passion was stronger than the obstacles before her.

Mrs Sayuuni now looks after more than 100 local Ugandan children through her charity 100% Hope, a venture born from a dream to help some of the world's most vulnerable children.

Its story began in Dubbo in 2006 when Mrs Sayuuni, then named Trishelle Grady, was studying to become a teacher.

"I had a dream about starting a hope village in Africa, helping kids with education and nutrition, setting up homes and different things," she said.

"Three years later, I was teaching on the Gold Coast and I made the Australian dragon boating team.

"I represented Australia at the world championships in 2009 in Prague, and I decided to tack on a trip to Uganda.

"On my first day there I was held at gunpoint for seven hours.

"But I fell in love with the community and the kids and I knew that was where I was meant to be."

She took time off work every year to return to the landlocked country until 2012, when she quit her job, packed her life into a single suitcase and bought a one-way ticket to what had already become her spiritual home.

That was when the volunteer-run charity 100% Hope really got off the ground.

"We've been able to buy five acres of land, and we started a school last year with three classrooms," she said.

It has not been clear sailing for the budding organisation.

Mrs Sayuuni was lucky to survive being caught in the middle of riots in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, while driving from the airport to the charity's village.

She has been thrown in prison and has had someone hired to kill her, all because a local charity she had previous dealings with was discovered to be corrupt. …

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