How Ugandan women will benefit from the Blue Nose Marathon

One of many charities linked to the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon is making a difference in Uganda. The Aninga Project raises money to educate and empower women and young girls in that country.

'We're dealing with countries that have current major conflicts in them'

A group of runners participating in this weekend's Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon raises money to help women and girls in Uganda. (Submitted by Aninga Project)

A Nova Scotia charity linked to the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon is making a difference in Uganda.

The Aninga Project raises funds to educate and empower women and girls in that country.

"About $40 a month sends a girl to school with all of her expenses paid for," said Jenny Benson, Aninga Project president. "That includes food, water, transportation, uniforms, medicine — whatever she needs."

The Aninga Project began supporting Ugandan girls in 2007.

For the first time last year, two girls sponsored by the project, including a girl named Aninga, graduated from university.

"We had been supporting them since elementary school, so that was a really proud and exciting moment for us," said Benson, who lives in Halifax.

Jenny Benson is part of a charitable effort that helps 20 Ugandan girls and women attend school. (Submitted by Aninga Project)

A Dalhousie University graduate with two degrees in social anthropology, Benson said the Blue Nose Marathon has become a big fundraiser for the project.

This will be the fifth time the group has entered a team in the marathon's charity challenge.

"We've raised about $40,000 to help our girls go to school."

'It can be very dangerous'

Most of the girls who are sponsored by the project live in the Koboko District in northern Uganda. That part of the country is bordered by South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, areas with limited infrastructure.

Educational opportunities for girls and young women in the area supported by the Aninga effort are scarce.

"We're dealing with countries that have current major conflicts in them and are dealing with some child-soldier issues," said Benson, a policy analyst at Service Nova Scotia. "Where the girls are living, it can be very dangerous for them, so we work to get them into boarding schools and into safe schools."

Benson said the group is helping 20 girls attend school.

Last year, a total of $600,000 was raised for 73 different charities through the marathon's challenge.

About the Author

Paul Palmeter

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Paul Palmeter is an award-winning video journalist born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. He has covered news and sports stories across the province for 25 years.