Faith Leaders Learn to Embrace
“Social justice is everyone’s responsibility.”
~ Turinawe Samson
Throughout history, the general population in Uganda has been conditioned to fear, shun, ignore, and at times violently discriminate against marginalized groups -- such as women, HIV and AIDS survivors, orphans, grandmothers, sexual minorities and refugees. The clergy have a strong influence over people’s beliefs and actions in Ugandan society. Our ULA workshops are compassionately designed to guide faith leaders in understanding diversity and the importance of practicing inclusion towards marginalized peoples. We teach faith and cultural leaders effective ways to communicate to their congregations, so that all members are encouraged to accept and embrace those who've been the victims of discrimination and violence in the larger culture.
In 2018, ULA fulfilled a grant by the United States Embassy in Kampala to conduct workshops on the understanding and inclusion of sexual minorities. 125 faith leaders from all over Uganda, each representing their own community, participated in these workshops.
Participants were made aware of the importance of embracing and focusing on religious teachings that demonstrate respect for all human beings. Using non-confrontational educational methods, such as dialogue and role-playing, our ULA teaching team invited participants to 'walk in the shoes' of those who are marginalized in Ugandan society. Participants learned of the challenges vulnerable people face every day. By the end of the workshops, participants came to realize that the wants, needs, hopes and dreams of these 'others' were no different from their own.
Ultimately, clergy workshop participants learned how to pass on their new understanding and enhanced empathy to their congregants. As a result, thousands throughout Uganda have opened their hearts to vulnerable individuals and are including them in the daily life and activities of their shared communities.
I'M AN ORIGINAL CATCHPHRASE
Faith leaders from throughout Uganda learn to promote Inclusiveness
in Universal Love Alliance workshops.
Workshop impact by a Minister
"ULA teachings are filling a gap which has been empty in Uganda, and I think even in Africa in general. So, this re-education and re-shaping process that the organization is introducing to the religious community gives a road map to show us a way to serve all people of God without judging them. We are becoming aware of the need to correct mistakes that were made by the people that brought Christianity into Uganda in the late 1800’s. These mistakes were not questioned for many years, but ULA is empowering us to question them and seek a solution to resolve them.
The teachings have changed the negative attitude I had towards people of vulnerable groups. I would like to say that I’m sorry to those individuals that I preached against before the workshops. ULA – please continue with these teachings! I know there are many religious leaders who are like I was before I attended your trainings and seminars on human rights, sexual orientation, dialogue, gender equality, and spirituality. I realize that as religious leaders we have a role to play in ending violence against these people. We can do this by instructing our congregants to reconcile with those of different orientations, accept them and express unconditional love towards them."