Refuge 127


Guest Blogger: Heather Austumian

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We met Heather during out last trip to Uganda. Needless to say she wasn’t as excited to be there as we were. LOL   Heather was ready to go the minute we got to the hotel.  We gathered for a prayer meeting on the second night but Heather went straight to her room.  She called her husband crying and was going to beg Josh to go home.  She prayed and God spoke to her and said she was there for a reason and to be patient. I asked Heather when did her feelings change and she told me “It changed when I laid eyes on that first child.”


Mission work will do that to you. It takes you to the edge of yourself and then turns your world upside down in a completely wonderful way. By the end of the trip, Heather couldn’t wait to go back. She was in love with the people, the country, and the children.


Heather was given the opportunity to go this August on a medical mission to the orphanage. Here’s her story in your words.


To be able to visit Uganda twice in one year is a privilege and a blessing.  This trip, I was able to travel with my son Michael who is a Junior at Purdue University.  This trip impacted him much like it did me the first time I went.  Our lives were changed.
With the help of the area physician, Dr. Masalo, as well as Dr. Sydney, we were able to do complete head to toe assessments on all of the children from Hope Refuge School.  Among the illnesses we treated were Malaria, ringworm, bacterial infections, fungal infections and intestinal worms.  Every child received treatment for intestinal worms.  Some also received needed vaccinations.
Seeing the familiar faces and all the smiles made the 5 hour trip on the very bumpy roads worth it.  Knowing that I was a part of perhaps saving a child’s life is all the thanks I will ever need.  It’s through the support of Refuge 127 and Helping Hands that we are able to help these children.  We ARE making a difference!












Two in One

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Hey Guys! Sorry I missed last month. It’s been a busy month for all of us with school beginning so here’s a two-for-one 🙂

Since last newsletter, the fifth building is complete. All it needs now is a little paint which we will be able to do when we go in January.  This was possible because of your support!

Bishop John Wayabire, who is in charge of Hope Refuge School, came to town in late July. We were able to meet with him and discuss the future of Hope Refuge and get an update of what is going on in Uganda.
 Kerry Consulting Group hosted a fundraiser and silent auction for Refuge at Fremin’s in Thibodaux. Such a great event. 
Thank you!

 Kylie and Kole Thorp wanted to help Hope Refuge School so they had a garage sale, saved loose change, and sold band bracelets as a fund raiser. In July, they presented Refuge with $420.65! In under a year, these two children have donated roughly $700 to Refuge127 and they can’t wait to get home and start raising more! They love the children of Africa and can’t wait until they can visit them one day. Thank you so much Kylie and Kole!

Stay tuned for a few announcements and a guest blogger!!!

Short and Sweet: July Newsletter

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I hope you all had a great 4th of July.

This month, Refuge is asking for help to meet two needs:

Homes for Tour of Homes 
If you are interested in having your home be on this year’s Tour and would like more information, please contact.  This is a great event and our biggest fundraiser of the year.  It’s a night to have fun with friends, eat great food, and support a wonderful cause all while visiting beautifully decorated homes in the Thibodaux area.  Let us know if you would like to participate or if you have a friend who would like to volunteer their home to be on the Tour.

Monthly Sponsors
$10, $20, $50, $100…whatever you feel in your heart to give.  We are looking for people to partner with us monthly.  If you would like to become a monthly sponsor, click here to donate.  If you’re not quite ready to be a monthly sponsor but would like to give a one time donation, you can do that as well.  All donations are tax deductible.

Again, we thank you for supporting the children of Hope Refuge School.

Well Hello June!

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This year is flying by so fast. Before you know it we will be back on a plane to Uganda!

Here is an update about what’s going on with Refuge.

Grace Doll Workshop
There will be a Grace Doll workshop held on June 21st from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Peltier Park recreation center. If you would like more information, please contact us.  We are so thankful for all of our volunteers who show up to make these dolls.  Special thanks to Mrs. Ann Buission, Mrs. Monica Stock, and Ms. Jackie Plaisance for leading this project.

Refuge Merchandise
Until our Refuge online store is finished, we have posted all of our merchandise online on Facebook and through our website at  For a donation, you can get a t-shirt or hat and let everyone know what you do to help the orphan in Uganda.  We can ship them to you if you’d like. Please take a look and email us if you are interested in purchasing one or more of our items.

Medical Mission Trip
Unfortunately, we did not have enough volunteers to go in August for the medical mission trip. However, we have set dates for our next one: June 2015.  This will give everyone enough time to start planning to take off of work and to start saving/fundraising for the trip.  If you are in the medical profession and are interested in going, please contact us at

New Roof
When Shay visited Dr. Sydney’s clinic in October, the roof of the clinic was leaking pretty bad. (Dr. Sydney is the doctor who is helping us treat the children at the orphanage.)  Refuge was able to help him seal the roof so that patients wouldn’t have to deal with falling water while they were sick.   Here are a few pictures from beginning to end of the process.

Exposed leaking roof

 New Roof!
YOU made this happen! Thank you!

We appreciate everyone of you who pray for this organization, volunteer, raise money, and keep up with what God is doing in Uganda. Stay tuned to more news from Refuge.

May Madness!!!

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Medical Mission Trip
Well, it’s official! We will be leaving in August for our first medical mission trip to the orphanage. We are so excited to see what God will do through the nurses and medical professionals that will be joining us on the trip.  Our plan is to vaccinate, deworm, and complete some tests while we are there. This trip will give us an opportunity to plan for the future health care needs of the children.

Funds are sent!
We have sent the funds needed to lay the cement and purchase and install the doors for the 5th building. This was possible due to those who came out and danced their hearts out at Zumba Love in April.  
Grace Doll Workshop
This past month, we had a wonderful turn out at our Grace Dolls event.  Thanks to the volunteers of Houma Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints church and all of our other wonderful volunteers for coming out and helping to create these sweet little dolls. If you would like more information on how you can help, email us at
May Madness Challenge
Let’s break ground on a dormitory for these children!
Please consider making a one time donation of $10 
during the month of May to break ground on the  6th building!
That’s only $0.32 a day
Click here to donate!
mail it to PO Box 5582
Thibodaux, LA 70302
Goal: $2000 during the month of May

March Moments

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March has brought so many blessings for Refuge127 and the children of Hope Refuge School

Zumba Love 

Zumba Love was a huge success.  Our goal was $4000 to pour the cement for the 5th building.  At Zumba Love, we raised $3000 and an anonymous donor walked in during the event and made up for the rest!  What a blessing!  We can now pour the cement and move on to the 6th building – a dormitory!

If you would like to get a Zumba Love “I Will Go” T-shirt, please email us at 

Financial Blessing

During the month of March, we received a total of $9000 in one time donations to help finish the school!  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  You are supporting God’s mission!

Medical Mission Trip

We are in the process of planning our first ever Medical Mission trip to the orphanage this summer.  We have teamed up with a group of health care professionals in our area to immunize the children at the orphanage.  We will also be educating the villagers and teachers about things such as first aid, hygiene, and how to prevent certain types of illnesses.  Please pray that this trip will be blessed and that the children can finally begin to live healthier lives due to this medical trip.

Tour of Homes

We’ve picked a date!!  Mark your calendars.  Tour of Homes 2014 will be December 6th, 2014!

Upcoming Events

Grace Doll Workshop
April 12, 2014
9:00am – Noon
Peltier Park Recreation Center

What is a Grace Doll?
The Grace Doll is a handmade doll which represents the orphan. Volunteers get together at these workshops to cut out patterns, sew buttons, and stuff dolls.  When complete, these dolls will be available to people for a donation to Refuge127.  If you would like to know more about the Grace Doll project, please email us at

If you would like to become a monthly sponsor of Refuge127, please click on the link below.  You can donate any amount you wish.  All donations are tax deductible.

Zumba Love Pics and Update

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We want to thank all of you who supported Zumba Love last Sunday night. Everyone had an amazing time. Our goal was to raise $4000 so that we could pour the cement floors for the 5th building.  We raised $3000!!!! At the end of the night, an anonymous donor gave $1000 which allowed us to reach our goal!!!

We want to thank you again for doing your part to build a home for these children.

We had visiting Rotarians from Australia join in on the fun!

Emily Rini with 409 Fitness Studio teaching Zumba

The girls from To the Pointe Dance Studio came out and danced their hearts out.

Refuge volunteers with Colonel Nutrition (sponsor)

Refuge volunteers with Dana Diez with Thirty One Gifts and Plexus (Sponsor)

Refuge volunteers with Thibodaux Gynecology & Obstetrics (Sponsor)

Even our little joined in on the fun!
Thanks to NEAT for all that you did for the event.

We would like to thank our wonderful Zumba Love Sponsors and our volunteers who came out to help and NEAT (Nicholls Education Association of Teachers).

Emily Rini with 409 Fitness Studio 
Lloyd Duplatis with Lloyd’s Remedies

Kristen Plaisance with Atchafalaya Gynecology and Obstetrics

Toby Keating with NW Trucking and Disposal 

Stephanie Domingue with ShoeShi 

Debby Nezat with Mary Kay

James Cloutier with NVI

Jenica Walker – Polar Watch

Maria Towns with Colonel Nutrition

Connie Sirois with Reset Focus 

 Toby Lafont with DL Wealth Management
Charlet Brignac with Three Stitches

Dana Talbot Diez with Plexus 
Riviere Insurance
Travis Plaisance with Pro Lawn Care

Zumba Love: Let’s Pour Some Cement!!!

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March 16th will be our 4th Annual Zumba Love.  Mrs. Emily Rini from 409 Studio in Thibodaux will teach an hour and a half Zumba class to African music.  During the event, you will get the opportunity to see pictures of the children you are helping that were taken on our last trip to Uganda.

The event will be held in Nicholls State University Ballroom.  Doors will open at 6:00 pm.  Registration fee is $25 which will include an “I Will Go” t-shirt.  Bring the little ones too!  There will be a special class for them where they will learn Zumba and do arts and crafts with the students from NEAT!

Our goal for Zumba is to raise $4000 to pour cement in the 5th building at the orphanage.  In the classrooms that the children currently go to school in, they sit on dirt floors. Our goal is for every building at Hope Refuge School to have cement floors so that these children can go to school in a cleaner environment.  If you can not attend Zumba Love, you may still make a donation through our website by clicking here.  If each person who follows us on Facebook would give $10, we would reach our goal and we can pour that cement!!!

You can also become a monthly sponsor by clicking on the same link above.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

Rehema Medical Center and Maternity Home

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Refuge127 has teamed up with Dr. Sydney Nsubuga, a doctor and Rotarian from Mbale, Uganda, who has volunteered his services to help the children of Hope Refuge School.  He has been a tremendous help assisting us with learning the needs of the children.

In December, he came to the orphanage with us and administered de-worming medication to 550 children.  Dr. Sydney was responsible for doing the leg work to obtain the medication so that it was available when we arrived.

We were also able to deliver 12 suitcases of medical supplies and equipment donated by local organizations and individuals to Dr. Sydney to help him in his community clinic as well as at the orphanage.

Our first medical mission trip will be held this summer, and Dr. Sydney has been instrumental in organizing the logistics of vaccinations, medical records, and assistance that we will need when we arrive.  We will be working along side Ugandan doctors and nurses in immunizing, educating, and screening the children.  We are very excited for this to happen!

To learn more about what Dr. Sydney is doing, please click on the following link:

Zumba Love 2014

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If you know businesses that would be interested in sponsoring this event, please email us at  Business logos will be advertised.