Refuge 127

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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!












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.

National Youth Convention

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Refuge will be at National Youth Convention in Nashville, TN this week.  We will have our booth set up with our t-shirts and information about Hope Refuge School. There will also be an art gallery with portraits donated by arts, including photography from Mandylen’s Photography.  We will also have a fundraiser going on with pictures from Uganda.  For a donation of $5, you will get a photo from the collage of Africa.  Four lucky youth will receive a prize but first, all the pictures need to go!  Their names are written under the pictures! We are so excited about this event and can not wait to see what God has in store!  Please pray for God to open doors and that the mission of Refuge will get out and people would catch the burden for these children.  Also, please pray for a safe trip.

Flippin out for Uganda

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Mandy and Shay were recently invited to speak on the Lafayette news broadcast. The Opelousas Rotarty initiated a flip flop drive for the kids in Uganda that we will bring during our trip in Dec. We received our first donation from St. Vincent dePaul Society in Monroe! Thanks St. Vincent!!!!

Fundraiser October 5th!!!!!

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We will be having a Garage Sale and Jambalya dinner to raise money for this coming December’s trip to Africa. It will be on October 5 at 204 Isabelle Place, Thibodaux. The cost for the dinners will be $8, and we are also taking donations, but NO clothes. Thank you and God bless!

VIntage/ Antique/ Craft Sale

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On September 8, we will be having a vintage/antique/craft Sale. All procedes will go to Seth Holloway and Nicky Ordoyne’s trip to Africa this coming December! Please come and stop by! Address: 300 Ridgefeild Road, Thibodaux Time: 12(noon)- 5PM