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Prior to joining the Love Mercy team, Caitlin (or “Jnr” as she’s known in the office) studied a Bachelor of Communications and Media at Wollongong University. She came to learn about Love Mercy through volunteering for another organisation, and ended up Interning with us for over a year. Now, she’s officially joined the team part time. With her work at Love Mercy, she is channelling her passion for empowering communities and thrives on hearing the testimonies we receive
Before joining us at Love Mercy Foundation, Bec studied her undergraduate in Bachelor of Medical Science (MedSci) at UTS. She worked as a Sales Executive with our good friends, and long-time supporters at Thomson Environmental Systems for two years - which is how she came to learn about Love Mercy’s projects in Uganda. In 2017 Bec signed up for the annual Uganda trip as a volunteer fundraiser and felt at home the minute she arrived. Once she saw the impact of Cents for Seeds and the Kristina Health Centre first-hand Bec was hooked, and when the role of Fundraising Manager came up in 2018 she was the natural choice. Her relentless energy, humour and passion for all thing travel, sport and coffee related, keeps everyone their toes. Bec is an integral member of the team here in Sydney, we’d be lost without her.
You are capable of changing the world. You must first believe it possible.
Katie was inspired by a family history of providing education and support to orphans in Tanzania where she spent time working at a school an orphanage. When Katie returned to Sydney she decided to study a degree in Psychology of which she is now undertaking a thesis to continue on a trajectory of helping others. Katie is an invaluable resource in the Love Mercy Office and loves to get her hands (and feet) dirty in Africa!
In every ordinary day, in each seemingly insignificant action, there are countless opportunities to make the world better than when you found it.
Olympic athlete Eloise Wellings is passionate about athletics and helping those in poverty. After realising at the age of 15 that she wanted to make running her career, she committed to training and qualified for the Sydney Olympics at the age of 16 in the 5000m track event. Unfortunately soon after qualifying, Eloise suffered a stress fracture, which continued to plague her career for the following decade. She suffered 13 stress fractures in 11 years, and missed out on three Olympic campaigns due to injury despite being selected for the team, and measured for her uniform. Her story of grit and determination is magnified by the fact that she met Ugandan Olympian and former-child soldier Julius Achon while recovering from a stress fracture before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Eloise was moved by his story of triumph over adversity, and while she didn’t recover in time for the Beijing Olympics, she felt that her troubles were put in perspective by Julius’ life. She founded the Love Mercy Foundation in 2009 and has since impacted over 100,000 local Ugandans through health and agriculture programs. Eloise is committed to seeing change in Uganda and supporting Julius in his dreams to see his village prosper and overcome the effects of war and poverty. She finally achieved her Olympic dream in London in 2012, and was the highest placing female Olympian in Australians history in the 10,000m event in Rio, finishing 9th. Eloise competed in her fourth Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.
"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."
Julius Achon has an inspiring story of hope which continues to unfold. He grew up in the remote village of Awake in Northern Uganda in severe poverty. At the age of 11, he was captured by rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and forced to become a child soldier. He was held captive for 3 months until an opportunity to escape arose when a government plane flew over the LRA camp. Julius escaped but sadly witnessed the murder of 9 of his friends as they ran for their lives. When Julius returned to school, he knew he had athletic talent and so began to run 8 kilometres to and from school each day for training. He was selected to run at the District athletics carnival but could not afford the bus ticket. To avoid missing out on competing, Julius ran 72 kilometres in 4 hours to make the carnival which he went on to win. This was the first of many local successes, which lead to Julius being offered a scholarship to George Mason University in South Carolina. From here, Julius began his professional running career including being flag bearer for Uganda at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. One morning on a routine training run in Uganda, Julius literally stumbled upon 11 orphaned children living in a bus shelter. These children, who had been displaced by Africa's longest running war, were without food, clothing, housing or education, with some of the children unable to remember even their own names. From that day on, Julius took the children in as his own family. It was after this time, when he was struggling to take care of the orphans that he had a chance meeting with Eloise and the seeds for Love Mercy were sown. Julius’ dreams of seeing his village prosper have begun to take shape with the opening of the Kristina Health Centre in 2012, named after his late mother who was shot and killed by the LRA. Julius lives in Kampala with his wife Grace and two children, where he manages Love Mercy’s operations on the ground.
"One humble person can make a difference."
Caitlin has a passion for our women in Uganda, and is most at home sitting under the mango tree in Northern Uganda, bringing about real change within communities in poverty. Caitlin holds a Bachelor of International Studies and a Masters of International Development Studies from UNSW. She is passionate about people, and has a young family based in Sydney's south. Caitlin was committed to setting up Love Mercy when Eloise came back from her first meeting with Julius and navigated the minefields of the not-for-profit world to set up the Foundation. Caitlin worked in a volunteer capacity for three years until becoming the first paid full-time staff member in 2015.
"Love makes the world go around"