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Golden Shovel Awards -Take Two!

A bold initiative was begun in 2008 as ROTA launched its first “Golden Shovel Award” campaign to assist in amassing funds to build the Koiyom Medical Clinic in South Sudan. The building of the clinic was a lifelong dream of former “Lost Boy” Fidele Diing Dhan. Well the dream has come true and the clinic was built. With the assistance of our not-for-profit partners of the South Sudan Villages Clinic, the staff have been secured, medicines purchased and day to day operation has been providing medical care for some of the poorest people in that part of the world.

In recent weeks, the South Sudan Government withdrew their assistance in providing monthly medicines and supplies which the clinic relies upon. ROTA has helped on numerous occasions, however, we at ROTA always look to move our service providers to self-sufficiency. We’ve accomplished this many times in the Diocese of Masaka, Uganda where a leased commercial bank building we assisted Masaka Diocese to build provides additional funds to supplement the meager income of most diocesan priests and a soon to be completed four floor office complex will provide the necessary operating funds for the ROTA facilitated Masaka Diocese Medical Services warehouse which provides medical equipment and supplies to all.

We are pleased to announce our support for another building project: The “Koiyom Clinic Residence Building” project. This need came into sharper focus as a result of a recent visit to

the Koiyom Medical Clinic by a team sent by South Sudan Villages Clinic in 2022. Traveling were: Fidele Dhan- founding Member and senior board member of South Sudan Village Clinics Initiative, Dr. Romeo Wahome- An emergency physician and an Ultrasound trainer based in Kenya, and Mr. Joseph Iskander- at the time a Medical student based in Buffalo New York, who volunteered to offer medical service and assistance during the clinic visit. They brought with them an Ultrasound machine from Buffalo. The presence and assistance of the doctor and the team provided much needed medical help and training to the Koiyom Clinic Medical Staff. Accommodations for the visiting medical team proved problematic. They needed to reside in a hotel in the town of Aweil. The expense was exorbitant. That inspired a new idea in Fidele.


“What if we were to build a medical staff residence in the area? Visiting medical teams then would have a place to be housed while on their clinical visits to Koiyom.” Our ROTA board dialogued with Fidele upon this issue. One question was raised about the expressed need to locate such a residence in the town of Aweil rather than in or nearby areas close to the village. The response to the question made a great deal of sense. First of all any medical staff, especially visiting professionals, living in the village itself would never get any rest, for people would seek them out night and day. Secondly, Koiyom, and many surrounding areas, are devoid of electricity, drinkable water, sanitation and internet capabilities. Medical staff, especially foreign visitors, would require such necessities to network with their home countries as well as obtain adequate rest and rejuvenation for the days ahead. Another concern was what would happen during those times when visiting teams were not present? Fidele assured us that many NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) were working in the area and they too would be looking for adequate housing for their teams. Any profits from the Residence Project would supply funding for the medicines utilized by the clinic. This may seem like a dream but we have been down that path before.


When the idea of the medical clinic was first raised by former “Lost Boy” Fidele Dhan, it too was a dream. That is until many young people from the Diocese of Buffalo heard about the dream and made it their achievable goal to push the dream along into a reality. That is when the “Pickle Jar Project” was launched and put some fundraising flesh upon the dream. Many Diocesan youth dedicated their Confirmation Gift Funds, Music concert programs, Walk-A-Thon events, and even graduation money toward the beginning of the project. In one year they raised $35,000 which allowed Fidele and I to travel to the Village of Koiyom to begin the Ground Breaking for the new Koiyom Medical Clinic. That was the initial push of confidence that gave legs to the project and pushed us toward the achievement of our goal. It was then that the Golden Shovel Awards began in 2008 and encouraged many to join the youth in contributing to make the building of the clinic possible.

The dream became a reality with the first “Borehole” well for water and the foundation and brick walls beginning to rise. The roof was next and the clinic began to take shape.

Our partners at South Sudan Villages Clinic began to fundraise and provide funding for the hiring of the medical staff and the clinic was off to a great start. Solar Panels would follow sponsored by ROTA giving light and much needed refrigeration for vaccines, etc.


The DREAM has become a REALITY now and moving the clinic along the path of self-sufficiency is our goal. Won’t you partner with us today?

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the magnitude of this project, the board of ROTA Development Group will not be able to accept any new projects until the completion of this campaign except for those that are "restricted fund" donations and donations designated for some of our ongoing mission partners.

“A SPECIAL THANK YOU” to all of you who have supported the ROTA ministry and outreach throughout these many years. A donation of any amount would be great and gladly accepted. Family groups may wish to pool their funds for a GOLDEN SHOVEL award. Church Congregations and Organizations can make a donation in their name as well. If donating on line please indicate that your donation is for the "Koiyom Clinic Residence" and/or the "Golden Shovel Award" Drive. We’ve come this far by faith. In faith we pray and hope for your investment. Let’s make this New Dream a New Reality. Blessings…..Fr. Ron


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