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13-Year-Old Inspires Walk for Uganda


Gabrielle Starr put her speech into action in Langley, British Columbia, this fall.

The 13-year-old member of Willoughby Christian Reformed Church felt challenged to make a bigger difference after entering a speech contest at her school.

Her speech was about Ugandan children. “Children are abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army. The boys become child soldiers, and the girls are raped and become pregnant,” says Starr. “I found out about these child mothers and I thought, ‘They are my age!’ I had to do more.”

With the support of her parents, Mike and Jennie Starr, the idea for a fund- and awareness-raising walk grew. Starr partnered the walk with Canadian Food for the Hungry, (, an organization that is presently focusing on support for Ugandan girls.

On a sunny October Saturday more than 200 people turned out for a walk and presentations that included Uganda’s Lake Victoria Children’s Choir and two Canadian Members of  Parliament. Funds raised exceeded $11,000.

Mabel Roukema, a fellow church member, joined in the walk. “Gabrielle is an inspiration to all of us who are older. It truly is impressive that a young girl is so touched by a story that she puts her commitment into action.”

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