It is fair to say that our progress in 2014 was solid rather than spectacular, but that is not to denigrate what we have done. That could not be so when we were able to complete our biggest and most expensive project in all the years that we have been supporting our Ugandan colleagues. I refer, of course, to the construction of the school hall at Bubebbere which was completed at the end of the year with considerable support from the Region of
Some years ago we initiated a small revolution in the village with the introduction of electricity by means of a solar panel in the orphanage. We have now continued that process by
their installation in the new hall. This will expand the possibilities for everybody. Not only will it benefit the staff and orphans but also the school as a whole. In addition it will be a considerable asset to the whole community which until now has had nowhere (apart from outdoors) to meet.
I should also like to take this opportunity to offer sincere gratitude to a charitable Foundation based in Kampala which over many years now has supported our work. Although our contacts have requested anonymity, that must not stop us saying: “Thank you enormously for your help. It is truly appreciated and valued. We should have achieved far less without you”. The Foundation has financed the three classrooms at Bulumbu and is now helping with the fourth one which is currently under construction. It has supported us with fees to train the young women taking courses in early childhood education at the Nangabo Vocational Institute, as well as with another project for 2015 which I shall talk about later.
Back in Europe.
The sponsorship project has some 90 supporters. My pleasure in how this has been such a success must not mask the enormous amount of time it takes, both for us and for
Berna Senyonga in Uganda, to keep things personalised for the sponsors. I believe the effort is well worthwhile. The whole thing has also become much more complicated to operate. In the early days it was straight-forward enough; it was the same fees for all of the children as they were all in primary school. Now we have secondary school children, youngsters on vocational courses and the young women in training. Of course that requires a whole range of different fees. I thank all the sponsors who have accepted extra costs as well as others who voluntarily, without any prompting, pay more than we ask.
Perhaps now is a good moment to repeat that we have the cheapest sponsorship scheme available anywhere, thanks to the voluntary work performed in both countries.
Our Blog has now established itself, both in French and in English. As well as being a means of keeping supporters up-to-date with our activities, it has helped them to understand the
difficulties of everyday life in the villages. May I pick out two recent examples? Many people were shocked by the dangers of jiggers. The result was twofold; some sponsors decided to buy shoes for their children and others offered second-hand pairs for the benefit of the children in general. Then the piece on the problems of water supply brought in a number of donations to enable us to make more progress with our plans. Many thanks to Martine Acoulon for her support in making the Blog a success. On a more everyday basis, we can use Facebook for communications but as many people do not use that site, it is of more limited value.
Our 9th Balade Contée signalled a new departure. Instead of the wander around the highways and byways of a local village, we strolled through the beautiful statue gardens of Jean-Marc de Pas at the Château of Bois-Guilbert. We were blessed with beautiful end of September weather and the event was a tremendous success. Our thanks go out to everybody who helped in this: Jeane Charionet-Herrington and all of the story-tellers, donors of prizes and refreshments, as well as to the participants and not least to the De Pas family for their welcome.
The sales of Ugandan crafts continued to help our income stream. Although we sold on fewer occasions than usual, both the Balade Contée and most particularly the support from Céline
Romano meant that it remained an important source of revenue to help the Ugandan children in need.
Thank you to everybody who has supported us in the past year. We now look forward to the challenges of 2015.