Forever Friends of Uganda has been very quiet on the publicity front recently, and for that I can only apologise. An enormous change in our lives has meant that our attention has been focused elsewhere.
As most of you know, we lived in Normandy, France, for 23 years. During that time we welcomed tourists in a range of ways, and it is something that we enjoyed immensely. However, we reached a stage in our lives when we believed that the time had come to finally retire from the business. For a variety of reasons, we decided to return to our roots, and so it is that we are now established back in Stockport.
That does not mean we shall ease off in our efforts to help the Ugandan children in need who have been at the centre of our work for the past 15 years. Quite the contrary.
So ……. watch this space!
We told you earlier in the year of the problems teachers at Bulumbu have to put up with because they must live on the premises and there is no accommodation available for them. It is something that has engaged our attention since we saw first-hand how they were having to sleep in a classroom or in the church. It was unacceptable and unsustainable.
I am delighted to report that funds have now been transferred to Uganda to enable work to commence on a block of three bedrooms. The funding is very much one of partnership, with money coming from us in UK; from our colleagues in France (with support from our ever faithful Uganda charitable foundation friends) and from our Dreamscheme Uganda colleagues who have managed to become a full partner in this work.
We are so much stronger working together.
The Story of Florence Namatali
Nine years ago, it did not seem likely that Florence would have much in the way of a future. She was just starting her penultimate year at primary school, but only because our colleagues had taken her into their orphanage at Bubebbere and were taking as much care of her as their limited funds would permit.
Fortunately for this charming girl, we had just started our sponsorship scheme and she was among the first children to be able to benefit from it. She was regularly at or near the top of her class and was encouraged further when her sponsors bought her a blanket and mattress to improve her comfort.
At the end of Year 7, she passed her Primary Leaving Examination with a Grade 3 – easily good enough for her to progress into secondary education. As long as the funding was available. Once again her sponsors came up trumps with the increased amount that the next level of education required.
Florence did well at first, but as the years passed, she found the academic setting more challenging. That being said, she managed a pass in her Uganda Certificate of Education (the equivalent of “O” levels).
It was at this stage that we were able to offer her the possibility of a secure future and career with a two-year course in Early Childhood Education at the Nangabo Vocational Institute on the outskirts of Kampala. She was funded by a combination of her sponsors (once more) and our charitable Foundation partner which has been generous enough to support us in a whole range of ways.
Florence took full advantage, passing the course with a grade A score. An excellent result for a girl whose origins were so difficult.
So far so good – but things got even better. After graduation she was happy to return to Bulumbu and to commence her teaching career “back home”. Not only was she a great success in the classroom, but she loved the work. She has now progressed to take charge of the nursery section and to become deputy headteacher.
Well done Florence. And thank you to everybody who has helped to make this such a success story.
A few bits and pieces
The latrines that we financed earlier in the year are now complete and in use.
A small group of children were able to benefit from a trip to Entebbe Wildlife centre.
Our next major project – necessary but a real challenge – will be to find the funds to reroof the classroom block at Bubebbere. The rooms have been renovated, but if the leaking roof is not replaced all of the good work will be undone.
The first fund-raising attempt since our return has just taken place. We sold our Ugandan crafts on the Cheadle Hulme Artisan market.