Tag Archives: Children

An Autumn Roundup

The New Latrines at Bulumbu

Another essential project completed. The school now has use of the new latrines that were so urgently needed. The construction still needs plastering, but it is in use.

Stockport County Bucket Collection

A great – and enjoyable – success.

On Saturday 23rd September, we paraded around the stands at Edgeley Park asking spectators to throw coins into our buckets.

Our sincere thanks go to the SCFC Community Foundation and to Stockport County for helping to make this happen. On the day, our 12 “bucketeers” worked hard and cheerfully to persuade the fans to hand over their money. The £560 that we raised will go a long way to help us with our future projects

The bucket team at Stockport County

Teachers’ Accommodation

During our visit to Uganda early this year, we were absolutely delighted to open the new classroom block at Bulumbu, to meet the sponsored girls and boys, and to welcome the progress that was being made in the education of these needy children.

That being said, our schools are still very poor and the income is inadequate for everything that needs to be done. A major difficulty is in the recruitment of competent teachers. The lack of money to pay salaries is one part of this problem, but so too is the remote location of our schools. Young men and women are not keen to stay in isolated villages.

But just as important is the problem of where can they live if they are not from the area. One of the things that disturbed us most was the lack of sleeping accommodation for these teachers. At present two of them sleep in one of the new classrooms – which of course means that they have clear out all of their things every morning before lessons start. Others sleep in the neighbouring church. Hardly an ideal situation!

So …. we intend to make a start on improving things by constructing a block of three small bedrooms. That will be the next call on our funds. Watch this space for further details!

University Education

Our first sponsored student to go to university is now completing her second year at Kyambogo, Kampala. We are delighted to report that two more young women who were supported from primary school through to the end of their 6th form studies also attained excellent “A” level results.

Diana Nakimbugwe

So we are pleased to report that Diana Nakimbugwe has been admitted to Mbarara University where she is studying medicine and Maria Nanyonga is studying for a law degree at Kampala International University.

Maria with Danny

Our congratulations and best wishes go to all three of them.

 

 The teddy bear girls

In our last edition, we told you about the wonderful initiative from two young girls who raised funds by donating two teddy bears and organising a guess their names competition.

It is with pleasure that we can report that we kept our promise to ring-fence the money they raised to purchase books in support of the reading for pleasure programme.

Books bought thanks to the teddy bear girls

Child Sponsorship

I never tire of telling you that at the heart of our work is the child sponsorship programme. At the time of writing we have in the region of 100 children supported in this way. They range from the little ones in the nursery section, through the seven primary school years, into secondary school and vocational courses and now, as you will have read above, into university.

It is a great satisfaction for FFOU as an organisation, but possibly even more so on an individual basis to those who support these children. What can be more wonderful than seeing a little one who possesses nothing turning into a successful young man or young woman who with their help has the opportunity to make a real success of his or her life?

Two happy little girls show off the sportswear bought for them by their sponsor.

For only £70 a year (or by instalments if necessary) you can give a boy or a girl a year’s education. £1.35 a week is a very small price to pay to give a child with nothing the possibility of a meaningful future.

If you are interested, please send us a message on: foreverfriendsofuganda@gmail.com . We shall be delighted to give you more information.

Two children looking for sponsors.

Nalubega Sharon is 6 years old. Her parents are missing. She was just dropped off at her grandparents’ home.

Mutaasa Kafeero is 4 years old. His parents are divorced. Mother has abandoned him to his father who finds it difficult to care for him because of a “drink” problem.

Membership

Another way to help for a very small amount is to become a member of Forever Friends of Uganda. We promise to ring-fence the money in this account to help children directly – often those who get support in no other way.

We ask an annual minimum of only £5 per person for this. Although – of course – there is no upper limit if you want to be generous.

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A first-hand view of the villages where we are working : Danny’s Story Part One

Danny McGregor is a teacher Westwood Primary School, FFOU’s partner school in Lancashire. He decided that he wanted a first-hand view of the villages where we are working and we were delighted to support his wish.

He spent a week of his August school holidays living at the school and with the children, supported by James Ssenyonga, the son of our long-time colleagues and friends, George and Berna.

Here is the first part of his experiences, told in the words of both young men.

 

PART ONE

DANNY’S ARRIVAL IN UGANDA

After 18 hours of travel, I arrived at Entebbe Airport, cleared security and proceeded to the bureau de change. Whilst waiting for my Ugandan Shillings, I received a tap on the shoulder. I turned round and was greeted by what I perceived to be a soldier, but who was actually a policeman, holding a huge rifle in my direction. This was my initial ‘Welcome to Uganda’! I had never seen a gun in real life before this moment and I can safely say that I could go a long while without seeing another! As it happened, I saw many over the next week during my visit, as security is paramount here, and by the end of the week it gave me a weird sense of security to see them. As it turns out, the policeman who had greeted me was there to point me in the direction of a man wearing the biggest smile I have ever seen!

This smiling, waving man, was James Ssenyonga – son of George Senyonga, founder of the schools and orphanage. James had the task of looking after me during my stay in Uganda and I must say that he did a wonderful job of introducing me to the real Uganda. Outside I was greeted by Berna, James’ mother and head teacher of Little Angels Primary School in Bulumbu, George, his father, Maria, his middle sister and finally cousin, Fred. They all extended the warmest of welcomes and I can’t thank them enough for their friendliness and hospitality.

At the Bussi ferry with Maria

At the Bussi ferry with Maria

We travelled through Entebbe stopping only to pick up some fruit from the roadside, until we arrived at Lake Victoria. We had to cross a small section of the lake to prevent adding an extra hour to our drive. To do so we waited for a ‘car ferry’ to transport us. This was my first opportunity to see Uganda’s real natural beauty.

On the other side of the lake, we encountered a mass of people, who were part of a funeral. James explained to me that when a funeral takes place, people from all over the area walk to pay their respects to the deceased. There is no shared cemetery, as in England, people are laid to rest in their own family area of burial. It was here that the car was stopped by a policeman; not just any policeman, but the Officer in Command of the area. After a short conversation, he proceeded to climb in to the car asking for a lift to the station. Initially, this made the journey a little tense for me as conversation was in Luganda and I was oblivious to it all, but I soon relaxed in his company.

We continued our journey through what was increasingly rural Uganda. At around 5:30pm, we arrived at Little Angels Primary School and Orphanage. I was shown to my new home which was very thoughtfully prepared for me. After encountering a cow, a small pig and a number of chickens, I was introduced to five of the most charming children. These children were orphans at Little Angels and each held out their hands, bowed their heads and introduced themselves as Phoebe, Carol, Shadiah, Shakibu and Ssekyanzi. I have never met children with such a joy for life, and motivation for their own education, regardless of their situation. This had a big effect on me and has raised my own expectations of the children in my own class. Ssekyanzi had a Spiderman t-shirt on and when I mis-pronounced his name and jokingly called him Spiderman instead, I saw five of the biggest and most heart-warming smiles I have ever seen. This melted my heart – something that was to happen an awful lot in the coming week.

Danny was welcomed with many smiles

Danny was welcomed with many smiles

I was then delighted to meet Ivan. He is 19 years old and is currently studying at high school. He has been with the sponsorship programme since his first year at school as a young boy. Ivan regularly heads back to the orphanage to spend his time trying to repay it somewhat by working there, doing anything that needs doing, from farming to chasing escaping pigs! Ivan speaks very good English, which is a testament to the teaching at the school, and is shyly proud of his fortunate journey through the programme.

That evening I also had the pleasure of meeting the teaching staff at their staff meeting. These teachers do an absolutely wonderful job, especially when one considers the constraints in which they are forced to work. No electricity, next to no resources, and with poor pay. They live at the school in conditions that are a stark contrast to those that we in the west take for granted every single day. I consider myself extremely lucky and privileged to have had this wonderful opportunity to live and ‘work’ alongside these truly inspirational people.

The following day was one that will live in my memory forever. James and Head Teacher Isaac took me on a tour of the classrooms and living quarters, which again are a world away from those that we are used to seeing in Europe. These classrooms are still in need of much more funding.

The children are not always sure what to make of things

The children are not always sure what to make of things

James then continued our tour of the school ‘gardens’ and grounds where there are various projects such as the forest areas and growth of many plants and trees. In addition there are projects for the children to run in an attempt to equip them with much needed life skills that will help them to survive. These consist of farming the land and caring for the animals. The work that goes into this is unbelievable. In all honesty, I hadn’t given much thought to these things before my visit, but am in awe of the scale of the full project here and the scale on which it is being planned. They are in the early stages but their potential is huge, with the end goal being self-sufficiency. Again, the biggest stumbling block is lack of funding.

Working on the school farm

Working on the school farm

After the tour, Isaac invited me into his office to discuss the difficulties that the staff and children are currently facing. He explained that it is a constant struggle to educate children who have empty stomachs and no shoes, yet they have to walk kilometres on dirt roads to school each day and then go and work on the farms to help provide for their families. It is hardly the ideal working environment for adults, let alone for small children.

The afternoon, however, was to be one of my favourite experiences of the week.

He was welcomed into the homes by family members

He was welcomed into the homes by family members

Alongside James, teacher Moses, teacher Rose and some of the children from the orphanage, I set out to ‘move’ through the village to give me an insight into what real life is like here, to meet the children and their families and to drive home the reality of their daily struggles. It is hard to summon adjectives big enough to describe the kindness and openness of the people here and the friendliness that each and every person I met extended to me. It really struck a chord with me. Everybody was so very grateful for the work being done by the charity and sponsors. It was here that I had a really special moment, meeting Kisenyi Ronald – my own sponsored child. I was very emotional meeting him in person and seeing him in his natural surroundings. The trip has inspired me to sponsor more children!

******************

 

From James

After meeting Danny at Entebbe Airport, we headed to Bussi on the shores of Lake Victoria where we took a ferry to Buwaya and drove to Kasanje and then Bubebbere. We arrived at the orphanage at around 5pm, rested then at around 7pm went to have evening preps with the kids at the orphanage.

On Wednesday we woke, had breakfast and started our visit. First we toured in and around the teachers’ quarters, the new block being built with interlocking bricks, the school gardens, the eucalyptus trees, the pine trees and finally the gazetted forest reserve.

Visiting sponsored children at their homes

Visiting sponsored children at their homes

After lunch, since the children were on holiday, we went out to look for them in their homes. We visited over 50 families on a door to door mission to check out both the sponsored children and their parents. This was one of the most fulfilling adventures to the whole group; we went with teachers, Rose and Moses and seven children from the orphanage. The community was so excited. Often, Danny followed the culture of kneeling to greet and this I think lowered down the guard of the people he interacted with. They felt very comfortable in the presence of a man who made them feel welcome. A combination of his very big smile and the sweets that he brought to give out to every kid that we met on our way made him very famous. On the same trip we visited the young men who work with me in using the brick-making machine. We finally went back to the orphanage. Danny was entertained by the kids and teacher David who taught him how to dance some new moves.

********************

Danny with teacher Rose

Danny with teacher Rose

An experience with teacher Rose

For our first activity, we visited the teachers’ homes. Rose, a lower primary teacher, was the first to be visited. Knock… knock, the head teacher, Mr. Kirinya banged on her door; she hesitantly opened. You could tell that she had just woken up. She looked at us very shocked for the early morning visit to her single room doubling as both her bedroom and sitting room. She was not expecting visitors that early, especially a mzungu. She tried to hide some of her belongings but there was nowhere. She was embarrassed at her situation – that a teacher would live in such a room. I knew that her situation was no different from average teachers in Uganda, but Danny would not understand that. To him the room was inadequate! Danny looked on, sincerely touched, as the head teacher explained Rose’s situation.

Later in his room, he talked about it. He compared an average teacher’s standard in England and that of a teacher in a rural area in Uganda. The difference was enormous. He remembered the times he had complained about poor treatment in England. I could feel he wanted to pour out his heart to me. The poor conditions he had seen of a teacher in Uganda changed his perceptions.

Later on in the day he told me that he will be more grateful about his life than before. Rose could have been Danny under difference circumstances. Had Danny been born in Uganda, he would  have been in Rose’s situation; sleeping in a room that is no bigger than a kitchen.

He wanted to know how much we pay these teachers and how we manage to keep them engaged. I then broke his heart even more; their salary is about £50 a month! Danny just could not get it. How could a qualified teacher earn so little!! We should like to pay these teachers what they deserve but we cannot. We can barely afford what we do pay. Most of the children in the school are needy children, supported by the few who are sponsored. The rest come along, but cannot pay the fees. Of course a teacher is paid the same amount whether she teaches 5 children or 30 children so we make up the numbers. I could see him nod his head. He later told me that there is just one solution to take away all these problems, Money! None of us have it. We take pride however in knowing that at least we understand the problem and we look forward to a day when teachers will earn what they genuinely deserve for the difference they make in this world.

At the water pump

At the water pump

END OF PART ONE: Danny’s Story Part Two

 

 

 

George’s Story

Jeanette and I first visited Bubebbere at the end of 2002. Although we were assured that it was little more than an hour’s drive from the capital, Kampala, it was like entering a world apart in the middle of nowhere. In those days, the way (you could hardly call it a road) was virtually impassable and truly was (and still is) a road to nowhere as it terminates in the small trading centre on the far banks of Lake Victoria.

George among the children during a special event at Bulumbu

George among the children during a special event at Bulumbu

Our visit was during the school holidays but it was nevertheless a joyful experience with children coming along to receive their exam results and be awarded their end-of-year prizes. The top of each class, gymnastic champions and so on were awarded two biscuits as their reward; runners-up were only given one! The children sang, danced and performed for us, but it was obvious that there was a real need to do something very urgently to give these youngsters a chance in life.

But where could they find somebody prepared to devote his life to giving them that chance? Enter the stage – George Senyonga.

George

George was born in Bubebbere, but he was only 18 months old when the family moved to Kampala. In due course he was able to start his education. It is a sad fact – but not an uncommon one in Uganda – that his school career did not last long. Part way through his primary school years, the money for his fees dried up. By then, he was going on 14 years old and was forced to earn his own living. He started as a domestic houseboy, then he fetched and carried water for building projects. Because he lacked literacy skills, he had to take whatever work was available: domestic, acting as a porter, making bricks.

But George is nothing if not determined and he used his small earnings and initiative to attend literacy lessons at the YMCA.

His persistence paid off after he took a job repairing shoes at the Nateete shop of a wealthy businessman. When this employer died, and as a sign of his respect, he left the plot of land to George who did not hesitate to take full advantage, using it to sell a range of products; at first foodstuffs and watches; later on electrical goods.

However life did not go smoothly even then. In the turbulent years prior to the advent of the current President, Yoweri Museveni, his stock was regularly looted, often by the security forces nominally there to protect him. Each time he was knocked down, he got up and started again. Eventually the country became more stable and his business went from strength to strength.

George & Berna

George & Berna

He married Berna who has ever since been a constant support to him. At the height of his business success, he had his electrical shop, a small supermarket and he imported used cars from Dubai.

But George is not the kind of man to sit back and relax on the fruits of his labours. He knew that the village of his birth was still suffering from extreme poverty which meant that the children there were unable to go to school. He was determined to do something about it. He raised enough money to start a nursery school some fifteen years ago. That was the beginning of Little Angels at Bubebbere.

At the start of the new water project at Bubebbere. Clean water is now being pumped up to the school and orphanage.

At the start of the new water project at Bubebbere. Clean water is now being pumped up to the school and orphanage.

George had a dream and that did not make things easy for his own family. On paper he and Berna were not badly off (by Ugandan standards), but this did not bring comfort to his immediate family as he was also caring for his extended family, putting the children of his brothers, aunts and uncles   through their education. He was the bread-winner for the whole clan. This meant of course that his own sons and daughters were not always offered a well-balanced diet, nor did they enjoy a single holiday. This was not because the money was unavailable, but because George saw the suffering and needs of the children in the village communities as no different from those of his own flesh and blood. Their needs were often put before those of his own children.

Soon after our first visit, he made the decision to found a second school at Bulumbu, up the road from Bubebbere, together with a simple church (he is a pentecostal pastor). Why on earth would he want to take such a risk when he was struggling to make the first one permanently viable? Quite simply, he believed that he had no choice; 6 kms was just too far to expect nursery age children to walk to school in their bare feet; especially during the “rains” when the tracks became almost impassable and the youngsters lacked any rainwear.

This was the site we were shown for the secondary school at Nsaggu. On our next visit the classrooms and dormitories had been built and the children were having their lessons.

This was the site we were shown for the secondary school at Nsaggu. On our next visit the classrooms and dormitories had been built and the children were having their lessons.

When we next visited Uganda in 2005, we were taken to have a look at a piece of undeveloped bush-land at Nsaggu. This was where, he told us, he was going to build his secondary school so that the village children would have the chance to benefit from the next stage in the educational cycle. It was another dream; one which I could not see coming to fruition for many years to come. How wrong I was!

At the Nsaggu Dream Scheme pig project

The Nsaggu Dream Scheme pig project at the secondary school.

Our next visit was in 2008; and what did we find at Nsaggu? An already functioning secondary school. How on earth had he managed to get so far in such a short time? And where did the funds come from? I still find it amazing when I contemplate what he did. George was so determined to make this dream come true that he had sold all of his businesses and used the proceeds to make it happen. At that stage he had nothing left but his own home.

There is still an enormous amount to do, and I know that there have been occasions when he has been tempted to give up. It speaks volumes for his courage and determination that he has not done so.

The spring outlet at Nsaggu. George ensured that it emptied onto the main road so that the whole community could benefit.

The spring outlet at Nsaggu. George ensured that it emptied onto the main road so that the whole community could benefit.

People regularly ask why I am prepared to work so hard to try to make these distant schools a viable long-term success. It is quite simply because whatever I do in terms of effort, George and Berna do the same and more, and in very difficult circumstances. I have told people so very often: I get exhausted just watching George. He never stops.

The "walking tractor" - helping to feed the children at Bubebbere.

The “walking tractor” – helping to feed the children at Bubebbere.

Water is Life

Water is critical for sustainable development, including environmental integrity and the
alleviation of poverty and hunger, and is indispensable for human health and well-being.

                                                                                                          United Nations

 In the western world, we take an abundance of clean water for granted. We turn on the tap, fill the washing machine and wash the car with hardly a second thought.

ater for the community outside the schools  in Kawanda

Water for the community outside the schools in Kawanda

In much of Africa, however, a lack of clean water is not merely an inconvenience causing daily difficulties, it is often a matter of life and death. Thousands of children die each day from
water-born diseases. Eight out of ten of deaths to the under-fives are from diarrhoea caused by contaminated water. So a concentration on this basic aspect of life is so much more than
helping to make the lives of the people – and the children in particular – more convenient.

Water for the community outside the schools   in Maganjo

Water for the community outside the schools in Maganjo

We are only a small charity and there is a limit to what we can do with the funds available, but we have slowly helped to advance things for the children we support over the past 12 years.

Water for the community outside the schools  in Nsaggu

Water for the community outside the schools in Nsaggu

On a number of occasions we have helped to make natural springs secure and available to (I do not exaggerate) thousands of people; communities well beyond the groups and schools within the Dream Scheme family; at Kawanda, Maganjo and at Nsaggu for example.

 

The school water tank at Bulumbu

The school water tank at Bulumbu

We have purchased tanks to hold 10,000 litres of rainwater at Bulumbu and at Kawanda, piping this from the gutters of the classrooms during the rainy seasons. This is sometimes a case of famine or feast of course; when the tank empties, there is no more until the next rains come along.

 

The ladies of Les Amis d’Ouganda appreciate the new facilities

The ladies of Les Amis d’Ouganda appreciate the new facilities

As an aid to improved sanitation we have paid for the provision of latrines at the Little Angels Primary School at Bubebbere. But without a plentiful water supply, the children cannot wash their hands after visiting the toilet and the sickness cycle is perpetuated.

 **********

Now, with the support of a very welcome grant from the Département of Seine-Maritime, we are about to embark on our biggest project so far. As many of you know, the school at
Bubebbere is at the heart of our work. It was the first place that we visited back in 2002, and it was the work of George and Berna Senyonga there that first inspired us to become involved. At that time the school used a borehole which was outside the school grounds and the water from it was also a resource for the villagers. The downside was that our colleagues had no control over it and the pump was forever requiring repair. Over the years modifications were made, but it was clearly not fit for purpose as a permanent solution, not least because the school has grown over the years and the orphanage now shares the site.

George clears the spring at Bubebbere

George clears the spring at Bubebbere

George discovered a natural spring inside the school grounds and this is where we are able to help. The site is in overgrown bush 600 metres from the orphanage. The first task will be to clear out the vegetation and to make it secure (a protected well), before inserting a borehole. It will be the final stage that takes us into new and exciting territory however. The water will be piped and pumped from here up to the orphanage.

 

The provision of water all year round will not only be a convenience that we take for granted. It will avoid the need for the children to carry jerry cans, morning and evening, to and from the source outside the school grounds. Perhaps then they will be able to put more productive effort into their school work.

Water is life Friends of Uganda

The process of washing hands is not easy

If that were all, we could relax and say, “Job done!” Life is never that simple though. There will still be a need for ongoing education. We cannot be certain that all of the water will be pure. Less than 20% of such water is safe for human consumption. Nothing can be taken for granted. It will still need to be boiled to be sure. Lessons on good health practice and how to deal with infant diarrhoea will not be learned instantly. That will take time and effort.

Even after the completion of this project, we cannot be complacent. There are other schools and villages with equally pressing needs. If only we had a wallet which was forever full ……..! We should cheer the achievements, but never forget how much more there is to do.

Keith Mills
President

Berna Senyonga + newsletter from Forever Friends of Uganda

 Meet Berna Senyonga

Berna Senyonga is the public face of Dream Scheme Uganda. It is a cheerful and enthusiastic face, but what about the person behind it. We hope that these few questions and answers will explain something about the real woman behind the post that she holds.

Berna at the microphone

Berna at the microphone

1. Berna, where and when were you born?

I was born to Federesi Wanyana at Mulago Hospital, Kampala on 5th March 1968. At the time the family was living in Kawempe just north of Kampala, though we moved to Mukono later.

 

2. Can you tell us something about your parents?

My father was an official in the Uganda prison service. He moved around because of his work and he had three official wives. I, their first child, was born after my parents had been married for eight years, but my mother later gave birth to three other children although the last-born died when he was two.

My father was polygamous and had nineteen children from five women. Unfortunately he became alcoholic and my parents separated when I was six years old.

 

3. What was your childhood like?

It was very difficult when my mother was alone. She was weak after two caesarean births. She was rejected by her own relatives and by my fatherʼs family. At one time she had to travel 80 miles on the back of a lorry to get matooke (green bananas) which she could sell to allow her family to survive. She rented a two-room house for the family and for her small grocery business, and she looked after her blind mother all of her life.

We felt worthless. I never had a male figure in my life and for a long time I kept my distance from men because I thought all of them were like my father.

 

4. What about your education?

After seven years at Kawempe Muslim Primary School and four more at secondary school, I went to Teacher Training College and gained a grade three teachersʼ certificate.          I worked as a cleaner in order to supplement the family income and to help with school fees.

I also have a Diploma in Theology and hope to graduate next April with a B.A. in Bible and Theology.

5. And your own family life?

I married George in 1990 and we have four children together, James 22, Esther 20, Maria 14 and Rebecca is now 9.

Berna with husband, George and daughter, Esther à Busega

Berna with husband, George and daughter, Esther à Busega

6. In addition you do a lot of voluntary work, donʼt you?

As well as community work at churches, I have been the Trainer for Dream Scheme Uganda since 2003, I am project manager for Busega Dream Scheme and last year I was elected Chairman of the organisation.

I am one of the founding members of the Little Angels Primary Schools at Bubebbere and Bulumbu where I have acted as Headmistress and volunteer teacher. An important part of my work is to co-ordinate the sponsorship project run by Les Amis dʼOuganda from France and to help to oversee all the work financed by that charity.

 

7. What is your dream for the future?

I want us to grow into a bigger, unified school with more classrooms around the orphanage at Bubebbere; and we need more accommodation at Bulumbu as we shall have a full school there from next year, right through to Primary 7. As well as formal education, we have to teach the children self-reliance skills so that they can help themselves, their families and the community. We have needy boys and girls in the orphanage who have to learn to look after themselves.

Some children still have to kneel on the floor to received their lessons

Some children still have to kneel on the floor to received their lessons

The challenge is to raise the finance; to build, to pay salaries, to feed and care for the orphans. The sponsorship money sent to us helps, but we need so much more if our dream of being a model school at a high standard is to be fulfilled.

 

In case you forget!

Perhaps you will get tired of me repeating it, but that is not going to stop me. If we are going to help our Ugandan friends to make real progress, we need others to help us. Last year the seeds were sown. A group of English friends from S.W. France and our grandson in England raised valuable funds on our behalf. We did not need to ask them. They could see what was needed and they got on with it. This year those seeds have begun to grow and bear fruit.

In England

Chris and Nicole climb Snowden three-legged

Chris and Nicole climb Snowden three-legged

Once again our grandson Chris, this time with his girlfriend, Nicole came up trumps. Their three-legged walk up Mount Snowden in June was not only a great achievement in itself but brought in valuable funds for our cause.

 

Brook house Hotel

Brook house Hotel

In past years Brook House Hotel at Clayton-le-Woods in Lancashire have held raffles to raise money for us. This year, they took an enormous step forward in organising a concert and dinner on our behalf. We backed up their work with our African craft market. Supporters came from all over England to assist us and a loud and lively event made for a very special evening.

Rogan with some of the children who had just received school uniforms

Rogan with some of the children who had just received school uniforms

In the same community of Clayton-le-Woods, Westwood Primary School has twinned with classes at Bulumbu and Bubebbere. In the spring, a non-uniform day was a unique way for the children to buy uniforms for their African twins. Later in the year, instead of bringing in the traditional harvest fruit and vegetables, they contributed coins. It is incredible how this added up to a substantial amount.

 

Further south in Surrey, at the beginning of November, friends organised a  party at their home. We have received more valuable income from this. And these same people will be selling our crafts on a Christmas market near to their home.

Finally a young sponsor persuaded a charity with which she was associated to make us a donation.

 

In Ireland

Another of our sponsors organised a raffle; and once again it was a superb result. What made this even more impressive was that she had not told us she was doing it. The first we knew was when we received a transfer into our bank account.

 

Incredible! Many thanks to our friends across the Channel

 

In France

Once again, without our knowing about it in advance one of our close supporters sold second hand goods on a foire à tout (car boot sale) and brought in more than we could have dared to hope for.

Thank you to everybody concerned. Here’s hoping that their efforts will inspire others to help us to make a difference in 2014.

 

Helping ourselves

 

We ask you for your support, but of course, we have to make the effort ourselves.

 

Sale of Ugandan Crafts

Les Amis d’Ouganda has set out its stall at two events this year. At the beginning of June, we were present at a Weekend Africain at Forges-les-Eaux and in August our products all but flew off the table at an Afternoon under the African Sun at Lammerville.

 

Balade Contée in France

Balade Contée in France

Early October brought our 8th annual Balade Contée, our Walk for Uganda. This year some 60 participants explored the highways and byways around the village of Sigy-en-Bray. As ever Jeane Herrington-Charlionet led a great team of story-tellers to entertain the participants. Raynald Flory joined us for a third time and Isabelle Modard was a welcome debutant. To make things even more entertaining, we were able to welcome musicians Sophie and Hélène. We knew nothing of their help until they turned up on the day.

 

Thank you to everybody who helped to make it another great success.

 

So where has your money gone in 2013?

 

Chickens at Nsaggu

 

Construction of the chicken house at Nsaggu

Construction of the chicken house at Nsaggu

Every year we try set up another self-sufficiency scheme, something that will teach the children practical skills and which they can keep going by their own efforts. This time it was the turn of Nsaggu Dream Scheme. Their chicken project is now up and running. The building were constructed in the first half of the year and now they have purchased everything else needed to get them going: the birds themselves of course, but also medicines, vaccines, foodstuffs, stoves, drinkers and feeders. We wish them well in their efforts.

 

School Hall at Bubebbere

 

Construction of the school hall at Bubebbere

Construction of the school hall at Bubebbere

This is the biggest project we have undertaken. Capital projects already funded include classrooms, latrines, a kitchen and staff housing, but this is taking us to another level

The construction is important for a whole range of reasons; as somewhere for the orphanage children to eat and relax in poor weather, as a centre for school and community meetings and not least as a centre for school and government exams. At present, Bubebbere children have to attend other schools for the latter.

 

It was going to be an enormous “ask” to raise funds for this project and so we applied to the Region of Haute-Normandie for a grant to support us. We shall always be grateful for their help. The Region will supply 50% of the total needed and we have to find the balance. We sent the first tranche of payment in July and already the foundations are dug and the building has started. We are now sending the second contribution and we are planning for the building to be completed before the end of 2014.

 

Jeanette & Keith with a family of sponsored children

Jeanette & Keith with a family of sponsored children

Sponsorship

Your support of children’s education remains at the heart of what we are doing. As I write, you are enabling 75 primary school children, 12 secondary school students and three young women in further education to benefit from free tuition. That is great. But if you are not already part of our project and think that you would like to help, please talk to us about it. There are many more youngsters in need.

 

The sponsored children at Bubebbere.

The sponsored children at Bubebbere.

Please sponsor a child and give him or her a future.

That will be a real Christmas present  

Or… a seasonal donation towards our work will be gratefully received.  

Subscribe to our Blog or find us on our Facebook Page:  Friends of Uganda

Help to give a child a future

Les Amis d’Ouganda

 

Help to give a child a future

The children that we want to help come from very poor communities. They live at a subsistence level. Life expectancy is very short – diseases such as measles, diarrhoea and malaria are common. Nutrition is poor.

Many of them are orphans whose parents have died of AIDS. Even among those who embark on primary education, many have to drop out. They cannot afford the school fees; they have to look after their younger brothers and sisters; often at a very young age they have to work.

Their future looks grim.

Les Amis d’Ouganda is dedicated to helping our Ugandan colleagues to improve their chances in life.

Please sponsor one of them. Show them that someone, somewhere cares. £65 a year (about £1.25 a week) is a small amount for a child’s future.

This will pay for:

  •  a year’s tuition
  •  lunch every day of the school year
  •  administration charges

We cannot help every child in need – so how do we choose the youngsters that we seek to support? We are trying to help:

  •  Orphans.
  •  Children from poor families.
  •  Marginalised girl children (Ugandan culture tends to favour boys to the disadvantage of girls)
  •  Bright but poor children – and those who have the personality and desire to succeed.
  •  Children working on Dream Scheme projects.

We promise to give you feedback; initially in the form of end-of-term reports and photos. Later those who have made enough progress will be able to write to you.

Les Amis d’Ouganda
Sponsorship Application

Please fill in the details below and return the form to the address given.

I/We wish to sponsor a child at a cost of £65 per year.

British cheques should be made out to “Friends of Uganda”.

(Ask for details if you would prefer to pay by bank transfer)

Please return to: Mr Keith Mills,  Les Amis d’Ouganda,

16 rue du Bas, 76780 Saint-Lucien, France.

phone : 00 33 2 35 90 51 95

Email : 4 . oiseaux @ wanadoo . fr

Uganda Visit May/June 2013

Bubebbere. Presentation of school uniforms to Baby Class children. Donated by Westwood Primary School, Clayton-le-Woods, Lancashire.

This is what it is all about
Central to our regular Uganda visits is the wish to meet the children that you all support. However, this particular visit was even more special as we were accompanied by our two sons, Nick and Rogan, who were (long ago) schoolboys in Entebbe. This was their first return “back home” since 1974; a memorable trip for all of us.

Happy faces at the window (Bulumbu).

Little Angels Primary School Bulumbu
The afternoon spent in this village school was a real pleasure. First of all we saw the children in their classes. Then the youngsters and their teachers sang and danced for us. Of course they did; this is Uganda after all.
A new development, here and at Bubebbere, is that Westwood Primary School in Clayton-le-Woods, Lancashire has generously agreed to “twin” with the Baby classes in the two villages. The first  fruit of this partnership is their purchase of uniforms for 15 children whose parents cannot afford them. Rogan, as the school’s representative, was photographed with the little ones receiving their gifts (photograph above). He has now reported back and recounted the experience to the English children at Westwood.
Afterwards there was a truly joyous occasion. Supporters in England and in France had donated four full suitcases of clothes for these poor boys and girls. Every single child received something; their shouts of pleasure and their happy faces made the visit worthwhile for that alone.

Preparing the foundations for the new school hall at Bubebbere

Bubebbere
From here we drove the 6 km to Bubebbere. Once again, the sponsored children gathered to be photographed and receive the messages and gifts that many of their sponsors had sent with us.
Our Ugandan friends operate an orphanage here, and a high proportion of the sponsored children are resident in it. As well as giving them a home, another benefit is that they can learn about, and help with, food production on the school farm.

Nsaggu
Until George Senyonga built Golden College at Nsaggu, it was a rare event for the children of his village to be able to attend secondary school. This lack of opportunity distressed him and he went as far as to sell his own business in order  to raise funds to achieve the dream of educating these youngsters.
Our first visit was 9 years ago. At that time the place was nothing but virgin bush. Now it is a fully operational school and there are already students in the 6th Form. It is an amazing achievement.
Of the 13 sponsored youngsters at the secondary level, 9 are being educated here. It marks an enormous step forward from just a few years ago, both for the village and for our project.

Irine, who is one of the sponsored students at the Nangabo Vocational Institute, with some of the children at Bulumbu where she was helping out.

Nangabo Vocational Institute
A debilitating problem for isolated villages is the lack of qualified people, both on the educational and medical side,who come from and live in them. There are no doctors or nurses for instance.
When a Ugandan colleague came up with the idea of  finding three teenage girls to undertake pre-school training, we jumped at the chance.
All three of them are now studying a two-year Early Childhood Education/Nursery Teaching course and will become fully qualified Nursery Teachers.
Two of them will complete their studies this year and a third in 2014. We truly hope that they will help to make a real difference in the two villages.

Truly Wonderful  When we set up the sponsorship scheme in 2006, we had no inkling of how successful it was going to be. To have 90 children supported at nursery, primary and secondary levels, let alone in further education, was beyond our wildest dreams. Thank you to everyone who has helped to make it happen. Do you know others who might  help?

In April we sent funds for the building of a chicken house at Nsaggu Dream Scheme. By the time of our visit, the construction was well under way. We shall send further funds in July to cover the cost of the birds, vaccination, foodstuffs and other necessaries to get them started.

We have started to make a difference, but there is so much more to do. Please ask people to look at the sponsorship page on our website: www.amis-d-ouganda.com, to look at our Friends of Uganda Facebook Page, or to get in touch directly by writing to us at:  4.oiseaux @ wanadoo . fr