Forever Friends of Uganda held its Stockport AGM in June. Much of what follows in this edition will bring you up-to-date with what happened at the meeting.
We welcomed 3 extra trustees onto our board. There are now 8 of us and in a much stronger position to face future challenges.
Left to right in the photo are
Keith Mills – Co-ordinator
Fil Jones – Treasurer
Rogan Mills – primary school co-ordination
Danny Mc Gregor – to co-ordinate fundraising
Gill Partridge – Chair
Andrew Partridge – Minutes Secretary
Martine Acoulon – Blog Administrator
Sandy McGregor – to foster community links in the Stockport area
Summary of main items in the Charity Co-ordinator’s Report for 2017-2018
Because of the Co-ordinator’s move back to UK from France, the emphasis of our work has moved with him.
The sponsorship of Ugandan children,
most particularly in Bubebbere, Bulumbu and at Nsaggu, remains central to what we do, as well as being the most complicated and time-consuming of our activities, principally because of our desire to maintain a personalised programme. We currently have 59 children supported at infant and primary school level, 9 at secondary school, 7 on vocational courses and a new entry into higher education. If we add those supported by sponsors via our French partners, the total tops 100.
The principal beneficiaries of this programme are naturally the youngsters themselves as it guarantees them an education, but it is also invaluable to the schools themselves. Without the fees generated in this way, they would be in a much weaker position. The payments make up a large proportion of teachers’ salaries in the primary schools.
Projects completed during the year.
- The completion of the renovation of the 7 classrooms at Bubebbere.
- The construction of accommodation for 4 teachers at Bulumbu.
- The provision (over 12 months) of sanitary pads for 50 girls, both in primary and secondary education. This was financed through the membership programme.
- Further development of the reading for pleasure project, particularly through targeted gifts from supporters.
- The construction of a kitchen at Bulumbu.
- The construction of latrines at Bulumbu.
It is particularly encouraging that in our desire to “help others to help themselves”, our Uganda colleagues became (for the first time) full financial partners in the construction of the teachers’ accommodation.
On the other hand, I am delighted that the long-term support that we have received from a charitable foundation based in Kampala has continued. They have supported us over the years with capital projects, in our attempts to help our colleagues to become more self-sufficient, and in the training of young women at the Nangabo Vocational Institute. That support is on-going. We shall be forever grateful.
Finally, although I am very excited about our future over the coming year, there are enormous challenges to be faced in the long-term. Thank you to the existing trustees for your support and I keenly look forward to working closely with the new board members who are joining us.
Other matters from the AGM in brief
Income increased over the 12 months, most importantly from the significant amount of government gift aid that we received. This has the potential to make an important difference to what we can achieve.
Expenditure on sponsorship amounted to £6,232 while the three capital projects that were completed during the financial year accounted for £8,151. Other payments in addition to these, included gifts for children from the sponsors, the purchase of books, and projects financed by way of the associate membership scheme.
Trustees approved our policies on data protection, bullying and harassment and child sponsorship. The Constitution was updated, the code of behaviour is to be modified and we shall produce a policy on safeguarding.
Future income streams
The Co-ordinator presented a paper on the desirability of helping our Ugandan colleagues to become self-sufficient. Progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go. Trustees promised to consider what can be done, but a considerable expenditure will be needed over several years if we are to achieve this goal and that is going to take enormous efforts.
Associate Membership Scheme
This is to date a relatively modest programme and one which we must try to expand. Its value in supporting children directly has already been demonstrated, but we need to do more. Membership costs only a minimum payment of £5 per year; funds are ring-fenced and participants receive a newsletter explaining how their money is spent.
We do all in our power to be open and accountable to all of our supporters and we welcome contact from anybody who wants to be more involved or to know more.
It took some time to raise the funds necessary to re-roof the classroom block at Bubebbere, but we have made it. There is more work to be done, but you can see, in these before and after photos, the enormous strides that have been taken.
Thank you to the supporter who purchased more books for the reading scheme. Here are some of the children receiving them.
And don’t forget. If you buy on-line from Amazon, to do it through Amazon Smile. It will cost you nothing; you will get exactly the same offers as elsewhere; and a percentage of your purchase price will come to help our good cause.
Something for nothing – what’s not to like.
On the fund-raising front
We have attended a series of events to sell hand-made Ugandan crafts. Here are two photos taken on a beautiful June afternoon at the Summer in the Park event in Stockport. Our sales-dog-in-chief brought in as many people as the crafts!
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