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Thursday, 17 September 2020

Maybe you could share this Video?

This is a short video made by new HUGS Chairman, Dr Richard Bircher with music by one of our ex scholarship students, Natiigo Daniel.

Maybe you could share this blog, put it on Facebook, Instagram and anything else you can think of? 

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

We have reached Nigeria

 The BigUgandaCycleRide now has nearly 50 riders and we have travelled through Europe, North Africa. Niger and made a detour to virtually visit the parents of cycling pharmacist, Jimi, who works in Stalybridge. They live in Ife, Nigeria.

5000 miles cycled and to date £14,000 raised.  We have Yellow Jerseys for the most miles cycled each week, Green Jerseys for the greatest height climbed and ever day a Red Jersey for the best fundraiser each day.

Here are just a few of the places we have been.

Please share this post with everyone and financial support if you can through our Virgin Money Giving Site. We are raising the money to complete St Francis de Sales School for Deaf Children. (See earlier blogs)

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Do you wish to follow the ride?

 If any of our readers would like to follow the Big Uganda Cycle Ride and read the daily postings of where we are and all the updates and pictures could you please let Peter know by commenting to this blog.

You will need WhatsApp

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Week one of the BigUgandaCycleRide

September 1st to 5th, our first 5 days of the ride and we have 50 cyclists signed up.  From all over the world too.

We travelled through London, Paris, Limoges and Lourdes

After 5 days we have travelled 2300 miles and are in Algeria already.

And at £7003 towards our target of £20,000

Last night was Figuid Algeria, and sleeping accommodation was rather basic.

Cycling in California are Shay and Alice

Cycling in Wales is David

Cycling in Ireland is Cameron

Cycling in Uganda is Daniel

Cycling in Rwanda is Karenzi

Cycling in England are many. Here is Week One YELLOW JERSEY Champion for the most miles, Rob. He is pictured in France with Tour de France cyclist in Team Ineos. Peter was King of the Mountains. (very fitting) but living in Compstall means every ride has a hill.

Now please share this email with all your friends and with social media. We are doing al this to raise money to complete the build of St Francis de Sales School for deaf and partially sighted children.

The school will look like this

And the Virgin Money Giving Link is

Monday, 31 August 2020

The Big Uganda Cycle Event

 September is the month of the big Virtual Cycle Ride from Manchester to Kampala. 6470 miles and crossing the Sahara.

At the latest count we have 46 cyclists from USA, New Zealand, Rwanda, Uganda, Ireland and UK and we all pool the miles we will cycle during the month.

We have cyclist aged from 11 to over 80 and some will cycle a short distance and some will be serious Lycra Wearers who are out to win a Yellow Jersey.

But raising a lot of money is the main objective and it is to help complete St Francis de Sales, our second special needs school and aimed at helping deaf and partially sighted young children. These children get very little help in Uganda but we know that if they are given a good helping hand then they can prove that disability does not mean inability.

We will update the Blog lots of times in September to tell you how we are doing.

It is with great sadness that we inform you that two great friends of HUGS, Maureen Matthews and Brian Hargreaves, died very recently. Please remember them in your prayers

If you would like to support the BigUgandaCycleRide the link is

Friday, 21 August 2020

We're getting into practice!

Covid 19 stopped our normal Annual Fundraiser which has been either a big Golf Match or last year's Coast to Coast Cycle ride.

So we thought we would do one bigger and better. A Virtual Cycle Ride from Manchester to Kampala. Over 6200 miles.

Our youngest rider is Theo aged 11 this week.

If you don't have a bike maybe you could borrow one for a few days and join in? Just let us know.

Already we have 32 cyclists who have said they would contribute their September cycling miles towards this target.  And of course they will be seeking sponsorship for this marathon event.


And if the bike is getting a bit old maybe this is the time to repair it!

More news to come. We start the event on September 1st and finish on September 30th.

Email or phone Peter or Richard if you would like to participate.  07802 793576 for Peter or 07976 885871 for Richard.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Saying Goodbye to a great friend and welcoming new Trustees

Is is with great sadness that we report the death of Maureen Matthews who was very instrumental in Fr John Kyazze coming to St Marys Marple Bridge in 1995 and to the start of HUGS. Maureen did so much for parish activities and for environmental initiatives too. She will be missed very much.

Welcome to two new Trustees, Carmel Dowling and Jessica Williams who will help Richard as we oldies move into retirement.

Uganda has now seen 4 deaths but lockdown and curfew are very much in place. It must be really difficult for people. Schools are closed probably until January, travel by car is very limited, Airports were closed. Hunger is the big problem.

But Government does allow building works to continue.

New Trustee Carmel raised nearly £2000 from Didymus Charity and this has gone to our secondary school for girls for Science equipment.

Most of the money has now been sent to Little Shepherd School at Rutunguru to build a safe accommodation for girls boarding at the school.

At our new school for deaf children work is well underway on roofing the building.

Trustees were very keen to start a fund raising event again this year this year. We have had at least one for the  last 11 years but Covid 19 really stopped us. We had planned a cycle ride to Santiago de Compostela but had to cancel it. Maybe a virtual cycle ride to Uganda? But we couldn't really think how to do this.

So this is a Lockdown Event. If you would like to help us complete St Francis de Sales School for deaf children than perhaps you could support this appeal below.


And if you are into Social Media then please take a look at our new INSTAGRAM page which is here INSTAGRAM

Saturday, 4 July 2020

What's new?

Let's update you on what is happening in Uganda and Rwanda and how the schools and projects are getting on.

Covid 19 has resulted in lockdown in both countries and that has had a serious economic effect on the countries and the people.
Uganda has had 900 cases of Covid and no deaths. The population average age is very low.
Rwanda has had 1063 cases and 3 deaths.
But it must be very difficult to know if the statistics have been verified.
Countries have been reporting in a variety of different methods and comparison is really a bit difficult to trust.
Schools have been closed and that creates a special problem. So many children rely on school for breakfast and midday meal. Hunger is the real threat as you know from ur earlier blog.

We are progressing with the special needs school at Jinja and roofing is about to start.

It's worth spending a couple of minutes looking at this great UNICEF video.

We are trying to do the same with our Special Needs School in Fort Portal and with new new St Francis de Sales School for deaf children in Jinja. We hope to open it in 2021.

Good progress to with the Fort Portal Agricultural project. This is to help feed the staff and children and also make the school more self sufficient.
The first phase was  purchasing of land which we is complete
Ploughing, digging, buying seeds, planting, weeding plants already done
Chain line fencing done
Construction of the pit latrine done
The construction of the three roomed house finished too 
We just need to construct the barn for the bullock

One great lesson we have learnt in 25 years as a charity. Because we think we are an advanced nation then we think we can fix things. So ofter this is quite the wrong thing to do. The success comes in helping people to help themselves and while money helps it is often the moral support and interest that can inspire people. We cant "fix" deaf and blind and handicapped children but we can help them to live with their disabilities and make the very most of their chances.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Our report on Feed the Children project

Dear HUGS supporters, we would like to thank you for your recent generosity.  You have helped to make something very special happen.

During May we received an increasing number of reports of children in Uganda and Rwanda who were starting to suffer because of the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions.  In these countries state social protection is very small and most people do not have savings. When they are told to stay indoors and self-isolate, they cannot work.  No work means no income and pretty soon people are hungry. 
Many of our trusted representatives asked for our help to simply feed the hungry children.
HUGS supporters responded with generosity and kindness to our appeal, and we were able to transfer a total of £2400 between four of our trusted representatives. They have used this money to buy and distribute food.

Sebastian, in Jinja has been helping the poorest families with disabled children. The HUGS bought motorbike has been a lifeline to isolated communities where suffering goes unnoticed.
Sr Stella in Rwanda went through her school register and identified the poorest 18 families, home to 61 children. Each child received the equivalent of 10,000 Rwandan Francs, in cash or food.  This is enough to feed them for three weeks.

It many not be enough food for long, but it may be enough to last until restrictions are lifted.
In Rutunguru, Sr Jacinta has staged a relief effort using local trucks to deliver 100kg of beans, 750kg of grain, soap and salt to 20 of the poorest families who have children attending the Little Shepherd School, where she is the school leader.  She chose families where there 4 or more children. In total 80 children will now have enough food, the meal ‘Posho’ is nutritious and filling.

The generosity of our HUGS donors has brought relief and comfort to so many children. 
It is such an important cause. Together we have shown it is possible to make a direct link between people who ‘have’ in the UK and the most deprived, who do not ‘have’ in other parts of the world. 

Full credit to the hard work of everyone who has made this happen. Thank you.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Getting there quickly

Our last blog was all about the serious hunger issues which are being experienced in much of Uganda and Rwanda.
We made an appeal for help  with a target of £1000. Our supporters have responded wonderfully and within a week we had beaten the target and have reached over £1700.
We sent £2400 to the schools and organisations where the need was greatest.
The picture shows one of the families in Lira who collected their maize and other things a couple of days ago.  Thank you.

If you would like to help then our donation page is still open and the link is here.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Its only when...

"Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked"

Attributed to Warren Buffet, the sagacious American investor. But the tide is going out for so many of us and particularly for our friends in Uganda and Rwanda.

As you all know we really focus all our spending on education and things very closely related to it.

But that was then. Now things are very different.  We in UK have the worst Covid 19 mortality in the world. Uganda and Rwanda do not appear to have very many deaths. But the nations have closed down everything with no form of social security whatsoever. Nothing.

The population is desperate for food and starvation is the real threat today.

£5 buys a large bag of flour and £10 buys a large bag of rice like the one on Sebastian's motorbike.

We have been helping in Lira and Jinja. Partner Sebastian is delivering foodstuff.

While we will continue our present programmes, but rather more slowly we agonise about the dilemma "if the children die of starvation and do we really need more schools?"

We think we do need them but will be directing some of our donations to help tackle the most grave problems knowing that we cannot really do a great deal.

We have started an appeal on our Virgin Money Giving donation site. If any reader would like to help that would be great.  Virgin money take almost nothing in administration costs.

If you could help a little the LINK IS HERE

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Progress with the School for the Deaf Children

I am posting the report we received today from our partners in Jinja, Uganda. Led by Sebastian it is called the Organisation for Parents with Deaf Children.

We agreed with John, the builder, that where possible Youth with disabilities (skilled and unskilled) will be given first priority to work on this project. This has been fully observed as eight deaf youth have been working at the site and fully paid their wages per day. Of the eight (8), 2 are masons while the other are unskilled workers.

Builder John with his son

The construction is being implemented under the phased manner which means that funds are being sent and received to cater for one phase after the other. So far two phases have been successfully completed (Sub super structure and Super structure phases).
In the first phase, we (HUGS and JOPDC)  agreed that the phase one was to involve constructing the whole foundation of the facility.

In phase two, we (HUGS and JOPDC) had agreed the constructor was to build the two dormitories, three office room, matrons' room, staff washrooms, two classrooms, and washrooms for pupils only. The rest of the other one classroom, school offices, all on the right were to come later.
However, when the construction began we realised that the remaining part would compromise the security of the children when the school opens in early 2020 since there was no perimeter wall around the entire facility.
JOPDC management and the constructor sat and had a change of mind and plan. We finally
agreed that instead of constructing the staff quarters first, we modified the timing so that a secure site could be achieved with staff using an empty classroom during the early of the project.

JOPDC Director Sebastian

We moved very well with the construction up to the beam level but then the Corona Virus pandemic had escalated and the government had issued harsh Corona Virus prevention guidelines some of which required that all activities that required a seasonable number of workers be suspended until a future date. JOPDC management therefore had to adhere to these guidelines and on 27th March, the construction was put on halt for 14 days as directed by government.
When the Lockdown is lifted by Government, we shall start from where we ended. 

Our next phase will be Roofing and Ceiling of the entire facility.

Building to wall plate level in 6 weeks

The community has become supportive and proud of the development we are bringing to the Kagoma Sub county and Jinja District in general. Many district officials and local leaders have given us courtesy calls to the site highly recommending our progress. Other leaders who have not known about the project are always left in shock, wondering and asking who are the people behind the growing magnificent facility in the area while passing on the road.
The Differently Abled Youth especially the deaf youth are happy for having been considered to work on this project. Many have had no stable employment as the community looks at them as being unable to do good work. Such wages have drastically improved their well being and their families as some of them have spouses and children at home.
During the course of our construction, community members and parents have been bringing
children with hearing impairment, visually impaired and intellectually challenged children for registration. The majority of them were new to us. This has been as a result of the community knowing that the school being built is for Differently Abled Children (DAC). By the time we stopped building we had registered 12 children in just a space of two months.
In a similar way, some adults have come to us to register their interest to work with us either as casual workers or full time staff. The case in point, many ladies have expressed interest to work as matrons, cooks, canteen attendants, etc.

Creating a water storage tank at the school

Inconsistent availability of water supplied by National Water and Sewerage Corporation
(NWSC). This has greatly affected our budget as we have heavily depended on water supplied by Uganda Police, Fire Brigade department at a relatively high cost ( £50  per truck).
Prices of certain building materials especially cement, and bricks, have increased. This is mainly attributed to the many taxes government charges the manufacturers and many other community members building their own houses respectively.
The Corona Virus outbreak which has made us to suspend the work at the site following the
government Lockdown.
In conclusion, in our own thoughts, we are happy to report that the project is on course and it will be delivered on time so that by end of the year it is ready for use early January, 2020.
However, this will be possible if funds continue to be available.
It is very important in our subsequent projects to continue involving our Differently Abled
Youth/ Children (DAY/ C) as it is the only way we can show the community that such youth are able to work like the able bodied youth.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Why stay at Home

In UK and USA far too many people are thinking that the Government policy saying STAY AT HOME doesn't really apply to me. It's for other people. No. It's for me.

My daughter Joanna, a very hard pressed General Practitioner sent me this little graphic which really shows just what happens with viruses spreading.

Click the link below and it will all make sense



Thursday, 26 March 2020

A Global Emergency

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has set the world a challenge to remain safe and prevent deaths.
We are kept constantly updated by our Governments on hand washing, social distancing, staying in our own homes and isolating the most vulnerable. We are all doing our upmost to comply because we know this will save lives. There is a social and economic impact of the restraints we are currently living under but we are all try to make the best of it and hope this epidemic is soon over.

We at HUGS also know the affect this is having on our friends in Uganda. They are trying to cope with all these changes without the safety net and infrastructure we have here in the UK.
The schools in Uganda were closed without warning. Sebastian and Fred had to rush around collecting the children from the various boarding schools and return them to their own homes. One of the children couldn’t return to his own home so Sebastian and his wife Victoria have taken him in and made room, together with their own five children. Another one of the children we pay school fees for was worried there would be no food at home to feed him. We had anticipated this and our good friend Lydia who runs the Bury African Outreach Charity sent money to pay for emergency food.

As a precaution we have stopped the building work on our new school for deaf children.

Covid 19 has appeared in Uganda and if it really takes off then the very limited health resources cannot be expected to cope.

There are 55 Intensive Care beds in Uganda. Manchester University Hospital Royal Infirmary alone has more than that.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

We must decide!

At a time when 1.7 billion people around the world are in lock down it is so easy for us to wait until someone wise tells us what to do. A dangerous route to take when we remember of all the awful things that have been happening in our world and which were either started or 'not prevented' by our political masters.

They have not suddenly become wise and truthful. They are the same and so often muddling along giving the appearance of knowing what to do.

I'm not an expert on Covid 19 but I do now that if I catch it it will be because of my own carelessness or that of others.

It took far too long for the simple message STAY AT HOME to be the lesson learned to date.  Wash my hands over and over again. Keep at least 2 meters away from people.

Our new St Francis de Sales School at Jinja is on programme but we are carefully considering the wisdom of  a number of builders working on the project. It's a pretty isolated site and a long way from the big towns but Uganda now has Covid 19 and their health services could never handle a major epidemic. We may decide to pause.

All our Uganda and Rwanda schools have closed and many people they will rely upon a small holding or large vegetable garden which has proved to be the route to survival so often in the past. We have less resilience in UK.

Thanks to all our donors for your continuing support. This month we had our charity Annual General Meeting and I stood down as Chairman and Administrator and handed over to Dr. Richard Bircher, my son in law. He will do a brilliant job. I will remain as a Trustee and try not to meddle.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Latest news from our projects

At the start of 2020 we have 3 main projects underway and one which we hope to start.

2020 marks the 25th year of the charity.

Firstly the Scholarship programme;

The academic year started with 66 active scholarships out of the 124 we have funded over the years.
(58 have completed). 57 are at primary or secondary school and 9 are at further education/university.

"F"completes her medical degree course this year.

The second big project is at Good Shepherd School for children with special needs. It has always been a challenge to help the school to achieve financial sustainability which we believe is really vital for all our projects. Without this so many great ideas die when the funders can no longer provide the money. With help from one of our most generous supporters we have started a £27,000 agricultural project near Fort Portal. When fully operational in about 3 years time this will not only provide substantially improved food supply to the 160 to 200 at the school but also generate cash to help pay running costs. The land has been purchased and we will keep you up to date as things develop.

The third project is the build of St Francis de Sales Nursery School for deaf children. Land was purchased by our partners the Jinja Organisation of Parents of Deaf Children and work has started. We visited the site in December and now the building is progressing very quickly. The school will take up to 100 children with full dormitory accommodation because children will come from quite distant places.

This was the site in December

And here it is in January

The other project yet to start will be dormitory accommodation at Little Shepherd School at Rtunguru.

If you know anyone who might like to sponsor a student do please let us know.