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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

What can small charities do?


The need for charitable aid around the world, home or abroad, does not reduce but one of the inevitable outcomes of the Oxfam expose is that thousands of people are cancelling their regular donations.

Understandable, yes, but how is this going to help the hundreds of thousands in need?

Most large charities need to have large professional teams to both raise the money and also to administer its delivery. Audit processes are not free.  Spending very large sums of money can be done quickly or can be done effectively but rarely both at the same time.

However as a small UK registered charity Helping Uganda Schools raises about £100,000 a year and relies on tried and tested local Teams in Uganda and Rwanda to deliver the work, build the schools and educate the children. They are local people. Three partners are Congregations of Religious Sisters and one is an organisation run by parents of deaf and disabled children

Partners like these bring strong codes of honesty and governance, continuity, and a local passion for the cause. They have members with degrees in a wide range of subjects and fully understand the needs and the culture of their countries and their people.

We have run this charity for 23 years with great Trustees,  no paid staff, with overhead costs met privately or from non donor money, and now have 7 schools, 1200 children attending, 83 past or active scholarships, a school for special needs children and with a small exception all the projects are self sustaining. We are starting a programme to tackle eyesight problems for children in Jinja.

There is a constant need to do more and I am wondering if there are people out there who could sign small monthly standing orders to Helping Uganda Schools?

Standing Order forms are on our website. www.helpingugandaschools.org

Or make a donation at https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/helpingugandaschools




Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults

A very serious issue has been very widely publicised this week in UK. It appears that employees of the UK charity Oxfam, have behaved very badly and abused their positions of trust, in particular in prostitution.

As a charity Helping Uganda Schools has no employees working in Uganda or Rwanda. We work with 4 different partners who are responsible for the work of building and running the schools and in helping disabled or deaf children.

Three partners are three Orders of Catholic Sisters and the fourth is the Organisation for the Parents of Deaf Children.

We have been in contact with them all this week to remind them of the importance of having up to date Safeguarding Policies. Local national legislation requires such policies.

I can reassure all our supporters that we do not have any known problems in this area.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

New Term begins

As Uganda children return to school at the beginning of February following their long Christmas holiday we try to keep up with where our scholarship holders have got to. We start the year with 64 actively being supported by HUGS and a further 19 who have completed or graduated and are working in education, medicine, engineering, building and honey production.

Our scholarships are usually £150 per year at primary Level, £300 at Secondary and around £750 at Further Education or University .

And you see still some great ways to use a Boda Boda  (motor bike) in Uganda.



Chris Bishop and all his friends had a very successful HUGS and QUIZZES fund raising event in Manchester with the aim of reaching his target to fund the equipment needed for the Vocational Classes at the Asili Girls Secondary School which is about half finished. He made it!



Many supporters will remember Fr John Kyazze and will be interested to hear that he has been given a huge challenge by his Bishop. He has 35 churches to manage in a new parish and has to find ways to build himself a house to live in. There are 10,000 parishioners spread over a distance of 70 kms. Sadly it is a long way from his family home near Mubende

Aaron, the 14 year old who can now see with one good eye following a Corneal Graft (funded by HUGS and Primrose, an amazing Opthalmic Nurse from London's Moorfields Eye Hospital) had to have an emergency stomach operation this week but is recovering well. Here are Aaron and Primrose at the Source of the Nile at Jinja.





Sunday, 14 January 2018

Plans for 2018

As we start 2018 the results are coming in for the Primary 7 national examinations in Uganda. Nearly 600,000 children go through this ordeal and it was good to hear that St Zoes got 8 Grade 1 and 8 Grade two out of 16 entrants.

SCHOOLS

The big continuing projects this year will be to commission the vocational classes at Asili Girls Secondary School at Lira and start the science block. We expect about 120 girls will attend this year. Here is the newly finished vocational and classroom building.


The Primary School at Rtunguru in the South West of Uganda needs a further 3 classrooms and we plan to fund these during the year. The picture shows the most recent extension which we funded. In 2017 we also funded a water catchment system on the older buildings.


Overall our 7 schools will be providing education to over 1200 children in 2018

EYESIGHT PROJECT

This project is being led by partner Sebastian who runs the Organisation for Parents of Deaf Children.  If children cannot see to read then there schooling chances are very low. Working with the UK Uganda health Alliance and staff from Moorfields we have been able to assist with funding a number of Eye Caps and over 60 children have been helped.

SCHOLARSHIPS

We will start 2018 with commitments for funding 18 students at FE or University and a further 50 at primary or secondary school. Several graduated last year.   Some of those who we have helped are now earning money and are helping to fund other young children.
Two Optometry Students at Makerere University will be supported from September 2018.

FAMILY SUPPORT INITIATIVE

This project is based in Lira and we have provided small amounts of capital which is helping groups of women to start small enterprises and gain some personal independence. So many women get abandoned by their partners and are left with small children and so income source having to rely on the charity of their neighbours.

CAN YOU HELP?

If any of our readers in Europe or USA or anywhere else would like to help then this is very easy. We have a "giving" page at the link is here.

                         DONATE HERE IN ANY CURRENCY


Sunday, 24 December 2017

Happy Christmas From HUGS

On behalf of all our Trustees and all our friends in Uganda can we say Happy Christmas to all our readers. Your support makes everything possible.


And a special congratulations message to Robert SSebuuma who achieved a 2.1 in his diploma Course in Building and Civil Engineering and starts the Degree option in 2018



Wednesday, 13 December 2017

A good choice but what a result!

A few years ago oil deposits were found in Uganda and in time this could benefit the economy . A very bright student called Denis Trevor had gained University degree course entrance and chose to study Petroleum Engineering.

HUGS  has been supporting him for the last two to three years and in December 2017 he graduated with a First Class Degree and was awarded the University award for the best student of the year.


Well done Sr. Noeline for proposing him but congratulations to Awas Denis Trevor for a really wonderful result.

Denis is planning to help fund a child at school when he starts work.

Currently we have 77 students and ex students supported by HUGS and between them a great difference will be made.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Free Christmas Cards for you to use

This year we are offering all our supporters the chance of downloading one any or all of 4 Christmas Cards which we have designed.
The are in jpg format and you might like to use them.

Here are the designs:





Wednesday, 22 November 2017

A Quick Cup of Coffee?

Last month HUGS agreed to fund the development of an income generating coffee plot at the Little Shepherds School.  Sister Jacinta and her team have wasted no time to get the ground ready for their first batch of Coffee seedlings.

The whole project is costing under £1,000. Sr Jacinta and her team would expect profits within two years and eventually a surplus which will pay for up to 15 children's education a year. At the moment the school cares for 5 orphans and has many other children whose families are too poor to reliably afford the school fees every term.





Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The power of partnerships

Today (November 21st 2017) we got news of the first results from the Eye Clinics which our partners Primrose Magala and Sebastian Waiswas have organised in Uganda with help from Moorfields Hospital doctors and nurses.

All our Uganda and Rwanda work is with partners and what is achieved is many times greater than anything we could do alone.

The picture shows them both with Sr Evangelista who is leading the Lira Girls School project.


Here is an extract what Sebastian told us;

Am glad to report to you that our children I brought yesterday and today got assessed, received surgeries and treatment. While others who have difficult conditions have been advised to seek specialized treatment in other hospitals.
Among those who underwent cataract, and squint surgeries include ; Keith and  colonius both squints and Geoffrey with cataract who is in the theater as I write now.
Abdallah was give spectacles.
Carol given eye drops but advised that when she knocks 12 years she will undergo surgery of squints and bilateral conjuctictivis.
Racheal with corneal scars and posterior synachea of the left eye which was found blind and so no any other intervention can be done to correct it.

We also received a lovely picture of the Nursery level children who attend our Rwanda School and who have just "graduated" to primary level.


Monday, 20 November 2017

Two new Scholarships

We have told you about the 70 or so active scholarships which our supporters are all helping to fund. And we have also told you a little about the 90 or so children living around Jinja who have been identifies with various forms of eye disorder.

This week a team from Moorefields Eye Hospital London is visiting Uganda and will be running clinics to help some of these children.

We have decided to do our bit by addressing some of the long term solutions for such children by offering two scholarships in Optometry. We chose this speciality because our research told us that perhaps 70% of eyesight issues can be resolved by optometrists who can offer the correct eye lotions and prescribe and fit the correct spectacles for the children.



Priya Gupta who is an optometrist from Jinja has been working with Sebastian and Denise and she has identified two potential winners of the scholarships. One is named Augustine and the other is Ronald. More about them later.

Denise is tracking all the results of the eyesight project and here is a sample of the data being collected.



It costs about £25 to treat and provide glasses for a child and this can transform their education.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Fancy a coffee?

Sister Jacinta, who heads the Little Shepherd School in Rutunguru, Uganda is planting coffee bushes this month.
When asked to plan an income generating scheme to improve the sustainability of her school she looked at many options, finally turning to the coffee bean.

The school will plant 2-3 acres of land with coffee, at a cost of £900 which HUGS is funding.
Over the first two years yields will be low but there after Sr Jacinta has worked out, profits will pay the school fees for 5 orphans and another 7-10 low income families, as well as provide money towards the teachers salaries. If families can’t pay for their child’s education they can work on the plantation in kind.

Coffee grows well in Rutunguru.



Friday, 6 October 2017

This Year's Graduates

HUGS has 77 students and ex students on our database and all have been supported thanks to the generosity of our supporters. Here is a summary of some of the 2017 Graduates.

Jean D'Amour who graduated in Education in Rwanda


Patrick who graduated in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry


Stephania who graduated in Education in Rwanda


Molly who qualifies in Uganda as a nurse



But it has also been a sad month. One of our long term and very generous donors died during the month. His memorial service was wonderful and he was really a very popular and highly valued person. We have a memorial stone in his memory at our Good Shepherd School in Fort Portal and all the children  (about 150) attended a special memorial mass in his memory.

We will really miss him.



Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Graduation day for Diana and how to hide a cow!

Diana became one of our sponsored student nurses back in 2013 and this year she graduated and will start her nursing career in Rwanda in the next few weeks. This had been her dream and she worked so hard to get the qualification. We have several other students who graduate in September and will tell you about them later.




How to hide a cow.

In Uganda most things are possible but please don't try this at home!



Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Education of Dambisa Moyo

If ever you want a role model for the transformational power of education and the unlimited potential of Africa, you will struggle to find a better candidate than the global economist and best selling author Dambisa Moyo.
Born and raised in post colonial Zambia, forty years later she's now an Oxford PhD. and Harvard graduate who sits on the Board of Barclays Bank and is rated as one of the Time Magazine 100 most influential people.

She is very clear on how she made the journey from her early life to where she is today. "The lynch pin of my life was being able to go to school. Look, I have no birth certificate because at the time of my birth certificates were not issued to blacks, so you can imagine there was'nt much emphasis on girls going to school".

Her parents did not agree. They were determined that she would get the opportunity. She took it and is helping to make a better world. Look her up if you want to know more.

We now have well over 100 girls at our new Asili Girls Secondary School. Maybe one of these will be the next Dambisa Moyo and another the first female President of Uganda. Someone has to be!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Lira progress and Surgery for children

Work is under way to build the vocational centre at the Asili Girls Secondary School and we expect completion by about September. Current fundraising is to make sure we have all the equipment needed.




Trustee Denise Ead has been working with a number of agencies in UK and Uganda to see what could be done to help some of the visually impaired children at Jinja to regain or improve their eyesight. This has been a complex journey because it requires considerable coordination of transport with available ophthalmic professionals. But on June 21st three children went to Mengo Hospital for surgery. We will let you know the results.

Brenda's story.

Brenda, is an orphan whose her parents died and left with her with the grandmother who is now elderly.  They took her to Kinyamasika Government primary school, where they treated her in cruel way, nicknaming her many ugly names. In the class she could not understand anything as she is deaf, and cannot express herself as dumb.  She would cry all the day long at school, and became very stressful and refused to go back to school, until luck knocked at the door to hear about Good Shepherd, she came and started at our school where she met very kind teachers, children, and  many of the children who know her language as there are other deaf children. She deemed to be a very brilliant child in class and came out with a very nice first grade from P.L.E examination.  HUGS is sponsoring her secondary education. To our surprise the head teacher and staff from Wakiso Secondary school for the deaf is amazed for her academic performance and behavior conduct as I told you, got first position in her first term examination in that school. Disability does not mean Inability.


We have just returned from Barcelona visiting the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's wonderful Cathedral which wont be complete until perhaps 2026. It must be the most beautiful in the world. We also saw the Miro Centre and his amazing paintings. I promise that I did not make the hand prints on the picture.





Monday, 8 May 2017

Something really worth a few minutes of your time

You may remember that our Lira Girls Secondary School (about 40% completed) is the really big thing we are doing at present. The link HERE takes you to a wonderful short presentation by Nobel Prize Winner Gbowee Leymah which really says so much about the benefits of education for girls.

As we move toward the start of our 23rd year we thought it might be nice to show some pictures of all the schools which HUGS has been able to help build and which have about 1200 children attending.

RWANDA  (St Therese's Primary)





UGANDA  Good Shepherd and St Gabriel's at Fort Portal Uganda






UGANDA  St. Zoes 3 schools





UGANDA  Asili Girls Secondary School at Lira




UGANDA Rtunguru





The big fund raiser this year is to help in the completion of the school at Lira.

If you would like to donate by giving a small sponsorship for our big Golf Event in June the please CLICK HERE











Sunday, 2 April 2017

But if you cannot see...

We have four partners who lead the work in Uganda and Rwanda. One of these is led by Sebastian who is the Director of the Jinja based Organisation for Parents of Disabled children,

HUGS is helping 8 young people in Jinja. They suffer deafness, eyesight problems and lameness. Trustee Denise Ead has been researching eye problems  and found that perhaps 60% of children could be helped greatly by just having an optometry test and glasses prescribed.

We ave funded an Eyesight Camp in Jinja and 10 children are being assessed. At about £40 a child this can really change a life.

The picture shows on of the children being assessed in March this year.


It was Emmeline Pankhurst who said "We have to free half the human race, the women, so that they can free the other half".


And that is what our Lira Girls Secondary School is really trying to do. Together with kick starting some Women's Groups we know that the long term effects can be enormous.

If you are a sceptic and like to see evidence then please look at some of Hans Roslings You Tube talks on demographics. They are awesome. He died in March this year.

I really commend you to take a look at this TED Talk where someone wiser than me explains it so clearly.