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Tuesday, 6 July 2021

 

If you can’t communicate, no one will listen.

Next Month, St Francis de Sales School opens. Its first intake will be 50 students who have profound hearing loss and other disabilities. Thank you to everyone who has contributed; you will be making a life changing difference to so many children.

Life is tough for deaf children in Uganda. Any disability can lead to marginalisation, and prejudice.  For a deaf child this means they do not learn to talk, or lip read.  Many are never enrolled in school; they miss the opportunity to be taught to read and write or learn sign language.  They grow up without a meaningful way to communicate. If you can’t communicate, no one will listen.  Despite normal intelligence, and huge potential the only future for many is subsistence farming or labouring, abuse or forced child marriage.  Economists call this a ‘gap’ in Human Capital; we call it a travesty.

Our new school specifically cares for preschool and early primary years students. Helping them when they are young enough, to be able to break open the neural pathways through which lifelong communicate will flow. It will instil self-belief and give hope.

Good quality education requires good quality teachers and equipment.  HUGS is hosting a special art competition and auction this July/August.  ‘What does sound look like to you?’ We are challenging artists to visually interpret sound.  Our judges are a senior curator from Manchester Art Gallery, and leaders in Ear Nose and Throat and Audiology in the UK. The winners will form a permanent display in the Peter Mount, ENT centre in the Central Manchester Hospital, and one piece of art will hang in the foyer at St Frances de Sales School.  If you are an artist, could this be your work?

If you know of anyone who would like to enter please email hugs.chair@gmail.com


Water for all

HUGS donors have raised £3300 to pay for 25 new water connections in the KosOvo slum in Kampala.  On average children miss a month of schooling every year due to illness. Working with a local grassroots community group we hope to bolster children’s chances by providing disease free water, a meal a day and access to the classroom.  This is an exciting new project, which helps some of the poorest families in Uganda.
Thank you for your support







Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Trusted Generous and Well Connected


Trusted, Generous and Well Connected



We would like to tell you a story of how one man can make such a difference to the lives of some of the poorest people living in Uganda.

Ronald Kamoga was born in the KosOvo slum in Kampala. A place where 35,000 people are crowded together in makeshift homes with no access to clean water or reliable sanitation. The slum sits on low lying land and when it rains the water can rise to 2 feet in depth. A quarter of families are headed by single mothers as families are abandoned by their men. Half the people in KosOvo are children, supported by an average household income of $25 a week (of which $5 is spent on healthcare). When children do go to school, they miss almost a month of education every year because they are too sick to attend. Child protection issues are so common, there is no capacity to address even a fraction of concerns. Its a brutal, unforgiving place to raise a child.

Ronald's parents taught him the importance of education and by aged 21 he has started university. He went on the become a hospital administrator but felt he wasn't doing enough for the people he lived along side for so many years during his childhood.

Ronald now head a charitable organisation (CEFOVID) working in the centre of the slum, providing many of the services we take for granted. he makes a difference because he is trusted, generous and well connected. The Trustees of HUGS met him a year ago (on ZOOM) and agreed to help improve the lives of the children he cares for.


There are four main projects:
1. Provide clean water (it costs £130 to install a tap which serves 25 people)
2. Help children attend a school (it costs £200 per year, including a daily meal)
3. Education courses in health, nutrition and income generation
4. Microfinance loans scheme

Ronald uses his knowledge and expertise to simply 'do what he can'. He offers hope.  A Partnership with HUGS, means we can raise funds for him to 'do more than he could'. Every penny our supporters donate is used to help make a difference to vulnerable people. We couldn't do this without people like Ronald.  If your like to help him, please contact us (hugstrustees@gmail.com) to discuss more.

Make the most of being trusted, generous and well connected.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Direct connections between giving and making a difference.

Every time a supporter of Helping Uganda Schools makes a donation they can be sure their support helps the lives of people who are constrained by lack of opportunity, poverty or oppression.  In a complicated world, where it is hard to know how best to respond to global challenges and gross inequality, HUGS provides a direct connection between those who have, and those that have not. 100% of donor’s money is spent on projects to improve the lives of others and none is spent on administration.

 
Here are pictures which show, some of the ways you have helped HUGS to make a difference over the last year through these direct connections.

If you have any friends, colleagues, or relatives who you think would like to support us, please forward this message and ask them to consider making a donation.


The beautiful new special needs school, St Francis de Sales, opens in August specifically to provide educating to young children with hearing loss.


HUGS Provides a meal a day and basic equipment, such as shoes, for children in the KosOvo slum in Kampala. Without your support they would not be able to attend school.


Teacher training and science equipment for the pupils at the Asili Girls School in Lira.  Better education in science means better further jobs and emancipated women.


New bed frames for the Girls dormitory at Little Shepherd School.  Girls education is improved with residential facilities, restful safe sleep and ability to study by electric light. 


The pre-school children at Little Shepherd School queue for lunch whilst their headmaster, Felix, celebrates the birth of his son. HUGS sponsored Felix's higher education.


Helping people with disability. Yayeeri, a student without sight, graduates as a social worker, sponsored by HUGS donations. Meanwhile the bullocks at Good Shepherd Special Needs School, fatten ready for market. A HUGS funded income generation project.

Thank you for all your continued support
The HUGS Team

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Happy Easter. 

In this update we bring you the good news that Ugandan children are returning to school, and report on how HUGs is helping them catch up.

Last week school children in Uganda sat their O level, A level and end of Primary School exams. They have done so well to cram a year of education into 5 months.  Teachers at the 6 HUGS schools (you have helped build and support) have been working under immense pressure, with less resources than usual, to get their students ready for their exams, whilst at the same time supporting the poorest families maintain a livelihood. Over the next few months, as COVID restrictions are lifted, all other pupils will be able to return to school in staged year groups. All have missed 12 months of education and most will be re-entering the school year that was halted in 2020. 


Your support has provided school equipment, sportswear, science equipment, clean water, staff training, a safe place to sleep and given hope to so many.  This year, for the first time HUGS is sponsoring children from the KosOvo slum in Kampala. These children come from families which have never been able to afford education. The first purchase for each, is a pair of shoes, socks, and a school bag. Thank you.




Education matters, and when coupled with ambition and a focus on future employment, is transformative. The Head Mistress of the Asili Girls School, Lira, Sister Veronica Akello, is an inspiration. She has been working with HUGS to write a joint proposal for the funding of a computer training lab at her school, to offer O level ICT, and provide night classes for school dropouts and young mothers. She is acutely aware that girls and young women, without the ability to be self-sufficient and earn a decent income, are at grave risk of abuse, forced marriage and teenage pregnancy. To her the connection is obvious and most importantly reversible.  

IT skills are key for employment by reputable companies and essential for successful self-employment. The Service Sector in Uganda creates more jobs and contributes more to the country’s economy than agriculture and industry, so it makes sense for HUGS to support this initiative.  The project cost is £20,000. We are looking for wealthy or corporate sponsors to join us. If you know anyone who may be interested, please contact Richard our charity chair. 

Finally, we want to tell you about a truly inspirational student. We have agreed to sponsor Rosemary Nabirye through her Degree in Social Work at Makerere University.  HUGS Helped her through her A levels in 2018 then lost contact. What makes her so exceptional is she is blind. Her passion is to help improve the lives of blind children. Thank you for supporting HUGS, you make the world a better place in so many ways.

Happy Easter

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Books and Bullocks

In this update, we share a story about the Bullock Farm at Good Shepherd Special Needs School and invite you to celebrate World Book Day with HUGS.


World Book Day, Thursday 4th of March, is when we celebrate the immense power of books to entertain, inform and change the world.  Books are places where children’s ideas are born and nurtured, and ideas drive development.  Helping Uganda Schools gives opportunity for impoverished children to not only learn the skills to access other people’s ideas, but the ability to follow through on their own. 

When HUGS Trustees last visited Uganda we had the privilege of talking to students who have been helped by your generous support. They were full of ideas.

Books are in short supply in Uganda. HUGS organised for a truck of books to be delivered to the Asili Girls School 5 years ago, and they are still inspiring the children to this day. We’d like to do more. We are talking to another UK charity which delivers large numbers of used books to Ugandan schools. Books which we would otherwise throw away. (The UK discards approximately 30 million books a year).

Can you help us celebrate World Book Day and raise funds for this project?

Please consider giving a book to a friend, neighbour or colleague, with our HUGS World Book Day card inside, inviting them to donate to HUGS.  Down Load HERE

                           


You can turn your unwanted books into a donation.  This link HERE takes you to a book collection company who will donate money to HUGS. If you want to ‘declutter’ in lockdown and don’t know what to do with your unwanted books, please use this service.

Finally, please share our 'School Books and Equipment' appeal page, (follow this LINK) so others may make a donation.

Bullocks at School


Good Shepherd Special Needs School, in Fort Portal this week welcomed nine new residents. Young bullocks. Thanks to generous donations, HUGS has funded the development of a small farm where bullocks are ‘brought on’ to increase their value for market. The farm is owned and managed by Good Shepherd School and all profits will be used for the benefit of students. HUGS always tries to help schools become financially independent and reduce dependency on donations. This is key to fostering independent decision making and ensuring organisational confidence. Thank you for everyone’s support.


Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Ready for when schools re-open

It has been almost a year since schools in Uganda closed. Only children taking their end of Primary or O and A level exams have been allowed to return.  Out of the 57 children HUGS sponsors 18 are now in class.  All are doing well, and we predict 9 will complete primary school, 7 will take their O level and 3 A level exams. 

However, we have grave concerns regarding the remaining 39. Our children are sponsored because their access to education is restricted due to poverty or disability. We do not know how many will be able to return.  Working with our amazing schools and hard-working Trusted Representatives we are making plans to ensure everything is ready when the school doors reopen.  HUGS has been asked to provide new educational equipment. Can you help? Carmel and Bob (two of the HUGS Trustees) are raising funds using a scheme that welcomes your participation.  Run/walk 5K, Pay £5, Nominate 5. Its motivating and gives purpose… two things we all need during our current lockdown.


This video explains more.  Please help.


To contribute to this fund, follow this LINK

We are pleased to inform you two construction projects are close to completion.  The Dormitory at Little Shepherd School and St Francis de Sales School are looking great.  Both projects have been funded through generous donations. Thank you. We partnered with a charity ‘Wilmslow Wells for Africa’ to build a colossal rainwater catchment system at St Francis de Sales School.  The pictures below show the 4.5m cube tank, dug amazingly by hand. 

               



      

We are also partnering with ‘Bury Africa Outreach’ and ‘Friends of Two Tone’ on a new education project; to help children from the KosOvo slums in Kampala go to school for the first time.  Children in slums face some of the most unsurmountable barriers to education, and experience violence, hunger and marginalisation on a daily basis.  The three charities have agreed to fund 30 children to attend school for the next 5 years including one free meal a day.  Ronald Kamoga from CEFOVID, the charity we are working alongside in KosOvo, tells us the first task is to buy socks and shoes for the children. 

And finally, some good news. Three of our sponsored university students have gained professional qualifications. Faith Nankinga is now a doctor, Bridget Katusable is a midwife and Bazira Yayeeri is a Social Worker.  They send their gratitude to every HUGS supporter.

Thank you.





Monday, 28 December 2020

Sharing out the HUGS


The trustees of Helping Uganda Schools, at this time of year, receive many messages of warmth and gratitude from Uganda. We want to share these with our supporters. We recognise this year has been hard for many people and our freedom to hold the people who are dearest to us has been limited.  Please accept a portion of this appreciation; a little HUG if you like.

Sebastian, from St. Francis de Sale School, on Christmas day wrote how our 'countless sacrifices of time and money do not go unnoticed.'  Faith our sponsored newly qualified doctor remarked how we have 'fulfilled her life'  and Sr Evangelista sends 'continued blessings'. There have been messages of thanks from current students, qualified ex-sponsored students and teachers. 

HUGS has had a remarkable year. Our supporters helped fund the construction of a girls dormitory at the Little Shepherd School and a new special needs school in Jinja. They helped us respond with compassion to the terrible additional impoverishment caused by COVID. HUGS diverted funds from education to humanitarian aid. We fed many vulnerable children, secured the livelihoods for school staff and helped keep our schools safe and maintained. 

There are aways challenges, and next year we look forward to:
  • Welcoming full classrooms back in February. Some children have effectively missed a year of education and we fear many girls will not return.
  • Sponsoring a new cohort of children from the KosOvo slum area of Kampala. This is a new project.
  • Providing teaching equipment, for St Francis de Sales School
  • Kitting out the new dormitory for Little Shepherd School
  • Maintaining our commitment to our current sponsored students

As always, help from our supporters with any of these projects is welcomed. If anyone wants to play a greater role email us at hugstrustees@gmail.com

Finally on a lighter note, with the help of two of our Ugandan headmistresses we have written a new year/festive period family quiz. You can play it online or face to face. Please pass it on, tweet, facebook or email. If people enjoy it they are invited to make a donation. Every little helps.

QUIZ LINK HERE

Thank you to all our supporters. We are only able to help Uganda Schools because you help us.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Three amazing women and our Christmas School Equipment Appeal



Hello from the HUGS team, we hope each and every one of our supporters is well and safe during these difficult times.

In this months' Blog we bring you news about three amazing women HUGS have supported through their education and tell you about our Christmas Schools Equipment Appeal (see link below)

SchoolEquipmentAppeal

Education in Uganda has been suspended for 6 months because of the pandemic, and only recently were final year 'candidate' classes allowed to return to school.  Children in Primary 7 classes, and those studying O' and A' levels will soon be taking their exams, whilst other children remain at home, with little hope of home tuition.  This will affect girls more than boys.  Their comparative poor social standing is likely to mean Uganda will see more girls drop out of school, be married before the age of 16 or be pregnant when still children themselves.  With this in mind, this picture offers hope.  Here are the O' Level students from the Asili Girls School in Lira, using their brand new Chemistry equipment, which HUGS funded, for the first time in preparation for their exams.  Qualifications in Science, allow girls access to many jobs and facilitate independent living.



Three amazing Women

It gives us great pleasure to inform HUGS supporters that Faith Nakinga has completed Medical School and is soon to be Dr Nakinga.  Bridget Katusabe has qualified as a midwife and Dr Grace Nannyondo, has passed her Specialist training and is now a consultant in Gynaecology and Obstetrics. Despite the upheaval of this last year, these woman have not let the pandemic stop them from achieving their goals.  All have described future aspirations to be working with marginalised, poor people and aim to make a difference to the lives of others.  Bridget says she is 'excited to send HUGS a picture of the first baby she delivers as a fully qualified midwife.'




HUGS Christmas Schools Equipment Appeal

As you will be aware, we are nearing the completion of our 7th school, St Francis de Sales School in Jinja. We want to help provide teaching equipment.


Our Christmas Appeal is to help us raise £4000 for desks, chairs, books, pens, art equipment and for the poorest children, socks, shoes and a school bag.  We are trying a new form of fund raising.  The HUGS Christmas Craft Auction.  This is online between Friday 27th of November and Sunday 6th of December. Local Artists have kindly donated beautiful gifts (ceramics, paintings, embroidery, chocolate and more) which would make ideal presents. Please take a look and please place a bid.

You can view the auction here HUGSChistmasAuction and start to place bids from next Friday.

There is an opportunity to donate directly towards this fund:

                             virginmoneygiving.com/fund/HUGSChristmasEquipment

Please share this link with friends and family. If you use social media then please tweet, share, blog and poke.

Many thanks for all your continued support

The HUGS Trustees








Sunday, 25 October 2020





Thank you to everyone for your continued support.  

Charity trustees have been busy ensuring the funds we receive make a real difference to vulnerable children.


CHARITY CHANGES

The most important news is that Peter Mount, the inspirational founder of HUGS stepped down as Chair earlier this year and now resigned as a Trustee.  For the first time, we are without his brilliant ability to network and boundless energy and drive to help vulnerable people. We have an enormous debt of gratitude to his skills and tenacity.  I hope you will join us in wishing him all the best, please email him if you have chance. 

Richard Bircher, the new HUGS Chair, and has appointed three new Trustees, Jessica Williams, (a senior NHS manager with a keen interest in international social injustice), Carmel Dowling (Politics University Student and our social media expert) and Emma Stapleton (Manchester based, ENT Surgeon).

PROJECT UPDATES

The Big Uganda Cycle Ride has raised ALL the money for the completion of St Frances de Sales School. Sebastian, the programme director is so grateful to everyone’s generosity.  Thank you. The school will open in February, and the first intake will be at least 50 children with special needs. Over 500 people played a role in raising funds. Its incredible. We have other bids ‘in the pipeline’ to help with teaching equipment costs. 




Work on the girls dormitory at Little Shepherd School is progressing very well. Here is the latest picture.




Uganda school children, who are in a final year class are back at school.  Our sponsored Midwife and Medical Students have returned to study after COVID lockdown, and will be qualifying in 3 month’s time. HUGS donated additional school fees, to help these pupils, as many schools had used previously paid fees to keep their businesses afloat and helping teachers with no income. Thank you for everyone who helped identify the pupils who were most in need.

HUGS was able to make a donation of £3000 to the Lira Babies Home. This is such an amazing place where abandoned babies are taken in, loved and fed until adoptive families are found. The Director of the home, Sister Demmy, who has become a friend of many HUGS visitors, has also retired.  She leaves a legacy of 100s of children, who have bright futures, when she and her team reached out to them at the darkest of times. 

FUTURE PLANS

There are two projects ‘On the Horizon’.

Emma and Richard met Ronald Kamoga from an organisation called CEFOVID (over zoom) which works in the Kosovo slum in Kampala. He is a really inspirational man. He has a register of 65 primary school aged children who are not enrolled in school because of crushing poverty.  HUGS trustees have decided to join with him to see how many children we can help into education for the start of the next school year (February 2021). It costs £200 to educate a child for a year (this includes buying a pair of shoes and socks, school bag, pencils and breakfast and lunch for 30 weeks of the year).  So little, which can make such a difference. If anyone would like to help with fund raising for this project, please contact Richard on hugstrustees@gmail.com

And finally, HUGS is getting ‘Crafty for Christmas’. We have 20 kind offers of handmade items to auction to raise funds.  Beautiful crafted gifts to help cheer up, what is likely to be a difficult Christmas for many people.  We will let you know how you can help with this fund-raising effort next month.

Sunday, 4 October 2020

The Big Uganda Cycle Ride has been an enormous success. Our Target was to cycle 6480 miles (From Manchester to Kampala.. virtually) and raise £20,000.  Instead, fuelled by our amazing team of 'over-achievers' we travelled 11,000 miles and raised £33,000.

There is still time to donate if you'd like to help, as this campaign will run until December.

The money raised is to be spent on our new Special Needs School, 'St Francis de Sale'.  The school will primarily be for children with hearing and sight problems, but also those with associated disabilities.  The school is well under construction, and this week, the roof was completed.

The school is a quadrangle design. It's all on one level and safe.  The initial build is for children who are starting school, many of whom may be above normal nursery age (as many children with disabilities are never enrolled in schools).  Over the next few years we will be adding a kitchen, classes for older children and teacher accommodation.

This is an exciting new project, and one which will be a joy to assist over the next few years.

We are working closely with an NGO called the Jinja Organisation of Parents of Disabled Children. They will own the school, and ensure its self sufficiency (something we insist on, for all our projects).  So far their management of the project has been excellent. They are committed, aware of costs and creative.

This is going to be an amazing school.

Here is a short video, giving thanks to everyone who has helped us on this amazing journey.

THE BIG UGANDA CYCLE RIDE FINISHING LINE



Tuesday, 22 September 2020

The BigUgandaCycleRide has reached Kenya.

 With nearly 50 cyclists from many countries taking part, the big ride has now done over 7000 miles and has reached Kenya. Over 7000 miles covered.

And we have reached our target of £20,000 but with 8 days to go we naturally raised the bar and are going for £30,000. That would be something.

Let's show some places we visited after leaving Nigeria.


Jo and Liz did 105 miles in a day


Just arrived in Kenya


Uganda Makerere University major fire


200,000 refugees in Kakuma, Kenya


Our armed guard in South Sudan


Tim with the Yellow Jersey


Central African Republic

And Chairman Richard Thank you





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