Stop and Applaud Teachers
Stop for a second and think about the last time you learned something. Learning is essential for living, especially in our rapidly changing and unpredictable world. That’s why in this HUGS update I’d like to applaud teachers. Teacher like Albert, working at Good Shepherd School who completed a HUGS sponsored Diploma in Special Needs Education.
HUGS has always prioritised the welfare of teachers. We provide funds to create safe accommodation, support higher professional development courses and do everything possible to provide staff with well resources learning environments. Above all we show respect.
This week HUGS transferred funds for a new Computer Lab at the Asili Girls Secondary School. Teaching staff will soon be able to use state of the art equipment, to make a huge difference to the employability of the young women they teach. This investment follows the funds you raised for the Asili science lab. We are improving working conditions and promoting job satisfaction.
Also this week we have provided money for the Good Shepherd School to purchase 3 acres of land, so that teachers and pupils can grow their own nutritious food. This picture shows Sebastian one of our school directors planting a field of beans.
None of this would be possible without the generosity and long standing support from you, our donors. We are always looking for new support, so if you know anyone who wants to be involved please contact us. You never know, they may learn something new.
Richard Bircher. HUGS Chair
The power of Generosity
There are some children who are exposed to such risks and vulnerability that it is difficult to know how best to help them. The Kampala slum area of Kosovo is a place where children face enormous challenges. Their frequent experience of illness, food shortage and violence frustrates efforts to achieve a reasonable standard of living as they are repeatedly throw them back into destitution. There is no capacity to absorb these knocks, as many families are refugees from neighbouring countries, headed by single parents and have little resources. Many children succumb to crime or become disabled, Many girls are forced into marriages at a young age and enter a life of servitude.
HUGS has been working with an NGO in the Kosovo slum called CEFOVID (Community Empowerment for Village Development). They have a dream, which we are overjoyed to be able to help turn into a reality. Together we will be building a new school. It will be in the country, north of Kampala and provide a space where 300 primary aged children, from the slum, will be able to run, play and grown without threat of violence. It will provide nutritious food and quality education. It will remove children from risk and harm, and give them improved chances to develop self-worth and capitalise on future opportunity.
The school will have:
We also give our thanks to Cameron Taylor who completed a mammoth cycle ride, around Ireland to raise all the necessary funds to develop the sports pitches at St Francis de Sales Special Needs School. Physical activity for children who are ‘differently abled’ is an essential ingredient to help then gain confidence, health and learn to work and be accepted by others. St Francis de Sales in a beautify school, and is flourishing thanks to the you, the HUGS supporters, and the power of your generosity.
Where you live and your child's Education
The past few weeks has been momentous. Our children have returned to school after the long Ugandan COVID lockdown; and they have returned in droves, exceeding all our expectations and dispelling many of our worries.
Thank you to everyone who has supported HUGS over the last year and has helped provide necessary aid and home education to so many of our pupils. You have extended a life-line to so many vulnerable children.
Our schools now face renewed challenges. All report financial difficulties, as bank accounts have been run down to empty to maintain school buildings or keeping staff on small stipends to retain their skills ready for when the classrooms will be full again. The Asili Girls Secondary School has more girls enrolled than ever before, and have asked us to help provide desks, beds and places for the girls to sleep. The dormitory at Little Shephard school, which HUGS funded last year, is now full to capacity as 100 more than usual students have enrolled. The HUGS schools provide a quality education which is often better than other local schools it comes as no surprise that parents have chosen to bring their children to our gates.
Amongst these children are those with special needs and disabilities. It gives us great joy to announce our second Special Needs School, St Francis de Sales, officially opened this week. This school has been funded entirely by HUGS donations and cares for primary aged children with sensory and physically challenged lives. This short video sums up our emotions. Faced with such enormous hurdles in life, one of our new pupils is overjoyed to be at school for the first time. What a difference an education is going to make to his life.
We would like to pass this thanks to Bob Blundell who stepped down as a Trustee of HUGS this month. His dedication to the charity has been unwavering and he has made an enormous difference to many children’s lives. His wise words and encouragement has helped us achieve so much. Thank you, Bob.
If you would like to make a donation to help buy desks, beds, shoes, sports equipment or books please visit our Website. www.helpingugandaschools.org
The beginning of December marks the run up to Christmas. A time when we give thanks for what we have and offer gifts to others. We have so much to be thankful for, despite the bitterly hard year of 2021.
The donors to HUGS have been generous and caring. They have helped continue to transform the lives of people who are less fortunate, in Uganda. This year we have completed a new school for children with hearing loss, continues to sponsor our university students, provide clean water to families in the Kosovo Slum and organise a home tuition service to the children who attend the HUGS sponsored schools. Each one of these is a gift, made by people in one part of the world, to people in another, who are largely unknown to our supporters. This makes me reflect that the greatest gift our donors bestow on HUGS is Trust. You trust us to make wise decisions, to ensure we make your donations count and that we take care to support projects which help people from the neediest communities. For this gift of trust, we thank you.
This month we gave the go ahead to start constructing the staff accommodation at St Francis de Sales School. This is an important step to ensuring sustainability. Teachers become part of a school community, and if they live on school grounds, stay in post for longer, enjoy a better quality of life and interact with children who board in wonderfully positive and unexpected ways. Building sports teams, stimulating an interest in literature and firing-up enquiring minds. A teacher’s life in Uganda is tough. Wages are low, and hours are long, and teachers not only teach, but also act as social workers, care givers and important role models of the value of education. It is a privilege to have the oppo
rtunity to help a teacher.
If you are looking for a Christmas gift for someone you love, please look at our HUGS Christmas auction at https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/HUGSChristmasauction2021. We have received many donations of gifts which we hope you will find of interest. Last year our Christmas auction paid for school equipment, desks and chairs at St Francis de sales School. This year we are raising money for water connections in the Kosovo slum, to improve children’s health and access to education. The children in the slum are from the poorest families we have helped. Our video tells you more.
Or you can donate directly HERE to this project and sponsor your own water connection, to help vulnerable families
I hope you have a peaceful and loving Christmas.
Thank you for your support.
Chair Helping Uganda Schools
We bring you stories of resourcefulness and success, despite the dark times of restrictions on education in Uganda. Unfortunately, schools in Uganda remain closed and the 1500 children who attend our supported schools are, in the main, left without access to learning. However, following the example of other charities we have offered financial support to provide home schooling. If children can’t come to school, then school must come to them.
We now have a network of school principals and teachers using the shade of trees, backyards and private homes to tutor small groups of children. Using curriculum books bought by HUGS, the children can continue their journey of mastering reading and writing. Much thanks to the tenacity and perseverance of our trusted representatives and the amazing teaching staff.
Of course, all of this work is only possible because of your kind donations. If you want to help, please take a look at our HUGS art auction. Earlier this year, artists were asked to submit works to the title ‘What does sound look like to you’. Dr Emma Stapleton, a HUGS Trustee and ENT specialist in Manchester, has arranged for copies of the winning entrants (shown here) to be permanently displayed in the ‘Peter Mount’ Building of the Manchester Royal Infirmary. We had many entrants including three artists who are deaf (one is also an inspirational musician). The pictures are beautiful. Proceeds from the auction will fund specialist equipment for St Francis de Sales School, specifically to help children with hearing loss. Bids can be placed over a week from Sunday 31st of October 9 (tomorrow) to Sunday 7th November at 5pm. Please take a look and take part or donate via our website.
Writing for pleasure
Finally, one small story to warm your heart. The children with disabilities in Jinja and some from the Kosovo slum have started writing, as ‘pen-pals’ to the children at the Caistor Church Primary School, Lincolnshire. It is hoped it will foster improved writing skills and, who knows, life-long friendships.
There are so many ways to help. If you want to be more involved in our work, please make contact.
HOME EDUCATION? A possibility
Last month the President of Uganda announced schools would remain closed at least until January; leaving millions with no reasonable way to receiving an education. HUGS sponsored schools care for over 1000 children, many who live in remote rural locations or are from families where resources are scarce and no one, who can read or write, is on hand to offer advice. HUGS has continued to respond, to do something to mitigate against this ongoing loss of human potential.
Since the beginning of August, Ugandan schools have remained closed, to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of children are not receiving an education, including those enrolled in the 6 Schools, HUGS supports. Our new school for deaf and disabled children, St Frances de Sales School, was not able to open as intended.
However, universities remain open, as classes are mostly on-line and our sponsored higher education students are progressing well. We are pleased to tell you, that the pupils who managed to sit their end of Primary or O level exams before schools closed have done exceptionally well, despite all the interruptions. They’re amazing children.
This time, lockdown has not included a ban on transportation and access to jobs, so the economic impact on poor families is not as great. However, there is substantial hardship. Carmel Dowling, one of the HUGS Trustees, is currently in Lira, on a 10 week placement to help teach at the Asili Girls School. She tells us how many schools are facing difficulties retaining teachers (there is no furlough scheme) and how there is no income to cover running costs. However, many schools are using what little funds they have to supply reading and writing equipment for children to continue learning at home. Ronald in the KosOvo slum, is expanding the ‘Joy of Learning project’ where small groups of children (mostly illiterate) come together to listen to stories together, which is catalyses an interest in learning to read.
There is very little access to laptops or tablets, and where they are available, access to the internet is prohibitively expensive. However, many people do have mobile phones, and we have heard accounts of teachers recording lessons and sending sound files to children who live in remote areas.
HUGS has responded by continuing to invest in infrastructure to improve education when the schools re-open. The water catchment at Little Shepherd School is completed, The Bullocks at Good Shepherd School are fattening well and St Frances de Sales School is now stocked with equipment waiting for their first pupils to arrive. The coffee harvest at Little Shepherd school turned a good profit this year. Also, we are building a network of interested people to help fund clean water connections to families living in the Kosovo slum in Kampala. Twenty new water pipes, (giving clean water to 300 children and 200 adults) are soon to be laid. The overall project will be 200 new water connections. Whether schools are open or not, a child cannot learn if they are unwell from drinking contaminated water.
Thank you for everyone’s support. If any supporters would like to play a more active role in any of our projects, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
Sharing out the HUGS
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)
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:
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