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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year

Happy new year to all our readers.

HUGS has two big projects for 2016.

The first is to replace this building below with a really nice home of up to 20 orphans living at Good Shepherd in Fort Portal. We have already sent £20,000 so the work starts this week. We hope to raise the other £10,000 needed over the next few months

The second is to build a three class room primary school at Kabale in the south west of Uganda.

This school has already been started by the local people and they are raising money to help in the next stage which we hope to fund and complete by the end of the year. It will cost about £20,000

And a good news story from Jinja. HUGS is sponsoring a blind teenager to go to a special school where he can learn braille. We got this message from his sponsor yesterday.

Hello Peter,

I bring you warm greetings from OPDC and your sponsored child Amiru Musa!

Musa is right now in school busy being supported by his teachers to
learn how to use the blind machines like the cubeframe and cubes.

On Monday this week i visited him and found him a lesson  with his
other blind friends and these moments were captured as show in the
photo here attached.


Saturday, 19 December 2015

A short movie for the holiday

Rachel and Adam, two of my Grandchildren, are very passionate about making MOVIES and have written a three part production which is screened on You Tube. Each episode is about 15 minutes long.

It is a thoughtful story about the end of the world arriving soon for a group of people. I dont know how it ends because Part 1 is available and the rest will arrive soon.

If you like it then please make a small donation to help us build a new primary school in a very remote part of Uganda.

You can donate by Clicking here  http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/

and enter Helping Uganda Schools in the Virgin Money system

But please just enjoy. And tell us what you think!

Click the blue text below


Thursday, 3 December 2015

A nice story for little children

Trustee Denise Ead produced a lovely Christmas Story book for children.

it is called Christmas and Uganda and we have decided to let you download it so that you can read it and show it to your children (or grandchildren)

And it would be great if you could make a donation through Virgin Money Giving and look for the charity Helping Uganda Schools

Friday, 27 November 2015

Which Direction?

In the UK we have long experienced the pressure to steer young people towards academic careers and to take degree courses which so often leave them unemployable and very disillusioned.
In St Zoes we have been very encouraged by a recent survey which looked at the choices being made by students when they had finished secondary education.

It was possible to find 33 of the most recent alumni and the choices they made are very encouraging.

Four are doing diploma in Tropical agriculture animal husbandry including Patrick who really only started primary school at the age of 17. Patrick wants to be a vet and is already providing great help to local farmers at the weekends

Nine are studying electrical engineering, building, and related subjects including Robert who is studying building at University near Kampala.

Seven are studying carpentry, welding and car mechanics, 

Five are studying tailoring, catering and hospitality.

8 are studying Nursing and related subjects including some from Fort Portal like Molly who we met at Good shepherd.

Three are studying business and accounting and Josephine now works for a large bank.

In a world where young people have to create their own jobs and not rely upon someone to create one for them we believe that a focus on vocational skills is important.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Highlights of Uganda Visit October 2015

Over the years I have seen big improvements at the airport at Entebbe. This time a nice air bridge from the plane to the terminal but a surprise to find that they had just increased the visa charge from $50 to $100. Embarrassing when you came with just $50!

We crossed the Nile at Karuma Falls National Park, diligently guarded by two young soldiers. We promised not to steal it.

Our first stop was 240 miles north to Lira to attend the opening of the new Asili Girls Secondary School. This was a huge event and all of Lira attended.

The agenda for the afternoon ran to 25 items including about 10 speeches. Uganda gets a gold medal for speeches. The entertainment was wonderful but shortened by a huge tropical storm at about 6.30 as it was getting dark.

Then to visit the Lira Babies Home which our supporters have been assisting for many years. It really is a wonderful place with fine play areas, a good garden, a cow for milk and 38 orphans. They are all placed or adopted by about 5 years old

We also met a start up women's group which Trustee Denise Ead has been helping to form. 

The drive back towards Kampala reminded us why there are so many accidents on the Ugandan roads. This road was excellent and we were driving comfortably at over 60 mph for a change.

The weekend was spent at St Zoe's schools and it was great to see a proper water supply at long last. Also a nice security fence around the school, meeting halls for the children, a new kitchen block, and all the children using mosquito nets at night. The number of children has fallen and this was a cause for concern.  We bought sport equipment for the boys and girls whose passion for football and netball is considerable.

Later we moved on to the Kiko Tea Estate which was to be home for about four nights. It really is a beautiful spot overlooking the plantations and looking to the west and the Rwenzori Mountains.

Good Shepherd Special school welcomed us on Tuesday 20th and it was great to see really excellent staff accommodation which is now complete.

A busy week but very worthwhile. Donors can rest assured that all the money you give and have been giving for so long is really been spent properly and delivering good education.

So many thank you messages were sent from all our Ugandan friends who really appreciate what you are all doing to help.

More about vocations and what  happens to the children after they leave on my next posting

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Going there...

Peter is visiting Uganda from October 13th to 23rd and will be spending time with;

The new Asili Girls School, The Lira babies Home and a new Lira Women's Group which Denise has raised funding to get started.

I have a decently large travel baggage allowance and would like to take clothing for the Lira Babies Home. If you live nearby and can help with nice things please let me know.

Then to St Zoes to see the schools and in particular to see progress on the Vocational School.

Then to Fort Portal where we would like to replace a very poor building which is home to 14 orphans who are living at Good Shepherd School.

Then visit Kabale and other areas in connection with a Womens Health Initiative which one of my Medic friends is leading.

Lots of news when I get back home.

Friday, 11 September 2015

How are we spending your money

Charities quite rightly get challenged by donors and by the public.

How much of my money is going in administration and charity salaries?

Why do you keep on asking me for more?

And what is being achieved?

So a reminder.

We spend no donor money on salaries or administration.

We don't phone or hassle you for more.

And a short reflection on what you help to make happen goes like this;

  • The sixth school is being completed on our 4th campus at Lira.
  • Over 800 children attend our schools in Uganda and Rwanda
  • Vocational skills being taught at 2 of the schools.
  • The school results are in the top 5% for school results in Uganda and Rwanda.
  • Well over 1000 children have been through since 2001.
And we are sponsoring 30 at primary, secondary and further education levels. The further education split is:

  • One doctor qualified last year and two more are in training
  • Three nurses are being sponsored.
  • Five teachers are being sponsored.
  • Three Engineers are being sponsored.
  • Two Agricultural specialists are being trained.
  • One Accountant is being sponsored 

Peter will be visiting in October to get a first hand update and see the new Lira School for the first time.

Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Doctor Grace writes

Sr Grace Nanyonndo, one of the University students sponsored by HUGS, completed her Medical Degree course last year and is now coming to the end of her first year as an intern. This gives her a medical licence and the authority to practice.

In Uganda about 800 doctors qualify each year and the total number of doctors in the country is about 2000. That is one for every 16,000 of the population. The UK has one of the lowest ratios in Europe with one doctor to every 360 people.  Greece for example has one for every 161 people.

"Nurse, nurse" I hear them calling and don't know who they mean. And then I remember that they mean me. Everyone who is a woman must be a nurse. But now I am a doctor. Now I find myself writing prescriptions nervously. Can it be me who is doing this?

I grew up in the home of my grandparents since both my parents died before I was 3 years old. Never did I think that one day with all the help they and others have given me, would I become a clinical officer and then in 2014, become a doctor.

Surgery was my first discipline and I would spend every half a day in minor theatre doing minor procedures like incision and drainage, excision lipomas, repair of umbilical hernias and surgical toilet and suture. My head of department was already seeing a surgeon in me. What hurt me most were the children with burns due to negligence of their parents.

Gynaecology and obstetrics was my best, because I performed more than 20 operations and I succeeded in all of them. I enjoyed answering missed calls with reasons like I have been on table. My main aim is to deliver a healthy baby. 

My third last was Paediatrics. There I saw masses of children including neonates in Nursery. Children are interesting creatures who you have to think for, mainly the very small one who cannot express themselves. They impressed me most because they respond very first once you do the right thing for them. Their main problem was pneumonia and acute waterly diarrhea. Neonatal septicemia in the neonates. Malaria has greatly declined to number 4 cause of death in Uganda to pneumonia, Diarrheal diseases.

Currently in my last Discipline, That’s Medicine that caters for all the patients above 12 years. The most active clinics in the medical department are the HIV clinic that runs every day Monday to Friday.  Secondly is the Hypertension and Diabetic clinic that operates on Monday and Friday of every week. It feels good to help.

HUGS is developing its programme of educational sponsorship with more students being supported. We will tell you more about them on the next blog.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Matt's answer to the big question

My Grandson, Matt Taylor, who is 13, did some work to try to answer a really important question. Here is his answer.

Why are some countries RICH and others POOR?

There are 195-200 countries in the world, 25 count as very rich with an average per capita wealth of $100k a year, these include Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, UK the USA etc. ect. Though many other nations such as the DR of The Congo, Chad, Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan and Afghanistan, the average per capita wealth here is less than $1000 a year, or as little as $3 a day. Why is this? I have tried my best to narrow it down to 3 reasons:

1.             INSTITUTIONS
Institutions are possibly the most important thing a country needs, take a look at the Korean Peninsula, on the Northern half is the one man, clan based, totalitarian dictatorship of North Korea (Or the hilariously ironic official name of The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea), and on the Southern half is the wealthy, developed, capitalist republic of South Korea (or the non-ironic Republic of Korea). In short, the reason the North is poor and the South is rich is because the South has good institutions and the North has very, VERY bad ones. The North picks its leader from a single family who then serves for life and cannot get the intelligence or skill from the whole population in office, or “clan based thinking”. The South has its leaders democratically elected by the people, and in turn has some of the highest education and living standards in the whole world.

The worse an institution is, the more corrupt it is, so it should be no surprise that wealthy nations such as Sweden, Iceland, New Zealand and Canada are some of the least corrupt, but places like Somalia, Afghanistan, the DR of The Congo and the aforementioned North Korea are amongst the poorest and most corrupt. The vast majority of the wealth from these countries goes into offshore accounts or away from the country and into its greedy elite. Without the required taxes and wealth the nation cannot invest in vitals such as police, healthcare, transport and education.

2.             CULTURE
Another way a country can be affected is by a person’s outlooks and beliefs, their culture. A surprising statistic pops in regards to religion, in short, the less religion the more wealth. An overwhelming 70% of people in 19 of the world’s richest nations say that religion is not at all or hardly important to them. The noticeable exception to this is the USA, which manages to combine strong religion with vast wealth, a reason for this is because of their perspective of the gods and the unknown, the American God doesn’t want you to build God’s New Kingdom in the next life, he wants in it Washington or Los Angeles, right here on earth.
This isn’t the case in many poor countries as their outlooks make them think that there’s nothing they can do in this world and should focus on the spiritual side of things and look forward to next life, it makes sense when you live in endless poverty, in the world’s poorest countries, (The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Niger), simply EVERYONE is a fundamental believer, this is no coincidence.

3.             GEOGRAPHY.
The poorest countries in the world are overwhelmingly located in tropical and hot areas, the issue begins with agriculture, tropical plants mostly lack minerals and carbohydrates and have less fertile soil too. In history the more Large Domesticated Animals (Such as horses, cows, and oxen,) the better it did, these animals could pull ploughs and liberating most the workforce from doing it all by hand, but unfortunately, many insects containing some of the worst diseases known to man are exclusive to tropical Africa, these creatures can kill of livestock by the thousands crippling agriculture and dooming the society. And sadly, it’s not just the animals that suffer, humans are devastated by an assortment of deadly diseases such as Ebola, Cholera, Malaria, Rotavirus and many, MANY more, 100% of low income countries are affected by at least 5 tropical diseases. Another geographic issue is related to transport, as many poor nations are very badly connected, landlocked Bolivia and semi landlocked Paraguay and the poorest countries in South America, and it should be no surprise that Afghanistan, the poorest country in Asia is also landlocked. Africa’s only navigable river hosts 13 landlocked nations, all which that have an average Per Capita wealth of $600 a year or less. Back to institutions, a lot of poor countries have tons and tons of oil and other natural resources, but because of their corrupt institutions, they can get even worse. For example, the world’s poorest country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has an abundance of natural resources. If to amass wealth you needed High Tech Fusion Engines, then you’ll need the help of the whole society. But if you just need to extract a few minerals, all you need are some mercenaries and an airfield long enough to send out those resources to the black market. The wealth and worth from these resources helps DRC armed rebels to stay strong, and corrupts every level of their society.

So what makes a country rich or poor? Well I’d say the it would be 50% institutions, 20% culture, and 10% each to Latitude, Connectivity and Geological Good-fortune. If you’re a policy maker, you should take this discussion into account and watch it closely, but on a more personal level you should take away two things, 1 being Modesty, you should know who you owe your individual success to, the founders of your society who built it over hundreds of years, and how many draw benefit from that unknowingly. The second thing being Sympathy, you should know a lot of the reasons these countries fail is because of lack of shorelines or navigable rivers or diseases like malaria, we should help these people instead of taking our society for granted.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Michelle said so too..

This week the girls in a school in London had a great surprise. They were visited by Michelle Obama, wife of United States President Barack Obama, and what a great day it was.

She said something which our friends in Uganda have been saying.  Something which your support has been helping to make happen.

She reminded us that educating girls is of the utmost importance. She said that 62 million girls around the world are being denied education. How can mothers educate and develop their children if they have not had an education themselves?

This is what the English newspapers reported.

The First Lady compared her upbringing with theirs. As a black teenager on the south side of Chicago she remembered people telling her not to set her sights too high. She broke down the barriers to success. 
She urged the schoolgirls in east London to do the same and to fulfil their dreams. 
The "ambitious, confident and principled" students at the Mulberry School were inspired. 
The question is whether Mrs Obama's message will be heard in those parts of the world where girls don't go to school at all. 


In her address, Mrs Obama spoke of her own upbringing, saying in her youth there were few black women in positions of power.
But she said her parents realised education was the "ultimate key" to success and she could be successful if she worked hard at school. 
She said: "Through it all my parents fully expected us to do both: to achieve our dreams and be there for our family.
"And they also knew that a good education was the ultimate key to our success. 
"My parents told me every day I could do anything. I could grow up to be a doctor, a lawyer a scientist, whatever, but only if I worked as hard as I could to succeed in school."

A very successful Annual Golf Event raised over £7000 and has given us the funds to complete the dormitory for the Asili Girls School at Lira. Later this year we hope to be able to complete the second class room so that when term starts next February there will be two class rooms and about 60 girls attending.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods...

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods won't be able to join us for the HUGS Golf Event on June 3rd this week. Sorry. But we do have 72 other Masters hopefuls who will be joining us for our big annual fundraiser organised by Trustee Charlotte Brinsley.

All the proceeds will go to fund the next stage of the Asili Girls Secondary School in Lira, Northern Uganda which we started in June last year and now has 27 girls now attending in the one classroom we have completed. Girls so often are denied secondary education in much of Africa and they hold the key to the next generation.

HUGS ensures that all proceeds go to the schools and not for administration or travel.

Many of you have helped. But there is still time to either make a donation through our Virgin Money Giving site (it takes all currencies) and is at;

Or maybe make an ONLINE SILENT BID for on of the 3 amazing prizes.

An overnight stay at Lindeth Howe Luxury Hotel near Windermere with dinner bed and breakfast for two

Free loan of a top of the range LEXUS car for a weekend with fuel and insurance.

Free loan of an AUDI car for a weekend with fuel and insurance

To bid send your best offer for one or more of these prizes to hugstrustees@btinternet.com before 1800 on June 3rd.

It will be entered together with bids made at the dinner which follows the match.


Monday, 11 May 2015

Some stories from the girls at Lira

We asked the head teacher for some stories written by girls at the new Asili Secondary School which our supporters are helping to build. Here are two.

Monica’s Story

My name is Ageno Monica, a senior one student at Bishop Asili Girls Senior Secondary and Vocational school.

I was born on the 29th July 2000 at Lumumba. I am now 14 years
My parents are alive. My father is called Ogwal Jimmy and my mother is called Acan Kosta. I live with my parents except when I go to school.

I started studying in 2005 and I studied nursery for three years after which I graduated in 2007. I started my primary education in 2008 and completed primary seven in 2014. My parents whose income is from farming, both crop and animal husbandry do care for me and indeed pay school fees for my other sisters, brother and I. My brother finished his studies at Gulu University IN 2014.

I am very happy of my being in Asili Girls and I am enjoying staying in Asili Girls because it is a nice school that teaches students to mind about studies and good behaviour.

I am very proud of being a pioneer of Asili Girls Senior Secondary and Vocational School. The school is very nice from the classroom, the office also including the dormitory and the shelter and toilets. They cook for us delicious meals.

The teachers teach very well and we can understand very well. The Girls of Asili are very bright.

I like reading books, helping my parents with domestic work and garden work during holidays.

I want to study hard and finish my studies and help my parents who are struggling to pay my school fees.

Mirriam’s story

My name is Amolo Mirriam. I am in senior one. I am thirteen years old.

I was born on the 22nd June 2002 in Lira Referral Hospital in Lira town. I grew up and when I was in Truth Nursery and Primary School, my father beat my mother and she went away to their home and stayed for three years and she came back when I was in primary one. For those three years, I used to stay with my stepmother who never wanted to see me in her eyes.

My mother came back home and stayed for one year and again she was beaten for nothing because my father used to drink alcohol and came back at around mid-night.  My mother did not come back since I was in primary one 

And here are the teachers.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Progress at St Zoes

Blog readers will remember that we made some big changes at St Zoes Uganda Schools at the start of 2014 in order to ensure that the schools had long term sustainable local management. With that in mind we helped to change the legal ownership of the schools to an Order of Catholic Sisters, with about 350 members, a 70 plus year track record and very great experience in education and social care in addition to their religious duties.

They took on quite a challenge and not only was the school new to them but you can imagine the sort of personal difficulties they faced with suddenly arriving and gaining acceptance from local people and staff. Management changes are never easy.

The year was difficult but now, after 15 months we can give some very encouraging news of progress.

They have a team of 4 Sisters living on site and have converted some simple staff house (funded by our German friends) and created a living compound for the team.

They have fenced the whole site in accordance with a new Government led child safety initiative. They have also repainted many buildings, restored failing water catchments systems and renewed guttering and water tanks, subdivided the large vocational building and and nearly finished the building of both a proper kitchen block and a woodwork teaching block.

This is a pretty impressive start. There is still much to do as usual. Water supply to the site was intended to come from a newly created local mains water system but this is delayed. Proper living accommodation of the staff is also on the agenda.

Vocational teaching has now started with Woodworking, Building, Garment making, Hairdressing and of course Tropical Agriculture. We hope to visit in October to see all these things running.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

First day at our 6th school!

This week marks another landmark in your support to our charity. You may remember that we were really impressed by the plan submitted by our partners in Lira, Northern Uganda.

The plan was to build a secondary school for girls which focused on both academic and vocational skills. We were really impressed by their plan which addresses a real weakness in much of the developing world. Girls education is so important but a very large number drop out when puberty arrives with all the complications that brings.

But girls education can have such a vital role in teaching the next generation.

We started with the idea of one classroom each year for 5 years, a sanitary block in year one and a dormitory for boarders later on. But the educational authorities are very controlling and a dormitory had to be done much sooner. We have been able to afford to start it but need another £18,000 to finish it.

But these pictures taken on day one give a good feel of what has been achieved in just 7 months.

You can see where classroom number two will join onto the right hand side of the first building.

This is day one so there are no uniforms yet. I know they look like boys but shaved heads are very fashionable with Uganda children. You will see the metal trunks which children use when they are boarding. To start with they will be using part of the nearby primary school for boarding accommodation.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Quantity or Quality?

The aim of Helping Uganda School is to provide the means of giving high quality education to children and young people in both Uganda and Rwanda. Working with great partners is the key to achieving this. Money is not enough.

Is this happening?  We tell you a lot about buildings and projects so lets look at the results achieved by the schools we are supporting. The really big event in school calendars is the annual Primary 7 (end of primary) exam and it is similar in Uganda and Rwanda.

Children  are graded on their results in 4 subjects in Uganda and 5 in Rwanda.

They are English, Mathematics, Science, and Social and Religious studies. In Rwanda there is also the local language which is accredited.

about 3000 schools enter in Rwanda and 11500 in Uganda. About half the Uganda schools get no children with a Grade 1 score. (The Grades are i to 4 with 4 being a failure)

St Zoes got 11 Grade one and 22 Grade two out of 37  (29% Grade 1)

Good Shepherd got 5 Grade one out of 9 entries which is over 50% and quite amazing for a special needs school One child scored almost maximum points!

The Lira Asili Primary school got 37 Grade one out of 65 giving 57% grade one but the second school run by our partners which is in Kabale achieved 33 Grade one out of 34 which is 97%

In Rwanda our St Theresa School got 6 Grade one out of 32 which is 18%.

These schools are doing very well and in two cases the results are fantastic.  Which ever way you look at the numbers the children will be in the top 10% of all Uganda or Rwanda achievers and this is exactly what HUGS and our supporters are looking for.

Well done everyone.

Things are beginning to really happen at St Zoes with the new term starting very soon. A great harvest last year provides food for the terms ahead. A new school security fence is being erected and major repairs to the large water storage tank are being completed.

More news about this later.