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Sunday, 29 December 2019

Some highlights of 2019

First a big thank you to all our donors. Without you all nothing could happen. With your help many lives have been changed and hope given to so many.

We have just received the Annual Report from the Jinja Organisation of Parents with Deaf Children.

If anyone would like to have a copy please ask and we will send it to you.

It is a very encouraging read and covers so many of the things being tackled by Sebastian and his helpers.

Education Support with 22 children with disabilities (CWD'S) now getting an education and one graduating with a degree of BA in Education. He wants to teach special needs children.

Sight recovery project with 145 treated since the start in 2017.

Awareness creation in the villages. JOPDC research found that so many families stigmatise and discriminate against CWD'S and refer to them with derogatory names. Many are seen a a divine punishment and are denied education and often locked away and not thought about. JOPDC has done a lot with radio and village meetings to try to change these perceptions.

As a result many parents are seeking advice on schooling for the children.

A malaria prevention programme bringing mosquito nets to nearly 500 children,

A programme to help Girls Remain in School with reusable sanitary products being made and given to teenage girls.

Children who have perhaps been denied any schooling are being given vocational training in things like tailoring, shoe making, carpentry and knitting so that they have some chance of creating a livelihood.

In January we aim to start building St Francis de Sales School for Deaf Children.

We visited St Zoe's Primary and Secondary Schools and given a warm welcome. The schools are doing well with about 400 pupils.

We visited Good Shepherd Special Needs School for the tenth anniversary of its opening. The school and St Gabriel's Children home were very impressive and the entertainment and speeches were excellent.

The on to Asili Girls Secondary School where we met a very inspirational group of teachers and leaders. The school has only been in existence for about 5 years and the progress is good.

Time and distance prevented us from visiting Little Shepherd School at Rtunguru or St Therese's School in Rukira, Rwanda. Maybe next time!

But lets not forget the great Christmas Song which Denise inspired and which two choirs in Uganda and one in Marple all coordinated to sing and which Richard carefully put together. It has raised a lot of money and this is helping to improve the living conditions for one of our sponsored children and his mother.

And the Mubende Choir led by Natiigo Daniel has inspired him to write more music.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

2019 Visit to Uganda and The Music of Love

The launch of the Christmas Song "The Music of Love" has now raised £838 for the charity and was played on air to over 6 million listeners of Radio Wa who broadcast from Lira Uganda. A great achievement. (£697 came from the launch event in Marple)

Trustees Peter, Richard Joanna and Helen have just returned from visiting most of our schools in Uganda and meeting 29 of our scholarship students.

We started in Jinja with Sebastian and Fred and visited the Madhvani Kakira Sugar factory. We hope to get their help with our new school for deaf children.

Victoria Fred and Sebastian

The factory was most impressive employing 15,000 people, running a hospital and several schools for employee's children and also generating enough energy as a byproduct of the sugar process to power the whole of Kampala. This company really is tacking global warming in a very positive manner.

Then on to meet the architect and builders who will construct St Francis de Sales starting in January 2020.

 Then to meet the parents of children who are deaf or have other disabilities.

And a visit to the site for the new school which is very attractive with great views of the nearby hills.

A long journey with our great driver, Fred, and a lovey welcome at St Zoes Primary and Secondary Schools. After a dip in performance things are really improving and the team are adding new facilities and gave built a new dormitory.

Next stop was Fort Portal for the 10th Anniversary of the opening of Good Shepherd. Great music and dancing and lots of speeches. An inspirational day!  We met the team and discussed a big sustainability project which impressed us all. We gave the go ahead message to buy 5 acres of land. More about this on a later blog.

Dancing at Good Shepherd

Then a long drive and a couple of R and R days in the Murchison Safari Park. Really worth a visit.

And then to Lira but partly along what will be a great new road being built by Chinese contractors. The school team are great and have plans to increase the intake in February next year when the school year begins..

A live goat on a motor cycle

Lira town 
Some of the Lira Womens group
Teachers at the Asili Girls School

The visit was a great boost for everyone. Meeting students who are now employed Civil Engineers but were in Primary 1 when we first met them, students who have real aspirations to become nurses, doctors, teachers, and lawyers was another testament to the importance of education.

(This visit was not paid for out of your donations.)

Friday, 15 November 2019

HUGS Christmas Song

A Beautiful Christmas Single bringing the Women of the World together in Song.
Listen and enjoy. Make someone’s Christmas better by making a small donation as you listen to the song.  ‘The Language of Love’.

You can view it using the links on the poster below and there are web site addresses which let you buy a copy or view the song.

Link to special donation page is

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Bridging the Gap. A sustainability challenge.

It's a long time since we mentioned our Good Shepherd School for children with special needs. So let's tell the latest news.

Thanks to a very generous donor we have been promised a substantial donation towards the cost of setting up an agricultural project which will both raise money for the school and also help to provide a good diet for children and staff. Success will help to make Good Shepherd more sustainable in the long term.

Although the other schools which we have helped to build are all self sustaining it has not been possible at Good Shepherd because of the small class sizes and high ratio of teachers to children.

We have similar projects at Rukira, St Zoe's, Little Shepherd and Lira Girls School and they all make a great contribution to giving the children a decent meal when the crops are good. The picture shows the agricultural project at Lira which the girls are working on.

But in order to receive the large donation we need to BRIDGE THE GAP  and that means that we need to find £12,000 from other benefactors or charities.

So that is the challenge!  many of you have been great supporters for a long time and maybe you could introduce some of your friends who might help us?

We are setting up a special VIRGIN MONEY GIVING SITE for this project.

Friday, 18 October 2019

It's still killing little children!

A Special thank you to UK Member of Parliament Mr Jeremy Lefroy for donating £1800 to buy Mosquito Nets for children and families in Uganda.

This sort of generosity makes a huge difference and saves lives.

I have published the full text of the report prepared by our partner Sebastian which tells us just how he spent the money.

3rd October 2019

£1.800 was given by the UK Parliamentary Select Committee to purchase 400 Mosquito nets for children in
Jinja, Uganda. However, this amount of money actually bought 478 treated Mosquito nets. The nets were
bought in Kampala. (All money given was spent on the nets). The nets were shared-
378 Mosquito nets went to Jinja via JOPDC - Sebastian Waiswa.
50 Mosquito nets went to Lira, Uganda via Sr. Evangelista/Asili Girls School - (The school built by Helping
Uganda Schools/HUGS).
50 Mosquito Nets went to children in Kampala via Ronald Kamoga - (Community Empowerment For
Village Development).
(This report will concentrate on the 378 nets given out in Jinja).
Uganda has recorded an increase in Malaria cases to 1.4 million Ugandans suffering from it since June
Malaria is Uganda’s leading cause of death among inpatients aged below five years. The prevalence is
attributed to the intermittent rains, decline in the use of Insecticide Impregnated Bed Nets, indoor residual
spraying of insecticides, use of Arteminim based combination therapy to treat uncomplicated malaria and
provision of intermittent preventative therapy for expectant mothers.
In an effort to help prevent malaria cases among our children with disabilities, their parents and other most
vulnerable children like the orphans, JOPDC received a grant of £1,800 from All Party Parliamentary Group
on Malaria and other Neglected Tropical Diseases (APPG) committee, UK to procure and distribute Long
Lasting Treated Insecticide Bed Nets, free of charge. This committee is chaired by Hon. MP Jeremy Lefroy.
It should be noted that most of the children with disabilities, especially those with hearing impairment,
acquired their disability due to the side effects of malaria treatment. This is why JOPDC started, because
we as parents who had children with hearing loss, needed to work together to help them. My role is to go
into the villages and find children with disability and find school placements for them.
In this detailed report we wish to share with all our stakeholders especially the UK parliament through the
APPG Committee on how the exercise of distributing the bed nets was conducted.
We wish you all of a lovely time as you read it.

Money was deposited in our bank via HUGS
In an effort to ensure efficiency and value for our grant, we decided to avoid the middlemen in the supply
chain of the mosquito nets.
We chose to directly contact the local manufacturer called Sino Africa Medical Devices Company Limited
(SMD) in Kampala, Uganda. The Company manufactures Yorkool Polyester Long Lasting Insecticidal
Mosquito Nets (LLINs).
With this approach, we were able to buy these nets at factory prices and this allowed us get more nets
than what we had thought to get. We therefore got 478 mosquito nets out of the £1,800 instead of 400 nets.
When we brought the nets to our offices, we planned to transport and distribute these nets at the grass root
levels (village level) so that we are able to reach out to every beneficiary. The beneficiaries were not limited
to children with disabilities, but also their parents and other vulnerable persons in the remote communities
like the orphans, widows, single mothers and the elderly in the five sub counties of Jinja district. We
identified five distribution points, one in each sub county. This was done to avoid incidences of some
people failing to come due to lack of transport fares. We therefore had five distribution points in five sub
counties of Jinja District. These included; Kibundhaire in Butagaya, Kyamaggwa in Mafubira, Namaganga
in Busedde, Namizzi in Budondo and Pulota in Kakira.
Sebastian, the Director of OPDC setting off to the one of the distribution point . This motorcycle was
donated by Helping Uganda Schools (HUGS) UK

The beneficiaries received their nets after filling a detailed distribution and tracking form developed by
JOPDC attached in this report.
To transport the 50 nets to Lira. We organized transport. Nets were loaded onto a truck, driven and met in
Lira by Sr. Evangelista. They will be given to the girls who attend the Asili Girls School built by HUGS. The
50 nets were collected by Ronald to take back to Kampala and will be given to vulnerable children.

From our distribution exercise, in Jinja re 378 nets we were able to note the following facts about
the beneficiaries
We asked all those receiving the nets to make a pledge they would use them every night.
1. 75% last slept under a mosquito net two years ago. 25% had nets but these now needed
2. The source of these nets was from government and NGOs operating in their communities.
3. They also revealed the government was only giving a few nets depending on the number of family
members they had. There were insufficient nets to protect all family members.
4. Some NGOs were asking for reimbursement from the beneficiaries to help in covering the transport
costs of the bed nets. Many families could not afford to pay.
5. 53% of the 75% those who did not have mosquito nets had suffered from Malaria in the last three
months. They sought treatment from government health facilities. However, about 55% never
received any treatment as the drugs were out of stock in these facilities. Some claimed that they
resorted to use herbal medicine to treat themselves while others went to private pharmacy stores
to buy the drugs. What is shocking and worrying is that most of these never bought a full doze
because of being expensive. These have had on and off malaria attacks hence resulting into
resistant malaria.
6. Four families in Butagaya sub-county reported having lost one of their family members due to
malaria attacks. Three of the deceased were children below five years old (in the previous five

The mosquito nets we have distributed will contribute to the reduction of malaria outbreak among the
beneficiary households. We will try to follow up in one year’s time to evaluate the impact.
The total (478) nets enabled some children and adults to have protection from Malaria but there are many
more children and adults who will go to bed without any life saving net over them. This makes them
vulnerable to malaria attacks. (The 50 net to Lira and 50 to Kampala have gone to vulnerable children/
Despite the fact that our government, through the underlying Ministry of Health and support from various
donors have distributed nets over the years, many children especially those with a disability have never
received such nets. This can be attributed to the fact that many times, the nets are insufficient to cover
every member of their family and so the parents/guardians have to prioritize who gets protection. Children
with disabilities are not always given the same value and are always the last to be thought of.

It is more effective and efficient in terms of value for money to avoid the middle men or retailers when
procuring the bed nets. Because when you directly procure from the manufacturer, you get them at low
rates and hence securing more. As JOPDC were happy to carry out this role at no cost because we see the
benefit to our community and as part of our role.
It is also an established fact that if donors directly channel the funds to those organisations that are
operating at the local level, there is a likelihood that funds will be saved as a lot of administrative and
bureaucratic tendencies commonly practiced by large NGOs and government institutions/departments will
be avoided.
It is our considered view that had it not been Ms. Denise Ead and Ms. Primrose Magala who on our behalf
had sleepless nights preparing a presentation on malaria to the APPM Committee, JOPDC will not have got
the grant. We are indeed indebted to you all.
We finally really want to convey our sincere gratitude to APPM Committee for the generosity it extended to
us through this life changing grant. The has significantly caused some joy to the beneficiaries especially
the little children with disabilities.
It is our kind request and prayer that APPM will continue to work with JOPDC in future to see that we
continue with this noble cause of eliminating malaria in Uganda.
Our wish is to save lives.
Written and submitted by,
Sebastian Waiswa,
Executive Director

Additional Information
50 Mosquito nets to Lira to be given to the girls attending the Asili Girls School in Lira.
Contact : Sister Evangelista via Helping Uganda Schools
50 Mosquito nets to Kampala via CEFOVID (Community Empowerment for Village Development Uganda).
email info@cefovid.org (Contact made via Primrose Magala). Their ‘aim is to contribute towards increased access to
comprehensive care and support for Orphans, Vulnerable families, and Children through the very basic self
sustaining solutions’. Ronald Kamoga will be distributing the nets “To families in Kosovo slum that have been
affected by malaria”.
Please see HUGS new website - www.helpingugandaschools.org for details about the charity.

Thursday, 10 October 2019


Getting ready for Christmas, Trustee Denise has been working with musicians and choir members in Marple to record a very nice piece of music. But the special thing about it is that there will be three choirs, separated by 4000 miles whose contribution will hopefully all be arranged to create great harmony.

And the aim is to have added video to go with it.  Here is the Lira choir rehearsing.

We will post it to this blog when it is finished.

And at the other side of Uganda we got a picture of one of our sponsored midwifery students who is on work experience with two of her friends

We sent a picture of what the new Nursery School for deaf children will look like. Here it is with the roof on.

Building to start soon.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The Nursery School for Deaf Children

After a lot of thought and the exchange of ideas we have now settled on the design for the St. Francis de Sales Nursery School for deaf children, near Jinja, Uganda.

It will focus on the early years help needed by these children and prepare them for mainstream schooling when they leave. Most of the children will be boarders because they are expected to come from homes quite some distance away. So there will be dormitories for boys and girls, matrons to look after the children and three classrooms with trained teachers. Sick rooms will be included.

The courtyard design gives increase security and a safe place for playtime. Covered walkways give access to toilets and a large hall for dining and for meetings of parents and members of the Jinja Organisation of Parents of Deaf Children (OPDC) who are our partners in the new project.

Kitchen space and accommodation for teaching staff to live on site will be in additional buildings on the site.

Parents will be doing work on the preparation of the site and possibly in helping with construction. More about this later.

The school will also provide office space for OPDC who currently work from a tiny and overcrowded office rented elsewhere.

HUGS has been extending scholarship help to children with disabilities in addition to work we have been doing for over 10 years with Good Shepherd School in Fort Portal. We have now awarded  22 scholarships through OPDC and most of these children have some form of disability. We have awarded 116 scholarships with 67 current ones.

So now we need to get prices for this work which we think will take about 2 years. Our fundraising is well advanced and we think we have enough to fund about half of the work at present.

Maybe you could help?

Perhaps with a donation to help with the building costs or sponsoring some children or a teacher?

HUGS takes none of your money for any form of overheads, administration or travel. It all goes to the projects.

Donating is easy. There is a link at the top left of this page. 

Monday, 19 August 2019

Our new school

Today we finalised the site plans for the new nursery school for deaf children in Jinja. It will have the objective of getting little children prepared for primary school and help them to manage their disability as well as possible. The evidence is that this sort of early years help can make a huge difference for children.

The members of the Jinja Organisation for Parents of Deaf Children are certainly not rich people. But like parents all over the world they really want to help their children. They will be doing much of the site preparation and other work during construction and we will post some pictures when the building work starts which will probably be in September.

A great donation from Tool Aid will help the parents in this work.

We have written before about the importance of mosquito nets and HUGS has funded the supply of these to our schools. But children still die of malaria.  Trustee Denise has just obtained a very generous donation which purchased nearly 500 nets for the children at Jinja.

But sometimes the well intentioned efforts of donors has a really perverse effect. Like the American celebrity who raised 1 million nets for the Central African republic. Fine while they lasted but all the local businesses making nets were put out of business.

And this story from Democratic Republic of Congo goes one step further .

Many lakeside villages in the mineral-rich province suffer from a high rate of malaria-induced child mortality. Sleeping inside these nets is the best way to avoid mosquito bites and malaria. But this laudable action created a human and ecological catastrophe.
An international medical NGO provided mosquito nets to a poor village in the Upemba region of Katanga.

As the mosquito nets were free and abundant, fisherman used them as fishing nets. Given their extremely fine mesh, not only were fish removed from the lake but all other forms of micro-fauna and micro-flora too. The lake gradually became covered with a black scum. Villagers lost their sources of livelihood and food supply.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Update on Special Needs in Jinja

We should be able to share some of the design ideas for our latest School very soon. 

But let’s update you on the progress with the Eye care project which Trustee Denise started about 3 years ago.

Sebastian, our partner in Jinja has reported;

So far we have screened and treated a total 138 children. These were diagnosed with various eye conditions like cataract  (15 ), allergies conjunctivitis (103) myopia ( 12) glaucoma (1) so far treated with corneal transplant, other four are still pending and squints (03).

Some of these children are started going to school especially for those whose parents/ guardians who can afford the school requirements like uniforms and stationery. The majority are still out of school as their parents cannot afford the education because of their high poverty level in these family households.

There about four children who need corneal transplants still waiting for the surgeries in Kampala. This is because there is no funding to cater for these expensive surgeries.

Many times, there is a challenge of finding a right pathway for those children with very complicated cases here in Uganda. Some of these even may need to be taken out Uganda for specialised treatment like the case of Moureen Divine Favour among others.

Among the barriers that limit our work include;
a) lack of qualified personnel for eye care here in Uganda to diagnose and treat some conditions. Some cases are only handled in private eye hospitals like Dr. Agarwals Hospital in Kampala which charge a great deal..

b) Lack of transport on the side of the organisation to transport those children screened and referred to Kampala for further treatment.

This is so because sometimes we transport over ten children to Kampala. This means that the vehicle is hired for the whole day which is expensive looking at the meagre resources available.

Secondly, because most people have given up with poor health system, many tend to stop seeking treatment in the government hospitals but to only wait for God's intervention/ good Samaritans. For that reason, if a new help comes up like ours, we have to travel wide in the communities to identify and register these children. This means that we need to have adequate transport always to reach these vulnerable children.

c) Wrong myths among the community members on the causes of visual related conditions. Many parents and other community members lack facts on the causes and treatment of these conditions. Many attribute these diseases to witchcraft and hence spend most their time using herbal medicines to treat the children. By the time they come for proper treatment many of these children have already lost their sight completely.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Some highlights of our Coast to Coast

Sponsors may have seen some of these before. The short video made by Trustee Richard Bircher is worth 3 minutes of your time. Five of us took part in the 170 mile cycle ride of the "Way of the Roses" from Morecambe to Bridlington. We are raising money to help build St. Francis de Sales School for Deaf Children, in Jinja, Uganda.

Midland Hotel in Morecambe. Richard Jacobs, Chris Bishop, Peter Mount and Bob Blundell

Richard Bircher

And if you have already donated we would all like to send a most sincere thank you. Its been quite a challenging week but we are so glad that we did it.

Friday, 31 May 2019

A big Pee for Pocklington

Day 4 of our Coast to Coast

They call Yorkshire God’s own Country and this trde really reminded us all of why. It really has everything. 
Today we started off in the picturesque town on Pocklington, after talking a long walk around the centre. Lots of small businesses and the sort of market town that has disappeared in much of Britain.

The ride took us through Yorkshire Wolds (hill’s with woodland and open country) and hardly any traffic.
Lunch at the Crosskeys in Driffield and really looked after by Lee the very kind landlord who made a donation to our fund. Thanks Lee.


Then on to the beautiful Burton Agnes stately home for tea and ice cream.
Richard Bircher joined us for this ride and his company is always great.
And finally down to the North Beach at Bridlington, toes in the sea, a photo shoot of course and then to the bar of the Ransdale for a celebratory drink.
Ricard Jacobs took Richard Bircher back to Pocklington to collect his vehicle and drive up to Durham during the evening.
While it was exhilarating to finish the ride successfully there was more than a little sadness that it is over. A tough challenge on a wonderful route and we would recommend it to everyone.
We reached our target which is even more satisfying.
Thank you to all our sponsors.