September 2016 Uganda Lodge Newsletter

 

Updates From

UGANDA LODGE

& Ruhanga Resource Centre 

    PO Box 368 Ntungamo SW Uganda

                 www.ugandalodge.com

     September 2016


Hello to all our Friends and Supporters,

I arrived back to UK in time for the unusually hot Autumn, after an interesting few weeks out in Uganda.

Our 500+ children are all doing well at school. P7 students sat their mock PLE exams and most passed with grades 1 or 2.

The little ones are learning to understand and speak English which is a great step that will give them an advantage throughout their lives. Having volunteers there who spend time talking to the children is a huge help as most families do not speak English at home and it is quite difficult for the children to practice what they are learning at school.

We now have 10 permanent brick-built classrooms for the Nursery and Primary sections but two year groups have over 80 students in each class  with two teachers. This is not an ideal situation for optimum learning experiences so our Director Denis has had local builders start on foundations to build two more classrooms. To proceed further with the classrooms walls and roof we first need funding to purchase sand, cement, bricks, timbers, nails and  iron sheets. I have uploaded a BT fundraising page up to receive donations – so any help is much appreciated. Do you know anyone who might write up some grant applications for us or do some fund-raising?

We have had to prioritise the use of our limited funding and feel that solving the issue of overcrowded classrooms is more important at this time. So for this reason for the next few months our energies will go on erecting the classrooms before continuing to work on the completion of  the Vocation Training Restaurant.

As many of you already know, I am now in my 75th year and have no idea how much longer I will be able to help support Denis and all his projects in Ruhanga and at Queen Elizabeth NP. Many people, especially the children, are now benefiting from from the infrastructure that is in place in Ruhanga – so a huge thank you to all of you who have supported us in the past. Please work with me to get it all completed.

You may of  read in my last newsletter that 20 Scouts attended the District Camp and won places for the two patrols to attend the National Jamboree in Kampala. Originally I could see no way of them joining in, but at the last moment several donations came to help fund them and thanks go to all, especially  Ben & Sarah. The Scouts and their leaders had a fantastic time and although they didn’t win they came 20th in the whole country  and had an experience that will last a lifetime.

Soon after that – Denis asked for help to take all 38 students in Primary 7  on an overnight educational trip to Kasese. Volunteers Joanne and Sanchita came up trumps so our young students visited the salt lakes, copper mines, a power station, the Equator, a tea plantation and factory and they  saw many animals up close on a game-drive  in the Queen Elizabeth National Park. They had a sleep-over at Denis’s property adjoining Lake George and the Kasenyi Fishing Village before returning back to Ruhanga tired but happy.

Work is slowly moving ahead in two different Fishing Villages situated on two lakes in QE Park. At Kisenyi on Lake Edward Denis is building a store and a large dining shelter so an income can be made  providing lunch and camping facilities to passing visitors.Work at Kasenyi is almost complete on a dining shelter so again an income can be derived from visitors sleeping over on safari. Denis’s objectives here are two-fold: to provide extra jobs for some of these impoverished fishing families; and once a profit is made, to channel additional funds to the School and Medical Centre in Ruhanga to keep fees affordable.

There are some opportunities available for long-term investment or partnership agreements with Denis for further development on these sites as he now has the land titles of many hectares of land with lakeside frontage. Contact me for more details.

I recently realised that Denis employs more than 50 full-time staff as well as many ad-hoc tradesmen at his various  projects. Although it may seem to us westerners that that they get very low salaries, most manage to support several other family members each month. What seems a very small amount for us in the west goes a long way in Uganda.

The tailoring students have been busy as they made skirts and shorts for the Scouts going to Kampala and they also made a further 38 sets of re-usable sanitary pads for the older girls at our school to use each month. Most of the sets that we distributed  almost a year ago are still being used and the girls are most appreciative of them (It also conserves the use of our rolls of toilet paper!)

Our volunteer numbers have been down considerably over the past year, mainly because Original Volunteers (the company who many of our past volunteers came through) seem to be sending most of the enquiries they get to projects they run themselves in Ghana and Morocco. We are now looking for new ways of attracting more direct non-OV bookings.There is a wide variety of different work to be done when you volunteer each week.

 

 

Denis and I have decided that from 1st December we will add a £50 admin fee to all new volunteer booking (waived for returning volunteers}  If any of you recommend ’Uganda Lodge’ as a place to stay & volunteer, plan a Medical Elective, or just come for a ‘Holiday with a Difference’  and you find a new person to stay with us, we will offer you that  £50 as a ‘finders fee’.

It need not be a personal friend. It can include booking someone who has responded to a poster you have put up, or maybe you will give a talk, or run a table at a Gap Year Fair or similar. or help me by doing research and promoting Uganda Lodge on-line. Please contact me for more details of how this will work.

As our school goes from strength to strength and more children enrol to take advantage of the good low cost education offered, we have many children still needing sponsorship (you can see some below and all their names and photos on our website here). A huge thank you to our current sponsors, we couldn’t do it without you.

To help cover our shortfall each month, continue giving free porridge and still allow many ‘special cases’ who don’t pay any fees at all each term, if you are able to increase your standing order to just  £5 per month or £60 per year for each child this will help massively and mean we will be able to accept all the new children who come to us.

Before long you are likely to be thinking about Christmas. The Gift of a years’ sponsorship can be a great idea as a present for a child who has too many toys or perhaps a Grandparent who would love to think they are sponsoring a child’s future. If you are a teacher and have a Christmas collection from your class or school would they like to sponsor a child and learn about Africa? All sponsors receive a certificate they can print and laminate and it will show their own name plus their sponsored child’s photo and name

If any teachers would like to make contact with our school, can you quickly produce a poster and a letter from your class which I can take out with me on 9th October? . Then I will bring back same from the children in Uganda..

If any of you would like to contact me and offer practical help with fundraising or finding new volunteers and sponsors, please feel free to email or phone me.

Don’t forget – potential volunteers must book & pay £100 deposit towards your accommodation & food before 1st Dec to avoid the extra fee. There are currently many flights to Entebbe from UK over the coming months available now for under £400 .

Thank You and Best Wishes to you all

From  Ann McCarthy & Denis Aheirwe