As I look back over previous BIG FESTIVE FRY events I am so encouraged by what has been achieved through the support of folk at the Fry:
2011 Supported development at Hidden Treasure Primary School , Uganda
2012 Provided borehole and clean water at Kahara Primary School, Uganda
2013 Built Community Hall at Kahara Primary School, Uganda
2014 Built teacher accommodation and supported development at Kirwala Primary School, Uganda
2015 Supported refurbishment and new classrooms in Vado Ancho and Las Escaleras Primary Schools in Guatemala
2016 Helped fund school and community health programmes in Kahara and Kirwala Primary Schools, Uganda
Charlene’s Project hopes to support 3 neighbouring primary schools close to the Kahara and Kirwala Primary Schools we already support in rural western Uganda. These 3 schools need similar development to what we are helping provide in Kahara and Kirwala schools. For example, Nyinga Primary has over 1,000 pupils with 320 pupils in P1 and only 1 permanent P1 teacher. Yet there are only 44 pupils in P7 as older children are taken out of school to help their parents work the land and early marriage for girls is common. There are 2 tables in the entire school and all the resources for the whole school are kept in one small cupboard in the headmaster’s office.
Charlene’s Project has committed to provide latrines and teacher accommodation as our first step in helping develop these 3 schools.
This year’s BIG FESTIVE FRY will begin the fundraising to provide latrines and teacher accommodation.
PLEASE HELP US CREATE BETTER FUTURES FOR THESE CHILDREN.
Look forward to seeing you at the BIG FESTIVE FRY on Saturday 16th December.
It was wonderful to see the team of 5 midwives and 1 medical student from Northern Ireland deliver programmes;
To all the children in Destiny Christian High School
To the women of child bearing age and their partners in the Kahara community
To village health team workers in the Kahara and Kirwala area
To the health professionals in Diika Health Centre
It was exciting to see the Kahara Community Hall, built through fundraising in 2015/2016 used for the workshops.
FIVE MASINDI PRIMARY SCHOOLS
Charlene’s Project has funded the STIR initiative through Build Africa for 3 years now. This has involved teacher networking from the 5 local primary schools (includes Kahara and Kirwala) where the teachers share ideas and good practice.
We have been working with Kahara since 2012. Over the last 5 years Charlene’s Project has funded;
A classroom block
We are also sponsoring over 50 children in Kahara and have provided scholarships for 24 children from Kahara to go to Destiny High School.
Since we were last there in March – Charlene’s Project has installed water harvesting on one building with a 10,000 litre tank now located near the kitchen. There is underground piping to a tap in the middle of the school garden. allowing easy watering of the maize. meaning the food supply for school is maintained. The maize grinder is now being installed and this will bring a much needed income stream to school and community.
All the other schools need similar development as Kahara. For example, one of the schools has over 1,000 pupils with 320 pupils in P1 and only 1 permanent P1 teacher. Yet there are only 44 pupils in P7 as older children are taken out of school to help their parents work the land and early marriage is common. There are 2 tables in the entire school and all the resources for the entire school are kept in one small cupboard in the headmasters office.
The biggest needs are for teacher accommodation, latrines, water harvesting and teacher resources.
Kahara Primary —we have been working here since 2012
Kirwala Primary —started working here in 2015
Bunyama Primary —new area of work
Nyinga Primary —new area of work
Diika Primary —new area of work
DESTINY CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL
It continues to be a pleasure to support Destiny and the school development continues with new boarding blocks being completed and the kitchen expanded. It was a pleasure to officially open the school clinic during the visit. Health promotion programmes were delivered to all classes in school and included identity and self esteem as well as relationships and sexual health.
24 Kahara children are now sponsored at Destiny. We hope to offer more sponsorship places to this years p7 pupils at both Kahara and Kirwala.
Charlene’s Project provided the money for the 69 young women from the Acholi Quarter to travel up to Luwero for the 3 day retreat, which included health workshops, personal development and mentoring of the girls.
The feedback from the girls around the programme topics covered was so positive. The girls were so excited to in a different environment and one described how “she felt she was in paradise”.
DIIKA HEALTH CENTRE
Diika Health Centre is a health centre about 6 km from Kahara community. The staff work exceptionally hard but often do not have the drugs, resources or supplies they need to help the many people who come to the centre. Charlene’s Project has previously brought medical equipment and supplies to help the centre and has repaired the solar system to ensure deliveries are not by torch light but there remains much that is needed to help. The midwives were able to leave suitcases full of medical equipment, including blood pressure cuffs, as the clinic didn't have any. This means they will now be able to check the blood pressures of those women who attend antenatal care. The team did training with the Diika Health Centre staff. They highlighted the need for respectful and confidential antenatal care and affirmed the role of men in supporting women throughout pregnancy and the priority of setting aside some money for delivery and possible emergency at delivery.
A very useful training session was provided by the Charlene’s Project team on neonatal resuscitation which all the staff of the health facility found helpful.
Charlene’s Project has developed an exciting new partnership with Masindi Kitara Medical Clinic to train Diika staff, improve health centre systems, supply drug shortages and help increase the overall capacity at Diika Health Centre.
The communities face incredible challenges accessing health care due to the distances and the state of the clay roads when heavy rain falls.
Our team walked with the Kahara community from Kahara to Diika Health Centre to highlight the difficulties women face accessing health services when they are in labour.
The previous evening our team struggled to get out of Kahara so heavy were the rains and so bad were the roads as the picture above highlights. The walk of 6km to Diika the following day traced the journey women routinely make to access simple health and maternity care. Those with complications then have to make a further difficult journey to Kiryandongo Hospital if further help is needed. The women so appreciated the team trying to understand the struggles women in the community face on a daily basis. This work in supporting these women must continue.
A big part of our work this year in Uganda was in the schools of Kahara and Kirwala in rural western Uganda. Charlene's Project has been working in Kahara Primary since 2012 and it was good that Basil, one of our Trustees, who helped select Kahara in 2012 was part of the team this year. The change that Basil saw in Kahara from from the last time he was there was indeed immense. Two school buildings, a borehole, community hall, teacher accommodation and sports field greeting him and all the team was spectacular. As always our welcome to Kahara was so special. Kids Club, Sports and classroom work was so much appreciated by Headmaster Bernard and the other teachers.
One of our big targets this year was to deliver the Jiggers Programme. It was a joy to watch the team of nurses and helpers wash all the children’s feet lovingly class by class as part of the programme. The nurses did health promotion around jiggers and malaria prevention with the parents at the end of the long week of individually teaching each child in school how to prevent jiggers feet infection. We had the joy of confirming to parents that every child in school would receive towel, basin, soap and shoes as part of the programme and as a result of the monies raised in Ireland before we travelled. The cheer could have been heard back in Kampala, if not in Lurgan. After the parents programme silence descended again as we used projector to show the packed hall the Jesus Film in Swahili.
It was wonderful being able to distribute MadLug bags to all the children in school thanks to Dave Linton and the support of a generous donor.
We confirmed another 20 children for sponsorship in Kahara, bringing the number in school sponsored to 60. There was much singing and dancing and celebration but so much sadness as we parted at the end of the week in Masindi.
Kirwala Primary is just a short distance from Kahara Primary. Both Sports Camp, Kids Club and classroom activities went very well considering it was our first time of programme delivery in school. All the teachers were so appreciative of the work delivered and it was our joy to interact with children and teachers during our short time in school. The work men arrived during our time in school to start the painting and plastering as part of the renovations we have commissioned through our partner Build Africa. Teacher accommodation will also be built over the next few months – already funded from Charlene’s Project. Resources were left at Kirwala for teachers and pupils as had also been done at Kahara.
Diika Health Centre
We visited Diika again and it was impressive to see the brand new block built by the government. Disappointing though to turn on the taps and no water – water harvesting is needed urgently. Disappointing too to hear that it will be some time before the empty shell is kitted out with even the basic essentials a health centre needs. It was good to see the lights on and a television showing health promotion programmes thanks to the repairs of the solar system Charlene's Project funded. Brilliant too to see a hospital bed from the container in the delivery suite. Great to see again the wee team of staff there trying to do their best against the odds in this health centre that serves such a wide population including the children and families from Kahara and Kirwala. There are so many health needs in these communities. The help we can give is only a drop in the bucket. But Charlene's Project will continue to try and offer whatever little help we can to improve the overall health of these very special people.
We set off to Guatemala planning to begin similar relationship building and development work that we continue to progress with the schools and other projects we support in Uganda. We were both excited and nervous as this trip was breaking new ground for Charlene’s Project and we were cautious not to transfer our Ugandan experiences on to a completely different situation and culture in Guatemala. As always we value our partners and both World Help and Hope of Life were a joy to work with and what was achieved could not have been achieved without their help and guidance.
Our immediate impression was of incredible beauty as we flew in over mountains, volcanoes and lush tropical forest. After an overnight in Guatemala city we travelled the four hours south east into the mountains to our base at Hope of Life our Guatemalan partners compound in Zacapa district.
While our main purpose was to meet the communities in the two remote mountain villages Charlene’s Project had funded water projects in we could not help but be amazed at all the work of Hope of Life. Apart from the work they do in rescuing ill and severely malnourished children from remote villages high in the mountains they have projects that care residentially for elderly, children with severe disability and abandoned children. Truly inspirational. We also had the privilege of helping in their feeding programme in one of the local community dumps where people are struggling to make a living out of anything they can salvage from the waste that is brought to the landfill. Heartbreaking.
We made the journey in 4X4’s high into the mountains to both Las Escaleras and Vado Ancho. No rollercoaster could have prepared us for the ride which took us through some of the most un imaginable views as we clung on for dear life as we bounced along, the vehicles throwing up the most amazing sparkly dust as we got closer to the villages.
What a beautiful people we met. So excited to have clean water provision through Charlene’s Project and so appreciative of the gifts of clothes, toys and sweets so many of our friends from home had provided. We were able to distribute packs of food to each family in both villages through Hope of Life – the wet season has been dry and the maize has failed. There are hard days ahead through the months of dry season and the families in these little mountainous communities have so much need. We presented children’s programmes in both villages and shared in the church service in one of the villages where the only protection from the 90-100 F heat was a corrugated tin roof straddling between trees. Their inadequate school buildings are dilapidated and in major need of repair.
We came away humbled by their thanks and appreciation of the little we had provided. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and who has paid a part in bringing clean water to these two communities. As we left we have just begun a process that we hope to be able to continue with your help. What is ongoing in Uganda and what has begun in Guatemala through Charlene’s Project is only possible because of your support. Thank you from the many who can only thank us for what you are doing. God bless