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.
A small Charlene's Project team has just returned from their recent Uganda trip in January. This trip was busy, but worthwhile. Lots has happened since the last team visit which was over 16 months ago. The team visited Hidden Treasure, Kahara Primary, Kirwala Primary and Destiny High (a secondary school which we also support). It was great to see the ongoing improvement of all of these schools.
As many of you are aware, we sent out a container for the community of Kahara and it was a real blessing to see all in the community so excited at the arrival of it. Much of what is in the container will benefit the whole community as it includes educational and health items and materials which will be distributed throughout the school and health projects locally. The people of Kahara welcomed the Charlene's Project team with singing, dancing, joy and lots of laughter.
On our trip to Kahara, Janice and Natalie got to work alongside all of the sponsored children, giving them out their small gifts from their sponsors. Meanwhile Dickie held several important meetings with community and school leaders. Rebecca, Jackie and Katrina (midwives) all did health promotion work looking at the importance of maternal care in the community and the struggles that women face in regard to these issues. It was so encouraging to see the men also involved in this health promotional work. The team also got to visit the local medical clinic and have funded the repair of the solar system to allow electricity at night so that babies do not have to be delivered by torchlight.
A special moment occurred when members of the team had the opportunity of planting trees in the grounds of Kahara School. We look forward to seeing how they will grow over the next years.
We had the amazing privilege of hosting two parties for some of the Hidden Treasure children and the girls from the Acholi Quarter Slum, who make all the beautiful jewellery which we sell. Both of these parties were a real success and much laughter, fun, eating, games and singing was had. Every child and girl received a small gift to remind them how loved they are by Charlene's Project and more importantly by God. It was wonderful to see all of the children and girls have fun, many of them asking when the next team will be back for more games of football and hockey!!
We have brought back LOTS AND LOTS of jewellery to sell which are made by the girls who live in the Acholi slum. All of these pieces of jewellery help support these girls and place these girls back into their secondary education. If you are interested in buying or selling of the jewellery to support these girls, please contact Janice (07709806418). Please continue to help us support these beautiful girls.
As I finish writing this I want to thank everyone for all your continued support in allowing Charlene's Project to bless so many on this trip. Everyone who we met and worked with over the past 9 days sends all the supporters of Charlene's Project their greetings and love.
We really value and love all of the teachers and students of the schools in Uganda which we work alongside. At Christmas time, Charlene's Project funded for the buying of Christmas presents for all teachers and students of our schools. These gifts included t-shirts and bed sheets for students while teachers received a variety of food items. All teachers and students were excited with their gifts! Thank you everyone for your continued support at helping us make a difference in all of these communities.
As many of you know we had our annual Big Festive Fry in December. We were amazed at the turnout and support for Charlene's Project. We raised a massive £22,500 through the Fry for the development of two schools in Guatemala.
I am delighted to announce that now all the money is in to allow us to repair and transform the schools in the two villages of Vado Ancho and Las Escaleras in Guatemala.
Thank you to all who have helped make this possible. We look forward to seeing the difference that this makes for the children and families in these two communities.
This Saturday 19th December is our BIG FESTIVE FRY in Dollingstown. All money raised will support school development in Vado Ancho and Las Escaleras in Guatemala. This short video, courtesy of good Guatemalan friend Jorge Vardas, gives context to our work in Vado Ancho and Las Escaleras. When we visited in August we met wonderful people and we were so pleased to be able to dedicate water projects in both villages.
During the visit we also saw the need for major repairs in both schools and for additional classroom space. This year the Big Festive Fry will help us start to raise the £50,000 necessary to do this work.
We would love to see you there if you are able to join us in Dollingstown - breakfast served 7.30am - noon.