It’s been four months since I sent you an update. I’m sorry about this, I normally don’t have a problem putting my thoughts down but I’m finding it very difficult, it’s all in my mind and heart but putting it into words has been a big challenge. Bad news is always hard to share and nearly all of it is bad news this time I’m afraid. I will finish with something to make you smile though, I promise, so please persevere through the bad. (I’ve even split it into chapters!)
1-Life for most people in Uganda 🇺🇬
As we all know, life here in the UK and around the world has become very difficult for many people over the past few years and the situation has become even more desperate for the vast majority in Uganda too, that remains an extremely impoverished country in ‘normal’ times. In addition to the problems created by Covid and the war in Ukraine, the start of the year saw an extended drought so there was a long delay in planting their new crops. Then they got a period of extremely heavy rains where newly planted crops were washed away and it caused some flooding and landslides where lives were lost. Thankfully none of the people I know lost their lives though all are struggling even more than they usually do. Many have had to use their stored grain to feed their families so have none left to sell or exchange for items such as cooking oil or of course, medicals or school fees. The cost of living has doubled and even trebled for many items so even if you do have a little money it doesn’t stretch very far. On top of this small businesses have closed because the government decided to increase taxes!
Innocent, my good friend and trusted project managers’ situation is another example of how peoples lives have changed drastically. As you might remember Innocent has small piggery and poultry businesses which brings in just enough money to look after his families’ needs. Now no one can afford to buy the piglets he has for sale and the same applies to the chicks and eggs. He can’t afford to continue to feed his animals so, just like many other owners of small holdings, he’s having to virtually give them away. He can’t store the pork as doesn’t have a freezer and can’t afford electricity anyway. It’s such a shame as Innocent was only just recovering from having all his pigs slaughtered last year because of swine fever!Can’t resist a photo or two to remind you if those smiles!!
2-Good Luck Junior School
An important decision to make!
Schools in Uganda have been badly affected with parents not even having enough money to give their children a meal each day especially in poor areas such as the community where Good Luck Junior School is situated. The parents were just getting back on their feet after suffering with Covid and its restrictions and were beginning to find the little money to pay the school fees that pay the teachers and give everyone a meal, but now fee paying has dropped almost completely as parents need the money to feed their families. Thank goodness, for to your kind donations we were able to step in here and help them with paying the teachers salaries. I still have enough donations to pay the teachers for the next two months, which takes us up to the end of the Ugandan school year and almost a year since we started subbing the school during Covid.
But for how long we should or can go on doing this is a decision we have to make.
Thank you to those who have donated over the past year, one off’s or regular donations. Most recently a donation was made which has enabled me to pay the salaries for a whole month!
The school is really doing well and getting a good reputation for the education and care the children are being. There are now 127 children at the school.
Unfortunately, with the affects of the war pushing the cost of living up, very few parents are now able to pay full fees and the majority none at all. Some manage to bring a little surplus food from home to go towards the cost of the daily meal.
Thoughts I’ve had, to make any money we raise last longer, is to suggest the children go to school part time, either morning or afternoon with the change over at midday when they all get a meal, which is very important. Then reducing the number of days the teachers are employed. BUT this is something I’m not keen on doing as they earn very little, have been very reliable and wouldn’t get another job in the present climate and all have families to support.
But to keep the school open full time the costs are as follows:
Monthly teachers salary – 120,000 Ugx £30 x 7 teachers.
Then we would need to find money for the schools essentials such as chalk, pens, exercise books, report cards, exam papers, and most important of all during the present climate, would be money to buy food for the 127 children and 7 staff plus pay the cook to cook the meals!
I now appreciate just how much the children’s fees, though small, have to cover. Basically we need to raise 127 children’s fees to keep all the children at school and not sack any teachers! The monthly fees are as follows with the number of pupils in each class noted.
Nursery ‘Baby’-36 – 30,000 &
‘Top’ class – 34 – 30,000(£8.50)
Primary 1 – 16 – 45,000 (£11)
Primary 2 – 17 – 45,000 (£11)
Primary 3 – 8 – 48,000(£11.50)
Primary 4 – 8 – 48,000 (£11.50)
Primary 6 – 8 – 48,000 (£13.50)
I understand it is a very difficult time to be finding money to spare, but would you possibly be able to help me with this plan? If we achieve it we would keep the school open, keep the teachers employed (often their own families will be dependent on them, and some have young families of their own too!), and most of all help the children continue their education and keep safe and fed during this difficult time. As is usual the staff would keep an eye on the health of the children and act on any problems they find too.
It would be wonderful if you’d like to consider sponsoring a child for a month or better still a year. Perhaps you have a child or grandchild in the equivalent class here at home? This would be a wonderful experience for them to learn about children in Uganda and to show how we can all share a little, especially with Christmas approaching.
I would really love to be able to help as many children as we can to have even a basic education, but more importantly have a meal every day, have care and attention from the staff and hopefully, prevent the children being used in other ways such as being put on the streets to earn a few shillings breaking stones, to beg or worse, there was an increase in children ‘selling their bodies’ in exchange for something to eat during Covid! A terrible terrible thought but unfortunately true in times of great need.
Whatever you can offer will be very much appreciated.
Thank you so much for even reading this.
Love to you all x
Another of the desks you sponsored. Now we need to sponsor the children sitting this difficult time.
Let’s hope we can keep it that way.
Can’t help smiling back at the children in these photos, they are generally happy even with the little they have.