Hi friends,

Thank you to all of you who have donated towards the desks and blackboards for Good Luck Junior School in Uganda. There are only four desks remaining to be sponsored which is wonderful news! All the blackboards have now been catered for.

Sorry for the delay in the making of the last 21 desks out of the 42 needed for the six classrooms. The reason for the delay is simply because there weren’t the trees available! Life is so different in a country like Uganda, beautiful but different!

Innocent told me on 19/9:

‘The rainy season is on here and people have planted alot , so it has been quite hard to find a tree in free space that even if we cut it there are no plants to destroy . But thank God today we got two trees to cut and i have paid for them , soon I will be organising to cut them for timber which timber we shall be using for the desks’.

The district, as in much of East Africa, has had a long dry season so as soon as the rains started so did the planting. Every inch of space counts so they plant right up to the trees. They need every bean, every maize kernel, every cassava root, every groundnut, to dry and store for the next unpredictable dry season. Not an inch of planting space is wasted. So understandably our need for timber for the desks has to wait.

Then on the 23/9 Innocent wrote:

‘Yesterday the trees I bought for timber were cut but the timber I got from the trees were only close to half the timber I need for the 21 desks, so we are still looking for trees for timber to secure enough timber for the 21 desks.

On 2nd October he said, ‘Still looking for trees , we got some trees which were enough to do the 21 desks but if we were to buy them then we would have to wait until they harvest what is the garden where the trees are.

The harvesting might be in December, so that would mean waiting till then, but I and Ibra are still looking for trees for timber.’ (NB – Ibra is the head teacher of Good Luck Junior School who is so grateful for what we are doing for his school.)

Then this morning I received this good news: ‘Yesterday I bought a tree and hoping to cut it tomorrow.’

So as long as the tree creates enough timber, Innocent will be busy organising the building of the remainder 21 desks and soon those of you who have not yet received photos of your desks already, will do very soon!

The Ugandan government has given the impression that the schools will not go back now until the new school year at the beginning of February as they want all the teachers, medical staff and security personnel vaccinated. Who knows if they will achieve that, as it’s not clear if enough vaccinations are even available in Uganda yet! We can only hope and pray that rich countries like ours are fair and share their vaccinations! Will they?

Anyway at least the children at Good Luck Junior School will be so happy with your gifts of the classrooms, desks, blackboards and not forgetting the wonderful new block of ten latrines! Thank you from everyone you are helping, including me, as I feel a real need to help those who deserve better, but it is only with your help that I achieve my goals!

Please get in touch if you can donate for one of the last desks. £20 will let another four children sit comfortably in school. And don’t forget you can dedicate your desk to someone for a birthday etc or have your favourite saying painted on it! Like the ones in the last post.

X

The tree that will be cut down tomorrow to make the remaining desks. This will give the present owner some income and he will plant another tree or two too.

News from last month I forgot to post. My apologies

News from Uganda 🇺🇬, some good, some bad. The good – Over half of the desks have been built and several more have been sponsored. I just need a few more of you to donate towards the remainder at £20 each please. Innocent has had difficulty finding trees suitable for the other desks but today I had this message from him:

“The rainy season is on here and people have planted a lot, so it has been quite hard to find a tree in free space that even if we cut it there are no plants to destroy . But thank God today we got two trees to cut and I have paid for them, soon I will be organising to cut them for timber which is the timber we shall be using for the desks”.

I’m also pleased to say that I have received sponsorship for 5 out of the 6 blackboards to equip the six new classrooms, each costing just £10. So almost there with those too!

Now the bad news – Covid is still spreading in Uganda and the government issued a statement saying “lockdown of schools remains until some essential workers including health workers, security personnel, teachers, and those over 45 years old, are vaccinated”.

Then added: “Schools should remain closed until sufficient vaccination of the eligible population of children aged 12 to 18 years old has taken place.” That’s many many millions of people still to be vaccinated before the children can go back to school and from what I hear there is no where near enough vaccines coming into the country!

Online learning is available in the more affluent schools where children have laptops. But, of course, these are in the minority, and not the schools and children we support! So the great majority of children in Uganda are going without any education at all which puts them at a great disadvantage to their richer peers. Many children are also at risk of being forced to work as families are pushed towards extreme poverty, and there are reports about increasing numbers of teenage girls being drawn into sex work to help their families make ends meet and buy everyday goods including food and sanitary pads.

I’m making sure that the families of the two children we sponsor are ok. I wish there was more we could do.

However it is a wonderful thought that when Good Luck Junior School eventually opens, the children will have six new classrooms furnished with desks and blackboards, plus a brand new block of latrines. So different to when I first went to the school early last year, shortly before the pandemic hit the world! Together you and I, and of course Innocent, will have made such a difference!

Please get in touch if you can help with the last few desks and the one remaining blackboard.

Thank you! 🤗

Ibrahim, the head teacher managed to get a few children who live very local to sit at the desks for the photos.

Good news! We’re well over half way there!

Dear friends my Sponsor A Desk appeal has raised funds for 30 of the 42 desks plus the six blackboards needed to furnish the six new classrooms at Good Luck Junior School in Uganda. I’ve not mentioned the blackboards previously but a donation of £10 is needed for each please. The few blackboard the school has always are not in a good condition.

Thank you so much to those of you who donated money for desks either as a straight donation or by giving me the pleasure of looking after your dogs, cats, houses and plants! Four children will be sitting comfortably at each desk when they return to school after Uganda’s latest lockdown. What a wonderful surprise that will be for them!

Once I sent your donations out to Innocent he searched out a suitable tree then had it chopped down, taken to the sawmill where it was prepared into timber for making the desks. A few of the desks were made at the workshop then it was decided it would be more cost effective to have the remainder taken to the school where John the carpenter guided Nico on how to build the desks. (You can read the story of how we are helping deaf and uneducated Nico in the previous post). And as you see by the photos below, it’s all happened, very swiftly!

We are still short of donations for the last 12 desks (£20 each) and a blackboard for each of the six classrooms (£10). If you would like to donate towards a desk or blackboard, please get in touch.

Don’t forget you can dedicate your desk as an alternative gift for someone’s birthday, anniversary or Christmas, or have your favourite saying painted on it as long as it’s short and appropriate. Ideas so far have been Education Matters, Keep on going, Shine like a star,

Every expert was once a beginner. Kindness is power.

The children at Good Luck Junior School will certainly enjoy reading them!

Thank you once again for your amazing interest and support over the years. I do, so appreciate all the help for my projects in Uganda 🇺🇬. Hope to hear from you again soon.

Gerry X

Thanks to Innocent for working tirelessly for my projects in Uganda including sending updates , photos and videos. 😊

Nico and John at the sawmill watching the tree being cut into timber for the desks
These desks were made at John’s workshop in Kamuli town then transported to the school but the remainder were made in one of the new classrooms at Good Luck JS.
Nico is working on the left of the picture
He has learnt so many skills since we started sponsoring him. I do hope it helps him find employment
Nico certainly worked very hard building and now staining the desks. Just your dedications or sayings needed to go on these desks now. Thanks again x

Desks needed for Good Luck Junior School and the story of Nico, the uneducated deaf teenager who is going to help make them!

For several years Nico, who is profoundly deaf, collected my water from the borehole, and always seemed to be around when I needed anything, even helping me put on my sandals! He often sat nearby when I was preparing for school and took a real interest in my books and other educational materials, loving to play dominoes whenever the chance arose! Early last year during my visit to Uganda just before Covid hit, I found out he had had very little education as the local schools couldn’t cope with his disability and schools for the deaf are very few in Uganda and he would have needed sponsorship from a charity or parents who could afford the fees. Nico’s family are very poor.
Nico is too old for school now, but with the help of a teacher for the deaf interpreting, last January during my annual visit to Uganda, Innocent and I found out he would like to be a carpenter. So for the last 18 months he has been under the instruction of John, a carpenter in the local town, who has taught him the basic skills of carpentry. He has been living with the teacher for the deaf who has helped him with his communication skills and other skills he will need in a working environment.
With help from kind sponsors we have provided the money for accommodation, food and clothes. Also paid wages to the teacher and carpenter, and bought wood and tools. Several items have been made including beds, a table and a chair. John has now agreed to help Nico make desks for the school once I raise the money for them. So that’s where you come in, I hope!

The school needs 42 desks, 7 for each of the 6 classrooms. They are a combination of a bench and table, which will seat four children.
I am asking for a donation of £20 for each desk. If you wish you can have your name or that of a friend painted on your desk for the children to know who gave it to them. Or the desk can be used as an alternative gift to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary, and of course it’s not long until Christmas! You will receive a photo of your desk either to enjoy yourself or pass on as your gift. Another idea is to have your favourite saying painted on as long as it’s appropriate and only short.

The news from Uganda is that schools are still closed because of lockdown so getting desks in the classrooms will be a wonderful surprise for the children’s return when that happens giving them a comfortable seat for their lessons. So please sponsor a desk to go in the new classrooms that many of you helped build.
Please contact me for ways to make your desk donation and if you would like your desk dedicated to someone.
Thank you once again for your support. 🤗

Nico, he could collect three heavy jerrycans of water when he borrowed Innocent’s bike.
Nico at work
Nico beside singer of the beds he helped to make
Two of them many desks we provided Braintrust Primary School with in 2018.