Year End at Team College

The school term at Team College ended on 14th December 2016 and there was a lot to celebrate this year.

Windows on newly refurbished classrooms at Team College

For instance,  the school’s students’ successes over the past academic year and mark the undertaking of a major infrastructure improvement programme to the school.

MP. Gerald Karuhanga

Attended by students, former students, local officials and a wide cross section of the community, the keynote speaker was local MP Mr Gerald Karuhanga who gave a well received speech stressing the importance of education to the future development of the local community and Uganda.

Head Teacher- George Karamira, Paige Kilroy, Ida Horner and MP Gerald Karuhanga

The improvements to the school, which include refurbishing the classrooms, new doors and windows and upgrades to the sanitary facilities, were funded by the charity and long term supporter of the school LTHT, whose chairperson, Ida Horner, attended the event together with trustee Paige Kilroy, and presented awards to students celebrating their achievements over the past year.

Ida Horner- handing ut prizes to Students

Headmaster of Team College, Karamira George, hosted the event which was considered a great success by all those who attended.

End of year lunch
Classroom at Team College

The new academic year starts next month and we hope that the improvements will attract more students to the college.

Date for your diary- 28 May is International Menstrual Day 2016

A week before celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day 2016, three young women from Itojo sub-county graduated from the Days for Girls University, a 2-week residential course to learn how to make washable sanitary pads and soap, become women’s reproductive health ambassadors and understand the basics to run an enterprise.

 

International Menstruation Day
Allen, Letricia and Agnes with their Days for Girls certificates

Gerald Karuhanga, the MP for Ntungamo Municipality who fully supports the exemption of taxes in women’s sanitary products, attended the graduation ceremony at the Days for Girls centre in Kamwokya, Kampala.

He would like to see a considerable reduction on girls ‘ school dropouts due to a lack of access to an affordable and sustainable alternative to reusable sanitary pads and would like Uganda to be an example to other African countries in their quest to provide girls and women tax-exempt sanitary products. o ignored

menstrual hygiene management
Gerald Karuhanga, MP for Ntungamo Municipality and Ida Horner, LTHT Chairperson discussing with Diana Nampeera, Days for Girls country director the effectiveness of the washable sanitary pads]

Let Them Help Themselves (LTHT), a UK based NGO which has recently opened a branch to operate in Uganda, has sponsored these three young ladies to attend the course and start up an enterprise to make washable sanitary pads in Ruhanga, Ntungamo.

LTHT is hosting an event at Jerusalem Tree Cottages in Ntungamo town next Saturday, May 28 coinciding with International Menstruation Day to bring together local politicians lead by Hon. Gerald Karahunga, men and women from all walks of life to talk about menstruation and the challenges girls and women face every month due to poor menstrual hygiene management infrastructure and lack of access to affordable sanitary products.

It will also be a great opportunity for the three graduates to introduce the washable sanitary pads to the community and promote women’s reproductive health among the attendees.

 

periods
An example of the products included in the DfG kit: a shield and two liners

LTHT is hoping the event will be the trigger of a long journey to end with the existing taboo about periods and reproductive health in the rural areas of Western Uganda.

If you would like to keep updated on this initiate or learn about other LTHT projects, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

About the author: Maria Alvarellos is a Program Manager at LTHT and can be contacted via Twitter  @malvadri

 

 

Jenn Dutton takes on the London Marathon for LTHT

London Marathon
Jenn Dutton

My name is Jenn Dutton.  I am 23 years old and a full time nanny. I love to cook, bake and travel. On April 24th 2016, I will  be racing in one of the great British sporting events, the Virgin Money London Marathon  on behalf of LTHT.  The London Marathon is a gruelling 26 miles 385 yards long, passing through the streets of London from Blackheath to the famous finish line at The Mall.

Why am I doing the London Marathon?

I love to set myself challenges and believe that you must always push yourself and try new things. I really enjoy running and exploring new places with it.

I truly believe that LTHT is a fantastic charity and I would like to support the work that they do around Menstrual Hygiene for rural girls in Uganda . 

Rural girls in Uganda miss several days of school per year due to lack of sanitary towels. This, in turn, leads to many girls school results suffering and some girls even dropping out of school as a result. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can make a difference to such girls if we work together

I like the unique ways in which LTHT works to improve the daily lives and futures of the women in Ruhanga . This inspires me greatly to train my hardest and give the marathon my all.

I hope to raise a lot of money for this small charity so they can help the people of Ruhanga to help themselves.

Please support me by making a donation at

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JenniferDutton1

Every little helps

https://www.myfundraisingfilm.com/view/080c5507-2893-4941-9786-94ac7e34df95?utm_source=RenderComplete&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=myfundraisingfilm

Child Trafficking – a point of view from Ruhanga

Where do the kids go?

Most of those who live in or visit Ruhanga have probably asked the question on a return visit to the village “where did a certain child go?” as they seem to have disappeared from the school(s). The answer will inevitably be they have gone to somewhere called “fine” however the reality is often nobody knows, they have just “gone away”.

What we do know, however, is that there are 2.5 million orphans in Uganda and a further unknown number of children who have been lost or abandoned and also that there are some 10,000 street children living in Uganda most of whom are on those streets due to poverty, violence, death of a parent or family reconstruction.

We also know that, according to the U.S. Department of State “Trafficking in Persons Report 2012”, children in Uganda are trafficked both within the country and to other destinations for work in agriculture, cattle herding, mining, stone quarrying, brick making, car washing, scrap metal collection, bars and restaurants and the domestic service sector as well as exploitation in prostitution.

What we don’t know is the extent to which, if any, children from Ruhanga and its vicinity are part of this pattern of activity although the homeless street kids, the 25-30,000 children abducted from Uganda to engage in armed conflicts elsewhere and the children labouring, some in the gravel pits that you will see when you travel to Lake Bunyonyi, came from somewhere; mostly villages in rural Uganda from where they have been taken, often with the consent of impoverished parents, on the promise of “a better life” by those who turn out to be traffickers.

We also know many children in Ruhanga are living within extended families as orphans but we often don’t know how secure and viable those arrangements are or what happens to the children or newly orphaned children if and when those arrangements become unviable due to pressures including behaviour, poverty, family breakdown, illness and death.

To clinically establish what local need there is and how that need can best be met, a piece of work has been commissioned and will be undertaken independently by a research associate at the Institute for Research and Development in Africa (IRDA) based in Mbarara. The consultation may well find (amongst other conclusions):

  1. There is no identifiable need for any particular or additional provision for such vulnerable children in Ruhanga (but maybe elsewhere in the district).
  2. There is a need but it can best be addressed through family strengthening which may include offering support to existing families caring for orphaned, lost or abandoned children through support to get those children to boarding school during term times with extra help during the holidays.
  3. There is a need and a care provision for such children should be established in Ruhanga to meet those needs.
  4. There is a need and a care provision for such children should be established in Ruhanga to meet those needs and additionally there is a need for a family strengthening to support existing orphans placed within extended families to prevent family breakdown creating a need for admission to a home etc.

Whatever the outcome of the consultation process, what is clear, even at this stage, is that, should any home for children be developed locally and proceed with the approval of the Ugandan Ministry of Gender and Labour, then children placed would do so through the Probation and Social Welfare department in Uganda and not directly by families themselves.

Any such facility would also be developed and secured with the consent of the community and not only would it serve to meet local children’s unmet needs to keep them within their home community, social and school environment, but would also create further employment in the village. And, because of the external skill base available to assist those vulnerable children with their practical and emotional development, provide an additional project for suitably equipped volunteers to engage in whilst staying at the Ruhanga Resource Centre

The consultation process is running through until the end of  December 2015 and perhaps provides a unique opportunity to reach out to those young people in Ruhanga whose needs may not always be met through the provision of main stream services or even be identifiable at all. Your support to assist those young people is welcomed.

If you want to share your thoughts and views or have any questions please comment here or email them, to: consult-ruhanga@outlook.com

Back to school … but not for all

Today many young people in Ruhanga will be packing their bags and returning to boarding school whether it be at Ruhanga Seventh Day Adventist, Hillside Academy, Itojo Primary or other schools in the area and dozens more will be getting ready to register for next term at Ruhanga Boys Schools, Ruhanga Development School or the Seventh Day Adventist Primary School amongst others.

Team College Ruhanga
Most will know that the education system in Uganda is examination led. With each term lasting around 12 weeks, those children who miss weeks of their education at the beginning of term until their families can gather the required charges are severely disadvantaged often leading to failure at their end of year exams resulting in many being forced from education as re-sitting another year is beyond the means of many families.

The first term of the 2016 school year sees the launch of the Ruhanga Bursary Project, which, thanks to the support of people like yourself, has already seen some two million shillings committed to help secure the future of children in Ruhanga whose families are in short-term financial distress.

The aim of the project is to make short term loans to families to pay the school charges to ensure the children can start the term on day one and repay that loan during the term as funds become available. For example take Isaac, 11yrs old, whose father was working away to earn money for his children’s schooling.

Isaac’s dad was unable to return to the village to pay the school charges on time and, as such, Isaac went two weeks missing crucial education even though the money was there in the longer term. Under the bursary project Isaac could have begun the term on time and his dad could have repaid the bursary on his return to the village.

The bursary project will be available initially to all primary school children in the village with the hope of extending it to secondary school students in the longer term as funds become available. It is also hoped that a limited number of scholarships will become available to children in acutely impoverished families so they can complete their PLEs (Primary Leaving Exams) which are so crucial to future success/income generation.

Find out more about this project and how you can help (even if its just sharing this post) here:
http://ruhanga-community.net/bursary_project_uganda.html

Dipping and uplifting for Ruhanga

The Facebook Page “Ruhanga” was established to keep those who have stayed in Ruhanga and developed a relationship with the community up-to-date with events and developments there.

There was a broad view that posts on the page wouldn’t continually ask readers to dip into their pockets, but perhaps inevitably, in an area rich in aspiration but poor in cash terms, sometimes a little “dipping” is required!

Women's group
Ruhanga Women’s Group- Uganda

Most will be aware that girls and women in the area carry out a “traditional” role despite child raising, generating family income through farming and shouldering other responsibilities whilst holding the family together often in the face of chronic adversity.

Reflecting official government moves to eliminate discrimination against women in official policy and practice, with a Ugandan lawyer, Rebecca Kadaga, being the current Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda and the introduction of a policy that one woman will represent each district on the National Resistance Council in Uganda.

Women in Ruhanga have established their own empowerment project that provides advice and support to women there about how to increase their income and how to save for the future, to enable them to take control of their own lives and destinies whilst teaching more girls in the community how to help bring control to their lives through sound investment and business ideas.

The charity Let Them Help Themselves has been at the forefront of providing support and assistance to such initiatives and one of their current campaigns is to ensure that girls in Ruhanga acquire marketable and transferable skills to enable them to have an equitable chance of accessing work and/or creating their own employment opportunities in the local economy.

As part of this they have been working with the community and other stakeholders to develop a skills development provision where girls can access vocational training in bike repairs, tailoring and computer skills.

This centre is now running successfully thanks to the support of those like yourself and is in need of expansion to ensure the girls have the necessary access to the training and equipment they require.

Whilst the girls and women in Ruhanga can provide the hard work and commitment, they simply cannot afford to build infrastructures such as classrooms and so need to reach out to friends such as yourself to help secure that better future that will cascade down the generations.

Can you dip into your pocket and make a contribution to give the local economy in Ruhanga an uplift?

If you can, please do so through the link below.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/skills4girls

Please express your interest in this initiative by giving ~ even just a little.

Thanks.

 

 

Sisters are Doing it for Themselves

Ugandan crafts
craft Stall – Ruhanga SW Uganda

A consultation exercise to gather local views on the viability of establishing a new marketplace in the village is being undertaken by the Ruhanga Women’s Empowerment Project, a small independent micro-finance initiative in Ruhanga run by the women themselves that provides advice and support about how to increase income through developing sound business ideas enabling themselves and other women to take greater control of their own lives.

The consultation exercise ~ which will reach out to the village farming community and other stakeholders ~ will explore whether such a marketplace would help the Ruhanga economy by bringing in extra income from passing trade and how it could be run in an independent and sustainable way. 

The group hope to report back to the local chairmen in late March.

Amongst other initiatives the group currently operates a roadside stall that sell crafts that are handmade from locally sourced natural materials which are also shipped around the world. If you would like a bit of Ruhanga in your home or to give as a gift, the crafts are available through:

http://www.ethnicsupplies.co.uk/product-category/african-baskets/

Should the consultation prove successful and the new marketplace established, it should generate additional income for local farming families and provide a much needed economic boost to the wider community.

We’ll keep you posted.