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

Skills Development in Rural Uganda

I can’t believe it is June already.

Alex and the rest of the team have been busy at the Skills Development Centre in Ruhanga and this post is to provide you with an update

Feedback

Skills development in rural Uganda
Feedback Session

The Skills Development Centre draws participants from two local primary schools as well as a  secondary school.

During the first three months, participants were allocated a space in either the tailoring or the computing workshop.

At the end of the first three months, the workshop facilitators solicited views from the participants with a view to get a clearer understanding as to what it is they got out of the workshops as well as what could be improved in the second semester.

Alex and his team report general satisfaction with respect to delivery and knowledge gained from the workshops. 

Sewing Workshop

skills development in rural Uganda
Tailoring workshop

The sewing instructor guiding participants during sewing workshop.

This workshop attracts more participants than the Computing workshops. The main reason participants are attracted to this workshop is because most are unlikely  to progress to higher education. Tailoring skills provide them the best opportunity to earn an income once they drop out of  the formal education.

A tailor makes an average of 20,000 Ugandan Shillings or £4.27   a day in Uganda. In a country where some live on less than £1 a day this is a good wage

Skills development in rural Uganda
Tailoring workshops – Ruhanga

Menstrual Hygiene Day

Menstrual Hygiene day
Homemade sanitary towels

On Thursday 28 May 2015 the world celebrated the second Menstrual Hygiene Day. Through the Skills Development Initiative girls are taught how to make sanitary towels as part of our Menstrual Hygiene programme.  I will provide feedback on the impact of this particular programme on girls in due course

Support

We have made a lot of progress and with you help we can do a lot more. To donate to this initiative please visit our Virgin page

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

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.

African Inspired event in aid of Sanitation matters to girls

A special African Inspired Dinner event is happening in Walton on Thames, Surrey on 18th October to raise money for project in Uganda that is providing training and skills for girls – specifically providing new sanitation and toilets at training workshops. Read more

Our bike shed gets a makeover

Nearly four years ago now we were selected as the overseas community that Hastoe Housing Association would befriend. Within that time, Hastoe have joined us in our fundraising efforts for clean water, the village medical centre and the bike shed . They did so without ever setting a foot in Ruhanga, but all that changed earlier this month when seven members of Hastoe staff and their families hit the road to Ruhanga. Read more

The children’s first visit to the medical centre

The doors to the medical centre opened last December  but we still needed permission from the District Medical centre to see patients and this finally came through in February.  The first task for the medical team was to screen 500 children from Ruhanga Development school and complete an immunisation programme.  Read more

Classrooms and the Boys toilet hit by floods

 

Flooded Classrooms Sept 2013
Flooded Classrooms Sept 2013

News has reached us from Ruhanga that several of the classrooms have been flooded following heavy rain. As you can imagine this is devastating news especially as the new term had just got underway.

Our challenge now is to ensure the children don’t miss classes and that this never happens again. This will involve creating a route for such heavy rain in order that it does not end up inside the classroom

P3 Classroom Sept 2013
P3 Classroom Sept 2013

Our volunteers get stuck in with brooms etc, to clear one of the classrooms

New boys Toilets 1st Sept 13
New boys Toilets 1st Sept 13

The boys toilet was flooded too and work has began to build one. We must get this finished as a matter of urgency or the boys will end up sharing the girl’s toilet. When this happens the girls will stay away from school, a situation we resolved back in 2011 when we constructed a girls’s only toilet

We need your help to resolve this situation

Please consider supporting us by making a donation

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Letter of appreciation from Ntungamo district council

Our water project was one of the items discussed at the local district council meeting (Ntungamo District). Our man on the ground Denis Aheirwe received the attached letter in recognition of his efforts to bring clean water to 3 villages in the district. The final number of taps was 19.

To read the letter follow this link

Letter from District.

 

Clean water in the village
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An update from our Project Coordinator

I have been in Uganda for a month now – we have around 250 children aged 3-10 attending our Ruhanga Development Nursery & Primary School. Nursery School is registered and Primary almost completed all the required sections for registration

Most children have a uniform – thanks to kind donations of unwanted items from UK schools (black/navy skirts or pinafores, white shirts or poloshirts, black or dark grey shorts and royal or navy sweaters – proudly displaying a variety of different UK school badges – we leave those on for photos – but the shirts have our own RDNPS badge sewn on

Long sleeves shortened and trousers are cut to shorts by our resident sewing lady.

One young volunteer who recently left after staying  3 months put almost £5,000 of his own money & what he collected  from friends and family and hired large machinery to grade and level out the large school playing fields – formally it was impossible to play games etc – in another few weeks the grass we planted will have completely covered the area and they will be able to host football matches and so on

We have 7 classrooms completed and two more still need windows doors plastering and floors rendered for use at end of  January. All would like glass in the windows but that is not top of the priority list,

A second toilet block needs to be completed – the pit and down part is all done – ready for walls and roof.

Registration people said we also have to have a bigger headmaster /office room and we need more storage for games equipment

The water project is finished – we have somewhere approaching 20 taps in place and water at three schools and many hundreds of people are already benefitting

Now others on the edge of our area are requesting taps – and I am getting quotation – as there is plenty of water to go further afield.

At the Lodge itself – for those who may contemplate a visit – we have FLUSH TOILETS now we have water.

Volunteering is not just for Gap years – I am well past pension age as are a number of our other visitors and the cost of just £10 per day for all meals and accommodation  makes it an affordable possibility for a holiday with a difference

Older visitors also can enjoy a short safari to Queen Elizabeth national Park for an extra £200 – or even go on a gorilla trek if you are reasonably fit.

 

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