Ruhanga Bursary Project

The first term of 2017 in Uganda sees the launch of the Ruhanga Bursary Project, a locally managed project that aims to assist young people in Ruhanga whose families are in short term financial distress which can lead to their children having to leave school often for extended periods until the charges can be paid, perhaps following a harvest, sometimes to a point where no catch up can be achieved requiring a further year’s education which is beyond the means of many already struggling families.

It would perhaps be useful to note that families in Ruhanga are nearly all self-employed and have no access to loan facilities to pay for education as they are neither salaried nor have equity in their homes.

As such, fees and school charges have to be paid for in cash and this places an enormous burden on already struggling families who have little or no capacity to save money after paying for daily living expenses.

That many do is remarkable but many face regular setbacks from periods of low earning due to ill-health, or, as recently in the village, when freak storms damaged crops leaving nothing to sell at market.

Piloting at Team College in the village, and funded by LTHT, the project aims to make funding available to ensure no child is forced to abandon their education due to short term financial difficulty.

The project provides loans to the school to cover the required charges until the family is in a position to repay the funds. This way the school ends the term with all charges received, the parents end the term with all charges paid and the young person ends the term with a full term’s education better equipping them to maximise life’s opportunities.

You can help by donating through this fundraising page:

It really is the gift that keeps on giving as the donation will help a child remain at school, then once repaid to the Bursary Project, the money can help another child etc.

Make a difference today 🙂

For volunteering opportunities at Team College in Ruhanga visit their website here:

Volunteer at a secondary school in rural Uganda

You’re invited to rural southwest Uganda to help promote life opportunities for village children.


This project is primarily looking for volunteers who are TEFL or hold other teaching qualifications and who have experience with working with teenage students in both formal and informal settings. This project will also be suitable for other self-motivated individuals who can assist in the classroom and/or on a one to one tuition basis and/or in running after school clubs for the students and who are prepared to help establish the framework for this new project. Fundraisers to help the children’s physical surrounding are also more than welcomed!

Team College is one of two secondary schools in the village of Ruhanga with the other school, Ruhanga Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, being government aided. Being government aided does not mean free education as significant fees and charges apply, putting secondary school education out of the financial reach of many families. As such, many school children drop out of education at the end their primary schooling severely impacting on their long-term life opportunities.

Team College was established by the former headmaster at Ruhanga Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School to cater specifically for brighter children who would otherwise be squeezed out of education due to these high fees. A not-for-profit school, Team College offers education from Secondary 1 to Secondary 4, when O-levels are taken before the students either progress to A levels or take the vocational training route which is preferred by many given the lack of formal jobs in the Ugandan economy.



The school is few in number partly because it has an educational standards admissions policy but also because its physical resources are limited which is off-putting to some families despite the school’s actual education attainment being held in high regard locally.

Given the not-for-profit fees it charges (which basically only cover essential costs such as paying the teachers) without third party assistance, the physicality of the school is unlikely to improve significantly. This is especially evident in one classroom where one of the walls has collapsed and in the limited boarding provision where students have to sleep on the floor rather than in beds.

This is a new volunteer project that follows a process of consultation with students at the school to identify (a) whether the input from volunteers with different cultures and backgrounds would be beneficial to the overall learning process and, if so, (b) what specifically would students want from volunteers.

The students were keen to welcome volunteers to their school to not only run workshops around such topics as cultural differences, English language development and careers advice as well as computer and internet skills, they were also anxious for volunteers to help with the physical conditions of the school and would welcome working with others to establish a community based library accessible to all students in the village to cater for reading for pleasure as well as reference books for course work.

Click on the sign up button below to find out more about this project:



Nick Lear, 70, and his wife, Harriet, 73 embark on 900-mile charity bike ride




Next week, former Hastoe board member, Nick Lear, 70, and his wife, Harriet, 73, are setting off on a 21-day, 900-mile bike ride to raise money for charity.

On the bike ride, ‘Riding for Ruhanga’, Nick and Harriet will tour around 60 Hastoe housing developments, visiting residents and staff in various areas around the country to fundraise for the charity Let Them Help Themselves.

The journey kicks off at Barcombe, in Sussex, on 19 August, with a launch event at the Hastoe Hampton Wick offices on 20 August. The pair will cycle in a big loop, via Hastoe’s straw bale development in High Ongar, Essex, through Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. The route then takes the couple back via Wimbish Passivhaus in Essex, Hastoe’s first Passivhaus development; through Buckinghamshire, visiting the award-winning Marsh Gibbon scheme on the way. Next stop is Wiltshire; through Somerset and Devon; back through Dorset and Wiltshire, finishing in Barcombe, Sussex.

Let Them Help Themselves supports a small African community in Ruhanga, South West Uganda, and is the charity that Hastoe has been supporting for several years, chosen by its residents. ‘Riding for Ruhanga’ will be specifically raising money for some much-needed medical equipment for the Ruhanga community.

Nick and Harriet have been busy training and testing out their brand new Garmin Edge GPS gadget in time for the big day.

For more details and donations:

Nick Lear, former Hastoe board member, said: “When I announced my retirement from the Hastoe board after 9 years, I made a promise that I would do one last thing – as a legacy. I thought there was no better way than to raise money for Hastoe’s charity by setting off on a bike ride touring a number of its housing developments.

“Harriet and I are looking forward to this challenge and have been busy preparing and training. We are wondering how we will fare with only a couple of t-shirts each – we have to keep our luggage down or we suffer from too much weight. We would like to say thank you to those who have already supported and those who will be supporting this very worthy cause.”

Sue Chalkley, Hastoe’s Chief Executive, said: “We at Hastoe are very grateful to Nick and Harriet for taking on such an epic journey in support of our charity. We are all looking forward to following their adventure and wish them all the best. Thank you to everyone who is supporting ‘Riding for Ruhanga’.”


For more information please contact: Leila Moss on 020 8973 0437 or

Notes to Editors

· Hastoe Housing Association Limited is a not-for-profit organisation that owns and manages over 5,000 homes in southern England for affordable housing through letting and shared ownership. Half of these homes are in rural areas. Hastoe works closely with its residents to ensure it provides sustainable homes in sustainable communities. Further information can be found at:

o We can deliver homes that people can afford

o We invest in people and communities

o We are in it for the long-term.

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Community Medical Centre Update- Photo Essay


Back in February I was in Ruhanga and this what the community medical centre looked like. A few months on and I am amazed by the amount of work that has gone in

And here is a video clip from my visit

As you can there was an awful lot of work to do


A few months later and the side walls are on as well as the roof and the plastering has started


Ann- standing outside a nearly finished patients WC


The inside is plastered


This outside verandah will also form part of the waiting room – it is a great facility to have as folk can take shelter from the both and the sun and the rain


One of our army of volunteers hard at work with a paint brush! What a way to spend two weeks in the sun!


Another volunteer sealing the floor. I think he is having a whole lot of fun there!


View from the front- scaffolding is gone- Well almost


The foundations of the patients WC


All the hard work has paid off- painting done!



Yet another volunteer working on the benches for the patients waiting area


This is Ian our chief volunteer. Ian has been instrumental in getting the plaster and paint onto the walls.


The doors are on too and painted!


The verandah is done too

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To support this project please consider making a donation

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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