Hope Project Work in Uganda

John Lampen reports on a recent trip to Uganda to support the work of Central England Quakers’ Hope Project:

For years our adult students in the Ibanda Literacy Schools [ILS] have asked to take their learning further and acquire skills to increase their incomes.  Our co-ordinator, Zelina Kyakimwa has long dreamed of creating a central Adult Learning Centre to meet this need.  The first step towards this came in early 2016 when we acquired our first land at Kibirizi and built classrooms there in brick.  (We erected our five other school campuses out of sticks, mud and metal roofing sheets on land loaned to us by the local elders or the church).  This year a legacy from John’s mother helped us to construct and equip a second large new building at Kibirizi, containing a secure office and store, a big workshop area and a smaller class­room, and fitted with two solar panels.  We were also able to give work tables, stacking chairs, four sewing machines and two knitting machines.  They hope to introduce carpentry for men soon.   Three Stourbridge Friends, Judith Parkin, Julia Furminger and I opened “Joan Lampen Hall” at a big celebration.  We were impressed by the building and also the gardens which demonstrate growing methods and good nutritional principles, besides feeding the children who attend this campus.

New classroom being  built at Mirimbo

Mirimbo campus had a large input of new pupils, increasing from around 70 to over 220!  New classrooms were needed urgently.  We sent some extra money, and I photographed the result, perched on a narrow ledge on the hillside and now waiting for this month’s rains so that the mud and stick walls can be added.  I’m always impressed how much of such work is done voluntarily by parents and teachers.  We have put aside some money for the other campuses, and asked them to submit their own ideas on how to spend it.

Julia demonstrating at the Girls’ Clubs Conference

Julia and Judith came primarily to show women and girls how to make reusable sanitary pads.  They will share their experiences in a future issue.The three of us visited the splendid new toilets at Rwenguhyo Orphanage School, funded by donations from Stourbridge Friends at the suggestion of our Rainbows Children’s Meeting, and twinned with our own disabled toilet.

Support from CEAM Local Meetings and individual Friends was outstanding last year.  Together with the legacy, we were given a total of £23, 691 in 2019 (a record amount!) which attracted £3774.20 in GiftAid from the government.  We sent the Schools £13,288.59 to cover eighteen months’ salaries for twenty-three staff up to June 2019, including two newly appointed Adult Learning instructors, and £6083.76 towards the new building and equipment.  We gave Rwenzori Peace Bridge, our other partners, £2483.00 to support their broadcasts, youth programme, AGM and the activities during our visit.  Stourbridge Quaker Meeting used our fund to raise and give £2646 to build toilets at Rwenguhyo Orphanage (see overleaf).   The total we sent to Uganda was £25,221.60.  Our own fundraising and bank transfer costs were £175.14.  In addition the costs for three of us to visit came to £3765.50.