April 2016 Uganda Lodge Newsletter

Updates From


& Ruhanga Resource Centre              April 2016

PO Box 368 Ntungamo SW Uganda


Hello to all our Sponsors, Past Volunteers, Friends and Supporters.I have just come back from another trip out to Uganda and Baby Classwas amazed at how many children returned to re-register at our school (over 400) and especially at how many new ones we welcomed. You can see photos of over 100 of these new children who are hoping to find sponsors, here on New Baby Boyourwebsite . Many are the adorable new 3 and 4 year old ‘babies’ just starting out on their educational journey.In Uganda many children in Uganda tend to dodge around from New Uniformsschool to school each year. We often find children leave and then we come them back again a year or two later. Local churches will sometimes pressure their congregations to attend the church schools and occasionally families split up so children are moved away to live with other relatives. Parents with no spare cash to pay school fees will also enrol their kids in yet another school with promises to ‘pay soon’.

Unlike the management in many other private schools, we really P7 Partyhate to chase these disadvantaged kids away and do our best to keep them so they still receive a good education  even when they don’t pay.Registration We rewarded the new P7 entrants with a small party, and gave prizes to the highest achievers from last year

We need your help to get these new kids sponsored. Can you help us by finding a couple of new people willing to pay £3.50p a month towards educating a child? Porridge Every payment we receive really helps us to keep our school fees low; sponsorship money continues to provide free breakfast porridge for all, and gives some totally free Poor Childplaces to those most needy. Thanks to those who do already sponsor. I feel sad when I find the odd little ones coming to school late and filthy dirty after having walked several kms alone and I then learn they ‘live with grandma, who drinks too much and then is too sick to even dig in her garden’.  My heart goes out to them but Denis and I cannot provide help for them without your support – we can only do our best! Since we started the school  at the request of the local community, over 900 different children have Baby Class taken advantage of a good but affordable education & passed through our classrooms.

Sick Child Thanks to ongoing funding to cover salaries and some of the drugs we need, from ASE Consulting,Ltd, we are able to take local children to our own clinic as soon as they feel sick,and treat them with the correct medicines, even when we know we are unlikely to receive any payment.

We have a new headmaster, Mr Chris, who is well-known in the area as he has recently retired from leading various Headmasters Roomgovernment schools. He has a lot of experience and we look forward to him helping the children build on our recent successes.

Boys DormBy the time I left the village, there were 115 students boarding and even more asking to stay. The boarders all get well fed with two mugs of porridge per day (6am and 10am) and then lunch plus an evening meal, so our weekly bill for firewood,  posho (maize meal) and beans is enormous and is not all covered by their boarding fees. New MattressesDenis ordered 15 new triple decker metal  bunk beds to be made and bought many new mattresses for all these additional children. He has also organised more showers to be built for both girls and boys and adjusted the drainage systems.

Water UseTo supplement our gravity-fed water supply from the surrounding hills Denis is now taking advantage of a partly-funded government scheme and digging out a new well near the Medical Centre.

The number of village adults making use of the free consultations and low cost Patient at Medical Centretreatment at the McNeil Medical Centre are growing each month. Medical and Dental screening of the children at various local schools has been a factor in the village people becoming more confident in using this new service. We are also working with Itojo hospital and offer free outreach services Waiting for Dentistproviding childhood vaccinations and vitamins; alongside monthly clinics for HIV and family planning etc.

Volunteer numbers have been low over the past year but this has been a trend throughout the tourist industry in Uganda. I am happy to report that we have a few bookings now coming in for the summer, but please will you consider a Rare Leopard‘holiday with a difference’ this year yourself and also suggest it to your Banda at Kasenyifriends. Two or three weeks in Africa including flights need cost little more than £1,000 per person even when  you include a safari.(and you don’t have to ‘help’ every day if you find its not for you and prefer to relax in the sun!)

Craftwork with KidsThe number of volunteers greatly impacts on how much available cash Denis has to subsidise the running of our school and continuing to expand with new building at the Vocational Training Centre. Gap Year Students, Medical Electives, Singles, Seniors and Families are all welcome. Please tell your friends about ‘Holidays with a Difference’

We are still providing free Computing lessons for 150 of our older students and have already had feedback from last year’s P7 leavers telling us that IT knowledge has been a great help when applying for places in senior school. Shoemaking and Knitting tuition is also on Shoemakingoffer. Tailoring lessons continue and we have several students now sponsored by the UK charity, ULCP,  working alongside those paying for themselves. They have been making re-usable monthly pads for the older girls; sewing on the school badges to donated uniforms; and turning school trousers into shorts or longer skirts (UK skirts are too short for Ugandan tastes!).

Due to the discontinuation of BA  flights to Uganda and their generous charity luggage allowances, we are unlikely to be able to continue distributing free school uniforms from the UK, so the tailoring/knitting classes will need to begin making shirts,shorts, skirts & sweaters in the near future.

Our football pitch which was laid out by volunteers before Christmas is now in regular use and students themselves have also cleared more ground for other ball games such as netball and volleyball etc.

Late last year the older students went on an educational trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park. and recently Denis took a large group of children to Ntungamo town to find out about the various useful services to be found there.

In addition to excellent classroom teaching this gives the children a more rounded education. They have also gained confidence by provide great entertainment to volunteers & the local church with their dressing-up, cultural singing and dancing and I was delighted to watch several performances during my last trip.

The scout group  is still going strong and it helps the children if they can promote their scouting experience when applying to senior school. As always though, funding the troop and giving the children to opportunity to take part in district scouting activities, is difficult. Most families are unable to pay any additional scouting costs as many of our children come from subsistence farming families. We would welcome help from any overseas troops who feel able to support our Scouts in Ruhanga.

We are trialling the use of “WhatsApp” to set up contacts with overseas schools and scout groups as our teachers are beginning to master the use of smartphones rather than computers. If you would be interested in taking part in a linkup please get in touch.

Young people in the UK working to complete their Gold DofE or Queens Scout/Guide awards can use their time volunteering at the school in Ruhanga to count towards their service and residential sections. Under 18s should ideally be accompanied by an adult.

Past volunteers have done research for a wide variety of university or college projects and we have a good system set-up for medical students to do their electives at low cost. Please promote ‘Africa on a Budget’ to your Uni & Work Colleagues – and contact

ann@ugandalodge.com for an info booklet.We have a volunteer in the UK working on a great new website for us Roof Timbers

www.volunteerinuganda.org which will be mobile-friendly so much clearer to view on your smartphones (Thank you Michael).Thanks to further funding from Suresh and friends in the USA we have been able to complete the roof on our training restaurant and adjoining toilet block, This will provide job skills for local youngsters and in time generate an income to help support our other projects. This is still very much  work in progress but we would love to have completed it by the end of this year.

A new idea has been suggested. Just think – if for every cup of coffee or snack you buy on the high street – you could give a 50p donation towards our restaurant, it would go a long way to getting it up-and-running by the end of the year. Please donate all the 50p’s you can collect on our BT fundraising page here

I send this newsletter out to over 2,000 people so if over the coming months you could each donate £5 for drinking 10 cups of coffee and maybe enlist the help of friends and work colleagues who eat out or buy an occasional coffee, we would soon be recruiting students wanting to learn cooking, baking and customer service skills

Denis is still looking for a partner to help him further develop the land alongside Lake George, adjoining QE National Park at Kasenyi and also more admin assistance is needed in the UK to continue expanding the projects in Ruhanga.

Denis is now using a smartphone, and you can contact him direct on Facebook  (Friday Denis) or by using WhatsApp on both his phones (+256 701536197 & +256 774768090)  He would love to hear from you,  and especially those of you who have already enjoyed time in Ruhanga. 

I will be returning again in June. This is a beautiful time of year in Ruhanga, so I am hoping to meet some of you there, and maybe join you on safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Please contact me with offers of help with admin, sponsorship, funding and an interest in coming out to Uganda

Best Wishes to you all


Ann McCarthy & Denis Aheirwe

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