Letter to Past Volunteers October 2018


Letter to all Past Volunteers at

& Ruhanga Development School

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October 2018







Dear Friends,  

I hope you are all well. Life in Ruhanga goes on and Denis has made lots of improvements over the last few years with the help of many generous donations. Those of you who volunteered some time ago wouldn’t recognise the place! But hopefully you have been receiving our newsletters and have kept up with the progress. If you know of anyone who is not getting the newsletter (maybe they have a new email address) please could you forward this letter and ask them to send me their new contact details.

We are currently working hard to promote Volunteering and “Holidays with a Difference” at Uganda Lodge and the Fishing Villages we support in Queen Elizabeth National Park, and we would love your input to help us do this. If you could email me a sentence or two describing your time in Ruhanga and send a couple of photos of you out there and especially videos that show what you did there for promotional purposes that would be great.

Please also continue to recommend us to friends and family of all ages. As you know there are no special qualifications needed to volunteer at our school and vocation centre or if you prefer just to spend time visiting the area and going on a safari we are very flexible.  All profits still go directly to the local communities we are supporting. If you are a student or teacher or work with any youth groups (Scouts, Guides, Churches, DofE etc) we are able to provide a fun, safe experience for small or large groups. Maybe you could put a flyers up on your noticeboard? Feel free to make your own up or let me know and I will email you a copy that someone else has designed.

I have been offered some special low-cost places exclusively for our volunteers  in the Ugandan Marathon on 2nd June 2019 where you can take part in the excitement of an International Race (Half a Marathon or 10 kms is also acceptable!) but without the high costs that it usually involves. Our entrants can fundraise directly for our charity and stay at Uganda Lodge both  during the run-up and after the race. This way, 2 weeks in Uganda including FLIGHTS from UK, accommodation, all meals, and a SAFARI need cost little over £1,000 in total. Would you advertise this amongst your local sports clubs, at work or Uni and in other activity groups – it would really benefit our school in Ruhanga.

We are aware that many providers of International Medical Elective Placements are really expensive and therefore unaffordable for a large proportion of students. Over the last few years we have hosted a number medical personnel, both qualified and those still studying, at a fraction of the cost charged by other providers. All have reported that the breadth of experience they gained by working in the local hospital and at our medical centre far exceeded their expectations, and they felt that they were able to make a real difference. Unlike many other companies we do not charge any additional fees, and we work closely with our District Medical Office to ensure that everything is carefully monitored.

I still devote almost every hour of each day to support what I know is a hugely worthwhile project, (even during the time I am out in Uganda) but am conscious of many things I would like to do but just don’t have the time or skills to achieve. I know I have asked you for help many times in the past and thank you so much to those who have already done fundraising, or are sponsoring children, but we need more of you to come forward. YOU are the ones who have actually seen the benefit that hundreds of disadvantaged children are getting from our efforts. Our school is now recognised as one of the best in the area but remains affordable for the poorest of children. Every term more register with us, so we are always looking for new sponsors.

Please register with EASY FUNRAISING  and every time you buy something online we will get commission at no cost to you. If you buy a £1 lottery ticket or two each week through YOUR SCHOOL LOTTERY one of our own supporters will win a small weekly prize and you could also win £25,000. Our school is donated 40% of all monies collected.

Would you, or someone you know with computer skills, have a few hours to spare each week on an ongoing basis to help us move yet further forward?  The bottom line is that we need more funding to upkeep and continue expanding Ruhanga Development School and Vocational Training Centre, and thus directly help hundreds of young people in the area.

Every donation, large or small, helps with the day to day running but to fund the specific much-needed projects that are currently needed can usually only be done with large scale donations or grants, such as we received from Daviot & Oldmeldrum Explorer Scouts. We know that there is funding available out there from Trusts and other Grant-Giving bodies, but we need help filtering what would be appropriate for us and writing suitable proposals to access it. Denis has a ‘Wish List’ which is not limited to but includes:

  • Replacing the girls toilets at the school. 
  • Purchase of a larger newer school vehicle.
  • Completing the Training Restaurant at the Vocation Centre. 

One-off events organised by just a small number of dedicated people can sometimes, with a lot of hard work, raise the sort of money needed. Ideas could include running a Christmas Gala Evening, holding a Grand Draw (We already have a licence) or a entering a sponsored event such as the Marathon Race. 

Other less intensive areas where you could help us might be in researching websites promoting volunteering and adding or updating our projects. These would then need monitoring and updating again regularly as this would help us increase our visitor numbers and thus our monthly income.

Are any of you computer specialists? Would you be able to build a WordPress website for Denis’ NGO Stand on Your Own?  Could you work on Search Engine Optimisation for us?  Could you develop an integrated social media programme to promote us? These are all things which would move us forward but I don’t have the skills or the time without neglecting what currently needs to be done.

That is all for now!  Thank you for reading this far, and please, please re-contact other past volunteers that you met out there as well as telling new friends you have since made, about the opportunities for Sponsoring a Child, Volunteering, Gorilla Trekking and Safaris in Uganda and see if you can get some more helpers and supporters for us here in the UK.

Denis and I would love to hear from you again  

Many Thanks
Kindest Regards
Ann McCarthy

Ann:  +44  7867513588  or  WhatsApp +44 7867998414
 Denis:  Mobile or WhatsApp +256 701536197 or +256 774768090

 ‘Uganda Lodge Community Projects’  UK Charity Reg 1150023