Uganda Lodge Newsletter July 2020

Updates From  UGANDA LODGE  

    & Ruhanga Resource Centre    
PO Box 368 Ntungamo SW Uganda




Hello to all our Friends, Volunteers, Donors and Supporters


I hope this finds you well wherever you are, and that you have been coping OK with your various forms of Lock Down. I was out at Uganda Lodge for four months but returned home to my family in the UK a few weeks ago on a a non-stop repatriation flight with Qatar.

At the end of March all schools, Colleges and Universities were closed in Uganda and the children sent home with no specific return dates. Many children had only paid a small contribution towards their expected fees for the term and we are currently owed around £5,000.  

Two teachers, plus a few children have stayed at Uganda Lodge as they live very far away in the North of Uganda, and they have kept themselves busy doing a great job re-painting classrooms, and helping keep the school playgrounds in order.

We have kept on essential staff such as security, maintenance and house girls and thanks to some early donations we bought some Beans, Posho and Vegetables and use the Lodge kitchen to make filling meals for everyone plus a few extras each day. Cost of all food has risen a lot over the lock-down weeks, and as all profits from both the Lodge and Safaris as well as one-off visitor donations have all ceased, things are getting very difficult for us.

To help our Fund-raising, if you have items you no longer need, selling them on EBay could benefit the Uganda Lodge Charity. See details here  We do have a PayPal for Charities account and there is no commission taken plus they claim GiftAid for us from eligible donors. 

Many new children joined Ruhanga Development School  in February and we had the good news that the 44 students who were in P7 last year all passed their final PLE exams, with most getting Grade 1 or 2.  To continue this excellent record we desperately need more regular donors to come forward and pay just £5 a month to help educate one child. If you or any friends can help, please take a look at Sponsorship is a great idea for Christmas or Birthday presents. 

Will you also think about support these children by opening a Facebook Birthday Fundraiser for Uganda Lodge next time your Birthday comes around?  If you sign up to YOUR SCHOOL LOTTERY you could win the weekly small prize but you also have the chance of winning £25,000 One ticket is only £1 per week and our charity receives more than half of that payment. 

Another  way we receive ongoing funding is from supporters who buy anything on the Internet and click first through EasyFundraising  It doesn't cost anything to join and is easy to sign up but its given us over £1,200 in the past year. Please use this link to find out how. 

Rather than starting a precedent and giving out things for free, we used some of the extra donations we received to buy sand, cement and paint and employed local labourers to do much-needed maintenance work on the school dorms, toilets, kitchen and classrooms. This has helped them with extra money to support their families during lock-down. Thanks to  volunteer Zan we bought a grass cutter and can now keep the grass on the sports fields under control.

The Vocation Centre is closed but the Medical Centre has remained open although with a ban on both public transport and the use of Boda-Boda motorcycles, many regular patients from villages further afield have not been able to attend. However with some mobilisation and strict social distancing the regular baby clinics have still still been held each month, and older village children who are normally away at boarding school have also come for treatment.

Accommodation at Uganda Lodge plus the cottages at our two projects in Queen Elizabeth National Park are open again to anyone already in Uganda. We need help to promote  'Volunteering' and 'Holidays with a Difference' to encourage overseas visitors to book and return to Uganda as soon as the airports reopen. If you have already stayed at UGANDA LODGE you will know how well the costs compare to a more traditional Safari Package.

The profits from our visitors plus the safaris Denis runs all help to fund building work and pay staff salaries etc. We now have tourist cottages open at two different fishing villages within Queen Elizabeth National Park, at Kasenyi and Kisenyi, and both are situated on the shores of large Rift Valley lakes. As well as helping support these marginalised communities, once visitors return there will be profits available to assist with the running of our School and even the Medical Centre. 

Do you have any contacts with a (courier?) company who might ship out 1 or 2+ pallets to Uganda for us for free or at very low cost? It could give them good publicity if they send out donations for a Charity. I have been given many books, shoes, clothes etc for the children, but I cannot now see how I will ever get them out for free, because previously volunteers were taking extra free luggage on their flights. 

I have just heard that the London Marathon/Prudential team are organising a VIRTUAL CHARITY EVENT on 15th-16th August. Its free for everyone to enter and this year you can make your non-motorised ride anywhere in the world. Its usually held in Surrey (UK)  and ends up with hundreds of cyclists riding down the Mall in London. Like the London Marathon its usually very hard to win a place, but this year its different. There are four categories you can enter: 19, 46 or 100 miles plus a FREECYCLE challenge of 1km or more for ANY type of wheels (scooters, wheelchairs, skateboards, exercise bike etc)  There will be an App to download and if you are choosing to fundraising for us you will receive a certificate plus a 'virtual' photo of yourself RIDING DOWN THE MALL in London! Wherever you are PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE join in and raise money through VirginMoneyGiving for UGANDA LODGE.

In these rural areas many young people will not afford Senior School even if they complete Primary Education and thus there is a massive need for adding new classes to our VOCATION TRAINING CENTRE. There are very few opportunities for paid employment in Uganda and currently we offer practical courses in Tailoring, Knitting, Hairdressing and Shoe-making.

For some time now we have been raising money to build a
TRAINING RESTAURANT where we will be able to give many more youngsters an affordable opportunity,when they leave Primary, They can learn a variety of baking and catering skills and thus be able start their own small business from home. The exterior of the main building plus visitor toilets are completed but we need another £20,000 to get it opened. This permanent feature will last for many years in the future  and  it will produce an income that will help all our projects in Ruhanga to become self-funding. 

Do you know any local restaurant owners who might support us or even join in with you and raise money towards getting this completed ? You can read more about our plans for the future in the new 'Development Document' written by our Scottish volunteer Mike.  

Thanks to the Daviott and OldMeldrum Explorer Scouts who should of been out in Uganda again this month, they have sent the money they had already raised for us and we are building  dormitories for the students at the Vocation Centre. As the restaurant and existing workshops are very close to our Medical Centre, we decided to add a second storey on top rather than dig our new foundation. The Medical Centre had a flat roof ready for this. 

I read on Facebook of so many people who are bored with this self-isolation; if you or anyone you know might have an interest in helping with admin and restructuring our charity, promoting volunteering out in Uganda, doing some fundraising or writing proposals to grant giving bodies so we can complete our training centre please do let me know. If I could find someone to help with  newsletters I could write a much shorter one much more frequently!  Please email, message or call me on WhatsApp 

For now, we can take provisional reservations for volunteering plus safaris and gorilla treks etc so you can get all prepared with information, jabs etc, and then book a flight as soon as the airports reopen again.... all ages plus different interests and skills are welcome.

Do contact us if you have read this far and would like to help, or even just to keep in touch and Be Safe 

Best Wishes from
Ann McCarthy and Denis Aheirwe
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