Uganda Lodge Newsletter August 2017



Updates From  UGANDA LODGE          &
Ruhanga Resource Centre PO Box 368
Ntungamo SW Uganda          


     August 2017

Over the past 10 years our Director Denis has hosted many hundreds of different volunteers at Uganda Lodge and we often wonder if you all remember your time in Ruhanga and the children you met, made friends with and helped to receive a better education.  Past volunteers  from even just a couple of years ago would find many differences if you returned as Denis always listens to visitors feedback and where possible takes advice to improve things. You can see some comments and photos on the new news page of our website

 We would love to hear from you again and please tell your friends about  your experiences in Uganda; they can come and stay in Ruhanga even if they had not thought about volunteering. For more Info apply here We see on Facebook that for many of you, staying at Uganda Lodge was just the start of your travels and now you are in many different countries across the world. A  few met your future partners in Uganda and  even have a couple of children.  If you are still at Uni or work where there are lots of people please give a talk about volunteering with us and joining a safari while out in Uganda. 

We are now hosting visitors who stay with us not specifically to volunteer, but would like a “Holiday with a Difference” where they can relax in the beautiful rural countryside, meet with local people, enjoy walks in the surrounding hills and experience amazingly affordable gorilla trekking,  safaris and bird watching trips organised by our Director Denis. 

Families with children as young as six have stayed with us and they soon feel at home playing with the local children, thus avoiding the need for all the ‘extras’ that have to be budgeted for on a traditional holiday.  At the other end of the scale we also have visitors staying who are well into their 70’s and as long as you are reasonably fit, that is fine. Please promote Uganda Lodge to your friends & contacts of all ages and visiting this link will help explain why Uganda Lodge is especially suited to older visitors as well as Gap Year teenagers. 

Many reading this will be our past and current sponsors, and we send a massive ‘THANKYOU’ out to you. We have now helped over 1000 children receive a good education at a very minimal cost. In all schools in Uganda, children come and go frequently but over 60 have now passed their Primary Leaving Exams with good grades and we have 500 more youngsters currently on the same path. Costs for their education plus a mug of free porridge each morning (many rural children only get one meal a day) are rising each year so if its possible we ask you to change your STO and pay £5 each month per child if you have not already done so. We do not get any help from the government or other charities so would you all ask a few friends if they will join in to help us? There are not many other sponsorship schemes where 100% of your donation actually goes directly out to a school See to choose a child. Running our sponsorship support scheme and finding volunteers to go out to help at the school does mean we are still continually looking for more long-term volunteer admin assistants here in the UK. Please drop me a line if you can help. 

Some of our new readers are those who donated money this summer towards our two new classrooms, or towards enhancing our water supply at the school & the Lodge. Village people have priority on the existing supply and several times during this dry season we have resorted to buying a tanker full of water from the police in another area. We plan to start digging & safeguarding a new spring soon, thanks to Nazra & Johnathan. and their fundraising during Ede.

Here is another way that you can help raise funds for the hundreds of disadvantaged children at our school and not even give one penny…  register with EASY FUNDRAISING and when you shop online  our charity will automatically receive a small commission (almost £200 raised this year by us doing nothing) We receive an extra 50p for everyone who joins this month

I have emailed out information about volunteering to many people this year who have not come back to me again. I wonder “Did you receive my email?” Just to recap – Uganda is a very safe country; we meet you at the airport & can escort you all the way to rural Ruhanga. Its OK to come alone as you will soon make friends, and you don’t need any previous experience to work and have fun with our children (except speaking English helps) You can experience a fantastic safari, and after you arrive you will wonder why you didn’t book something like this before. Remember – we welcome visitors of all ages and you can just relax and take it easy if you don’t want to help at school, in the medical centre or assist with some simple maintenance or building work. Apply here.

Thanks to a couple of one-off donations our Scout Group were able to send two patrols off to the Annual District Scout Camp at Lake Nyabihoko and Guess What….  Boys came 1st AGAIN and the girls patrol also beat all the other patrols and also came 1st. What an achievement… but now we have a problem as all 20 plus their leaders are asking for money to attend the National Camp in Kampala = around £500 is needed in total before the end of August They have collected some from current volunteers, but not enough. Any offers?

The school fund cannot help as it will soon be asked to subsidise a P7 Educational Trip to Kasese where they will visit a power plant, a copper mine, a tea plantation & factory plus visit a salt mine to see how salt is collected and processed as well as staying a night at Kasenyi in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

After my last newsletter one reader asked  if we were planning to fundraise for a  larger and more reliable school bus. Well, with the current very old mini-bus carrying up to 40 kids each day and always needing repairs, a larger, newer one would be great but rather than individual fund-raising, can anyone find us a group or company that might sponsor us to buy one? We could get it sign-written with their company name – plus they could get good  publicity in their local newspapers etc.?  Please ask around; do you know any one we can ask?

Thanks to many large and smaller donations the walls, roof and concrete floor in two large new classrooms  are completed and the veranda around the building is progressing well. Our children even helped by carrying timbers and large stones from across the sports field for the underfloor foundations.

We are well on the way to completion but still need more money for windows and doors plus plastering the interior walls.



  One of our recent volunteers, Karen Perry, who has already raised a large amount of money towards the new classrooms has set herself a new challenge – to find 100 people who will each fund-raise or donate £100 in the next 100 daysto  complete our partly-built Training Restaurant. She wants to continue the legacy that our dear friend Suresh Amin started before he suddenly passed away last year after volunteering with us late in 2015. Suresh was born in Uganda and after being chased out by Idi Amin some 40 years ago, he wanted to come & put something back to the beautiful country where he was born. He had vowed to get enough funding for us to finish building and fitting out our Training Restaurant and return again to Uganda from the USA so he could have a meal there. He sent enough money for us to get the walls and roof completed before he died, and promised more but unfortunately that was not to be. We have been unable to continue with the building as keeping our school fees down to a low affordable rate and building two new classrooms have been our top priorities. Contact Karen for more information on Will YOU be one of her 100 fundraisers or donors ?

I joined Ruhanga Development School up to  ‘Your School Lottery’ to help raise money, as I hoped many people, especially more out of our 1,000 past volunteers and that you would be willing to take the chance of winning£25,000 for only ONE POUNDa week. Many of you spend several pounds a week buying lottery tickets in the local paper-shop; will you pledge instead to buy yours here ?  Almost half your money will come to help our children and a much larger percentage is paid out in prize money than with the National Lotteries. We need at least 50 people to join and this newsletter goes out to over 4,000 supporters. 50 people buying one ticket a week will give us £1,000 a year. Don’t leave it for someone else to do; join up now and also share on facebook etc. 

More than 1,000 disadvantaged rural children have so far passed through our school in the past 8 years and thanks to Denis and our volunteers and donors they have all received an excellent level of education at a price they could not normally afford. We need your help to continue with this work as I am very conscious of my great age and know I cant go on forever! (My first memory is the Victory Party at the end of the war!!)

To recap, we need more people to come forward and support what we are doing out in Ruhanga. Can YOU spare a few hours or a few pounds a week?

  1. Promote affordable opportunities for volunteering in Africa in colleges and Universities, especially among teachers & Medical student.(Talks, Flyers) 
  2. Suggest to friends & work colleagues that a safari, gorilla trekking or bird-watching in Uganda need not cost much more than a summer break in Spain.
  3. Give talks about your proposed or past trip to church groups, rotary clubs , networking groups, schools & scouts etc (They will pay)
  4. Organise a fund-raising event where you can invite your friends such as a Quizz or Race evening, a clothes-swapping (Swish)  or pamper party, a fun day with a Tombola & a Raffle at your local pub, or simply invite friends to a fund-raising meal or barbeque.
  5. Take part in a sponsored run, climb, walk, swim, bungee jump and so on
  6. Collected unwanted clothes & Bric-a-Brac from your friends & sell them at a car boot sale. 
  7. Research and write funding applications to grant-giving bodies  for a new school bus, vocation centre classrooms,  water upgrades, and classroom improvements
  8. Ask your friends to sponsor one or more of our children
  9. Join Karen’s £100 x 100 people x 100 days 
  10. Work closely with me to take on one aspect of admin  especially if you live near Shepperton & can visit occasionally

Feel free to call me if you want any help and feel free to use images from Facebook or our websites

One final sad note before I close:

As many of you know, our Director Denis is still on active service in the Ugandan Army (UPDF) – which he joined some 30 years ago as a child soldier, For the past 15 years he has been a personal driver and close friend to General Geoffrey K Taban.  Last week we received the sad news that General Taban who was only 56, passed away from cancer  and we send condolences to all his family. He has visited and stayed at Uganda Lodge on several occasions and we give thanks for the space he allowed Denis & the support he gave to our projects over the years. R.I.P. 

Please support our work and come and visit us in Ruhanga soon

Many Thanks

Ann McCarthy & Denis Aheirwe