Uganda Lodge Newsletter January 2018


Updates From  UGANDA LODGE

& Ruhanga Resource Centre 

PO Box 368 Ntungamo SW Uganda




Hello and Happy New Year for 2018.

A month down the line and I hope you are all keeping to those New Year Resolutions you made!!! If you would like to make some big changes in your life please consider booking up a trip to visit Uganda Lodge, and alongside a safari, volunteer to help with some of the disadvantaged children we support.

After meeting the 500+ under-privileged  children that currently attend our village school plus visiting local families and getting to know them, most of our past volunteers have found it an experience they never forget. It really is life changing and quite a number return over the following years.
You don’t have to volunteer when you stay with us although its always appreciated (and you don’t need any special skills if you do). The children love meeting with you and as well as ‘Gap Year Students’, Families and Singles of all ages are welcome. It really is a ‘Holiday with a Difference’. You can join a safari, see a wide range of African animals and birds, visit a number of nearby lakes, walk in the hills and even go gorilla trekking at a much more affordable price than you see advertised in the glossy brochures. With some flights from UK down to £300 return it can even be a low-cost option for your yearly break.

Your support over the past 10 years has enabled more than 1,000 village children to receive a good education and 2017 was no exception – all 30 members of Primary 7 passed their leaving exams and are so happy to have been given that chance at Ruhanga Development School  Many of these students will not afford Senior School and this is why we are starting to offer some Basic Vocational Training for all young people in the area. We have extended our Tailoring, Knitting and Shoe-making Classes and have just opened a Salon to cover Hairdressing, Manicures etc. All Ugandans are all very proud of the way they look, and it seems that these classes will quickly become self-funding and thus enable us to offer lessons at a very low cost.

When we can fund the building of a new garage/workshop we plan to start teaching vehicle servicing and will incorporate the bicycle and boda-boda repairs into that. Locals with cars are more able to pay for repairs than those with bicycles, so it should be more cost effective. The same applies to continuing with our partly built restaurant. Do YOU know any restaurants, garages or similar companies with a sense of social responsibility that may be willing to help fund or sponsor a building and have their name on the completed outcomes? Please approach them and then contact me for an initial proposal. 

The many people who have supported our sponsorship scheme regularly over the years are the ones that we really are most grateful to, but please, we do need lots more of you to come forward and spare just £5 a month. You could see your name against one of these children here. Does your son, or daughter, or grandchild get pocket money each week and spend it on sweets and toys that they don’t really need? Will you ask them if they are willing to choose to help just one of these children learn to read and write and get a regular breakfast each day for £1.25p a week? Could you forgo just one coffee or a beer each week?  There are already still many children to choose from and we don’t want to turn any away in this new school year.

Over the past weeks we have had a number of long-stay volunteers such as Jen, Jutta, James, Dien and Ian who have worked tirelessly to help complete and decorate the two new classrooms that many of you have fundraised for. These are now finished so a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped us achieve this. In addition to this Ian organised the volunteers and staff to refurbish all the existing classrooms plus the toilets, showers, and dormitories ready for the new school year. Thanks Andreus for the fundraising that enabled Ian to buy lots of paint, filler and cement.

The children are starting another school year and the Headmaster, aptly named Prize, is telling me that many new students are already registering after hearing about our outstanding exam results and excellent facilities. Many are wanting to board with us especially as the conditions at school are far better than in many of the village homes (clean showers, regular meals, individual beds, electric light for evening prep and no onerous household chores).

Before Christmas we expanded the girls sleeping areas but this did not please the boys who are still extremely cramped. Two recent Spanish volunteers, Pablo and Marta, pledged to increase the boys’ sleeping space and we have been able to start building an extension with  their initial fundraising but in order for this to be completed we need to raise another £3,000. 
Please take a look at the new online BT donation page I have set up. Every pound that is donated will go towards getting this new dormitory open as quickly as possible. Will you invite some friends round to a coffee morning, cake sale, swish clothes swap party, quizz evening  or whatever to join in with our fundraising efforts? Does the company you work for give out any Bursaries or  subscribe to Matched Funding?

I am really happy to be able to give you an update on the deep water well that I told you about in our October newsletter. We received some substantial donations from volunteers and have been able to complete all the pipework and electrics and purchase a heavy duty electric pump. The impact on our project is tremendous and it means that we no longer need to ration clean water at the school and medical centre. Our boarders are also thrilled to be able to take as long as they need in the showers. Thanks to all for your support.

Dr Amna, who first volunteered with us a few years ago, returned again in November and she has shipped out an ultrasound scanning machine for the medical centre. This multi-use machine will be a great asset as it not-only enables the medical staff to monitor pregnancies more fully but  also screen livers, kidneys and gallbladders. Currently this is the only such machine in the local area so many thanks to Dr Amna.

Donations through EASY FUNDRAISING have enabled us to raise over £350 since setting up. This is a great way to support us as it costs you nothing and is quick and easy. If you download the EasyFundraising toolbar here  we receive a commission each time you shop online with retailers such as Amazon, Ebay and Expedia etc, and this month we will receive an extra donation of £4 when you first join….

We are still looking for more supporters to purchase a ONE POUND weekly lottery ticket. Sign up and you would not only benefit our school each week, you could win a FitBit this month and more importantly be in with a chance to WIN £25,000 Its much better odds than your local paper shop! Special thanks to those who have already joined, won small amounts & donated them back to the school. I am still waiting for a win but several people have won two and even three times. Maybe I will win the £25,000!!

We are gradually raising our volunteer numbers back to what they were a few years ago before Original Volunteers began sending most of their clients to projects they run themselves.  Can you promote volunteering with us amongst your friends, colleagues and fellow students? For example Medical Elective placements are often advertised at around £2,000 for a couple of weeks (PLUS flights) Who makes all that profit in the middle I am wondering?  Each extra person that stays with us helps to continue bringing benefit to the hundreds of children living within a few kilometres of Ruhanga.

To assist in our efforts and to enhance our websites  we need the services of a volunteer graphics designer. Can you help or suggest anyone? I am also wanting some more mini-videos 1-2 minutes long that depict life at the Lodge, in School, Medical Centre and on safari. Photos taken by our visitors, that we can add to the websites to encourage others to come and stay with us with Music and some text or a commentary added would be great

I will be back out in Uganda early in March for several weeks and again towards the end of June, and would welcome hearing from anyone you may know who is fed up with the same old thing happening week after week and who may be looking for something different  in life. £1,000 can cover the cost for a trip of a lifetime including flights & full board. The years go by so fast its scary, but I find that what I do is sometimes exhausting but always so rewarding.

Denis is of course always ready to welcome new visitors, and take them on safari or gorilla trekking even when I am in UK.

Thank you for reading our updates. We are always happy to hear from you and are now both on WhatsApp. Greetings to you all.
From Ann McCarthy (+44 7867998414)
and Denis Aheirwe
 (+256 701536197)

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