Here’s a Christmas card from all of us at Friends of St Michael’s Uganda.
As per every year, Swainswick Primary school have been running their Christmas Fair to raise money for the school. However, this year they have allowed The Boy’s Dorm Project to set up a stall of our own for fundraising.
Currently the amount raised by us stands at 1800 pounds, with a goal of 5000. With the school making us their charity of choice in 2014 for our first outing to Uganda, they have followed up again this year by making us their charity of choice again – We definitely were not expecting that!
At the fair this time round we were focusing on representing and giving out some lovely baubles in the Christmas spirit – with our own Ugandan twist. We managed to raise a further 50 pounds, a small amount compared to the large contributions the school has already made, but every penny counts!
If you have any more pennies to spare, always remember the donation button. Leave a note saying it’s for the boy’s dorm project and add gift aid on top, and even a small donation becomes much bigger!
So much has improved at St Michael’s over the years thanks in no small part to the volunteers who have visited the school… They have each given so much of themselves, with tireless enthusiasm and multiple skills, making a significant difference to these children’s lives.
The age range has been huge from 16 – 71 years old! All volunteers live either in the convent or the visitors’ house (both at the school) during their visits. Reading their feedback they have all loved Uganda and St Michael’s – playing and supporting these engaging and loving children… Some volunteers have revisited – some continue supporting us back here in the UK. Thank you to each and everyone of you.
We are delighted that our link with St Francis School Pewsey– now in its 7th year – goes from strength to strength. They have been very supportive in so many ways. Andrew Mugabi – Head of English at St. Michael’s – spent a week at St. Francis and a teacher from St Francis has been to St. Michaels’ – living at the school and fully participating in school life.
We asked David Sibson, the Headmaster to explain why St Francis places so much positive emphasis on the link between the two schools and this is what he said :-
If you haven’t heard of me already, my name’s Elvin Luff and I’ve been working quietly behind the scenes with Nick and Vicki for a while now. I’m a 17 year old web designer from Wiltshire and this website is something that I’ve been working on since the start of this year, and I hope you like it!
I’ve done extensive work on tidying up the website in general, recategorising information and giving it this new look which I hope you will agree brings the website up with the times. From now on, I will be working on the overall website changes and updates, while Nick Beach will be working on the writing and content, such as blog posts (I won’t be doing very many of these).
The idea behind my initial design philosophies is to split up the information – Give a brief overview, while still allowing the reader to dive in to read about everything in more detail. Also, I’ve worked on updating the photos throughout the site and there are many pictures to view in the gallery!
If you have any feedback or suggestions for the site, feel free to drop a comment below. It’s always appreciated.
This was sung by the children of the school, they’ve been practising this for a while! Click the link to listen…
There are now hand washing stations around the school. The girls fill the tanks twice a day, but with over 600 pairs of hands using them they empty very quickly. So although they have been a success this project will need to be improved and monitored throughout 2015.
We have had some really dedicated and enthusiastic visitors this year. Thank you to all the volunteers who contributed so much to the development of the school.
Nick and Vicki Beach
Vicki a Trustee and her husband spent 2+weeks at the school in February. Much of their time was spent in meetings and undertaking evaluations of the many projects we support around the school and in the community. They were entertained by a Thanksgiving Day for Leavers – singing, dancing, a meal and speeches. St. Michael’s is now one of the best schools in the District and several local dignitaries attended the event.
Following on from the success of the 4 day visit from the UK of the 14 man Dentaid team in September 2013 we have been unsuccessful in finding a local Ugandan dentist who was prepared to come to the school once a term to treat the staff/girls and to run workshops for the whole school about the importance of brushing their teeth. However, Barbara Koffman, the Dentaid coordinator, introduced us to Ryan Shinska. He is an American Dentist – a Christian who has been called to serve the poor in Uganda. He lives and works in Jinja about 2 hours away, but comes up with his team of dental nurses once a term to treat the girls who are suffering. At the end of the clinic the nurses talk to the pupils and staff about good practices and demonstrate how to brush correctly. There is still some way to go to say that we have turned the corner and all the girls brush their teeth properly twice a day.
The building of the much needed Secondary School next door continues to be one of our major challenges. There are several primary schools in the area (over 50% of the population of Uganda is under 15 years old) but no secondary school within a reasonable walk. At the moment there are just under 100 students in this fledgling school, but the need is for a school to accommodate 1,000 pupils.
There is still a long way to go! – and we are looking for donors…possibly corporate.. to support us with this venture.
School Lunch Feeding Programme
Having seen the difference that the School Lunch Feeding Programme has made at St. Michael’s we are very pleased that were able to respond positively to the request from the Governors of Bishop Willigers to roll out a School Lunch Feeding Programme. Like the St. Michael’s girls too many of these senior pupils were learning on an empty tummy.