Visitors to the School
Vicki and Nick Beach travelled out in February (see posting for details of their trip) and then in May Mary Morrison went out with a Teaching Assistant Lizzie, Tom and Emma McFarland the daughter of Mark McFarland Deputy Head at Dauntseys School – Dauntseys nominated us as their charity of the year for 2014 which was both a surprise and a huge honour. Mary and Lizzie went out specifically to help progress Literacy at the school as it is a big issue with the pupils being taught in English.
During the summer 5 boys from Bath and their leader arrived at the school having been enthused by what is happening and wanting to see for their own eyes. They had a fantastic time helping with technology, sports, music and the like. Their eyes were opened to the reality of life in Uganda, and the school staff and pupils were able to see and interact with Elvin and his friends who are the same age as the oldest girls but from such a different background.
After that Fiona came for a month, in July/August, with Lisa Bernard followed by Kay Hudson (her second visit to the school) and Bernadette. Without exception all visitors to the school have added something of value to pupils and staff alike.
A new Librarian was appointed at the end of July, Evelyn. She is a young graduate and already has improved not only the lay out and cataloguing of the library but also she has been the driving force behind a “Reading Tent” for the end of term activities, a Library Club, a Reading Committee and a Debating Society. These have been massively appreciated by the girls who enjoy their books and these activities. More girls are reading independently now and even the very few boys have been enjoying this.
More laptops have been provided as has much needed technical support, thanks to Elvin and his friends. The whole area is more user friendly.
Animals, Gardens and Grounds
We have provided micro-finance for a poultry project which got underway this year. There are about 120 chickens some of which lay and some do not. The cattle, goats and pigs all seem to be doing well.
The gardens are very productive with vegetables and fruit, especially aubergines, tomatoes, cabbage and carrots. Erina (the School Farm Manager) must take credit for this as the girls now have fresh vegetables in their diet on a regular basis and this better nutrition has been commented on by the school nurse who has seen the benefit. The garden however is non –productive in the dry season and has to be protected from raiding animals! The Moringa plants are a great success and now every child had the powder added to their diet. It is encouraging to see the enthusiasm for this.
The grounds are tidier, there is a dedicated pit for the burning of waste, somewhere to recycle and plastic recycling bins
Jude is continuing to work very hard, and is succeeding in helping out with many health issues. He is seeing an overall improvement in the general health of the girls under his care, due in part to the better diet, an understanding of the importance of hydration and the malaria testing kits being effective. In addition the many relatively minor, and indeed major, health problems he can diagnose and treat. February saw a much needed first ever visit by a dentist. We have arranged for this to continue termly.
Needs for 2015
- Completion of the partly finished teachers washroom
- Building a Dormitory for the 13 boys who share one small dilapidated room with only 10 beds, so 6 of them double up.
- Renovating the Girls’ Dormitories which were built in the 1960’s and since then have only received a coat of paint. Their overall condition is very poor indeed.
- Get running water to the Sick Bay
- More learning and tuition for Erina in managing the school garden
- Continue emphasising the importance of hand washing, rubbish collection and hydration
- Keep providing the funding for the lunch feeding programme at Bishops Willigers (100 pupils)
- Bishops Willigers Secondary School is incomplete in its buildings. It has a shell of an unfinished classroom block and in the main building the floor is a dirt floor.
Whether any of these at all can be achieved is unsure with so many other matters competing for available funding/finance.