Category Archives: Education

Day 2 – Letters

IMG_1302Within the term before we flew out to Uganda, students from Sea Mills Primary School, Bristol had written letters to our children in Katanga, introducing themselves and explaining about their lives in England.


In the picture above, Chris and Megan are helping the students read the letters written by Sea Mills students.

Our children loved to receive the letters that others had written for them, they spent the rest of the morning reading all the letters as well as writing and drawing their replies. The theme of the letters were, ‘what can I see out of my window’.


It was an obvious difference in presentation and the vocabulary used in the letters, from the children in England, to those in our catch-up program, who had never been to school but it is always amazing to see the progress from the children most of which, a year and a half ago, couldn’t even use and hold a pencil correctly.


Read the previous blog Day 1 – Arriving by clicking the link.



Akram and Moses

I was just leaving Katanga today, when I very proudly saw 2 of HFL’s ‘ex’-students Moses & Akram as they return from their first day at their new school.


In the picture below: Moses (in the Orange) and Akram (in the Red) with a few of their classmates, just last week, at the Hope for Life school.


Thanks to all of you who Sponsor a Child to go to school.

If you would like to Sponsor a Child for £20/month then contact us at or find out more information on our Sponsor a Child webpage…

A Fresh way of giving…

Perhaps you can relate: When I was younger I felt quite hesitant to give to charity because I was never really sure where my donation would go, whether it would get lost in increasing admin or wages in the 1st world, or simply to a project, the charity ran, that I didn’t feel passionate about.

So, assuming there are more people like me, we have created 4 individual ‘giving pages’, one for each of the projects that we run; Education, Livelihoods, Health & Water, so that you can choose which area of cause you feel most passionate about and would like to donate to. 


We also want to tell you that 100%* of your donation will go straight to the project you donate to and will not be used for… paying for my new Mac computer, Air travel or even something as little as printing costs. This is the same if you want to simply donate to the charity as a whole too.

Oh, and when we say 100% we mean 100%; for example, if you donate £10 to the Health project then that full £10 could be used on buying 2 mosquito nets for 2 families in Katanga Slum.

Simple really. Giving that changes lives.

So you can click on one of our projects below, where you will be able to securely, donate to the project you wish to donate to.

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* Yes 100% and we are able to do this by partnering with a charity called Golden Giving who do not take a percentage of money from each donation and do not charge the charity, unlike other giving websites e.g. Justgiving or Virgin money giving, Instead they, like us, find other ways to pay for admin, marketing and wages.

Staying with Shafik and Akram

Katanga Family

Megan and I really wanted to get a taste of what it is like to live in Katanga Slum, by staying the night with a family that attend our school. We would not only stay a night but also join the family in what they do throughout the day; eating, playing, drinking, bathing and washing clothes. Before we stayed the night we didn’t tell the family we would stay with them, we didn’t want them to prepare for us e.g. tidy-up, buy nicer foods.

Below is a list of what we did in order of time:

8:30am – We finished school by walking the children back to their homes. This was a chance for Megan and I to see our new children’s families and homes. We had chosen the family we would stay with, but they didn’t know until we turned up at their house.


1pm – We got invited in to a house full of people with porridge cooking in the background. They, and we, each had a mug full of white slodge. I personally don’t like porridge anyway so I found it hard to drink/eat but Megan liked the lunch we got given. Porridge is quite filling, good choice.


2pm – Now we had a couple of hours to enjoy playing whilst the children took it in turns to bathe in a small orange bowl. There was 7 children needing to get washed in the end; 2 brothers, 4 sisters and a friend of the brothers. The mum would fill up her bucket with cold water, strip the children down and get them to sit in the bucket; she would grab her blue soap bar out and start scrubbing the kids.

Some of the children don’t mind being washed but there is one particularly who ‘crossed himself’, like Catholics or footballers would, as he walked towards the bowl… he hated it, screamed and cried all the way through. They ended up clean through.

They would put on a different set of clothes, than they had on previous to the wash, and would end up sleeping in these clothes, wearing them until 2pm the next day when they would repeat the cycle.


4pm – Only 2 1/2 hrs since we finished our ‘lunch’ we started our tea (the last thing we would eat for the day). We got given a decent amount of beans, potato and motoke  (steamed bananas). The children all ate in the bedroom whilst the ‘adults’ ate in the living area; Megan and I were adults apparently.


5pm – Play until bedtime. They used to play until 8 and then watch TV until 10 (limiting them to 2 hours of TV a day) but their TV broke. Instead they play until 8 and slowly get ready for bed at 9.


9pm – We were staying with a Muslim family so one of the children prayed, being thankful for the day; then, bedtime.

Megan and I felt so embarrassed as we were given the only bed they had to sleep on. The mum and older children (16, 20 years old) normally slept in the bed but tonight the mum and the 20 year old slept on the sofas next door. The other 8 children slept on a mattress that they pulled down from leaning on the side of the wall. Imagine 8 children sharing a standard sized, double mattress; a 16 year old girl, 3 boys age 9 & 10 and 4 girls aged between 4-7.

The family had mosquito nets set up already but they did need a bit of attention, before we slept, tying knots in to get rid of the holes.

The light was left on, not sure why, but we think it was so the could get up in the night and go to the toilet if they needed to (even though the ‘proper toilets’ are locked at night).


4am – Music from around the slum finally stops booming, the bass is turned off and we finally get some sleep.

6am – The Muslim call the prayer starts over a tannoy system, which alerts the mum to get up and do her prayers… End of sleep.

6:30am – The mum wakes all the kids up to do their prayers before ‘breakfast’.

7am – Breakfast is black tea with sugar. The boys attend our school so get some food at break time but otherwise I’m not sure how the family copes on just tea until porridge at 1pm.                                                                                                                                         The kids stay in the clothes they slept in and go to school.


Whilst the boys go to our school in the morning the mum washes clothes and buys food for the evening. The other children who don’t go to school spend the morning playing.


We both loved our time with the family, being exhausted after all that playing. I can imagine how boring just playing is all day every day, and how easy it is for children to grow up into crime not having an education, no money and plenty of spare time. This is why kids in slums look forward to going to school, it gives them something to do and they get food too.

Have you ever thought about…

Have you ever thought about Sponsoring a Child in Uganda and seeing the difference you can make to 1 child’s life.


Back in 2011 we started a small school, running catch-up classes, in Katanga slum. Our idea was that we could get these children to an intellectual level where they would be able to attend a formal school.

We then would find people willing to give £20/month to see these children go to school and  have the same opportunity at education as other children their own age.


Christine is 10 years old, she had attended a school for a little less than a year when her mum died, her dad at this point was already not around. So she had to move into Katanga Slum with her Auntie who doesn’t have enough money to feed the family, let alone continue paying the school fees that Christine’s mum previously paid for.

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We were so excited then when, at the beginning of 2013, we found 3 sponsors to send James, Alex and Christine to school. The moment I got the photos of these children in their new school uniform, on their first day, starting at their new school I was so overwhelmed.

I was so pleased, that what was an idea, a thought, a dream, at the end of 2011 became a reality by the start of 2013.


A picture of Christine in August 2012, in the catch-up classes at the Hope for Life school.


Here’s a picture of me, with Christine and Prossy, in their new dresses that were donated to us from ‘Dress a Girl Around the World‘.

IMG_7517With your help we would love to send more children to get an education that we take for granted. There are about 12,000 children in Katanga Slum, which can be a huge overwhelming number but you can play apart in helping reduce the number of uneducated children.

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” ~ Mother Teresa


If you would like to know more about sponsoring a child then click here and if you want to go ahead with sponsoring a child like Christine then let us know by filling out the form below…

New sewing machines


We work with many families in Katanga slum, teaching the parents how to live self sustainable lives, through various income generating activities, including; weaving bowls (picture below), cooking and hairdressing but we are now able to increase our teaching potential by a very generous donation of 15 sewing machines for us to use in Katanga Slum.


A great guy called Duncan found a number of neglected sewing machines that have been sitting in garages collecting dust, and decided he was able to refurbish and fix them were needs be.

As he collected more and more sewing machines he thought it would be a great idea to make use of these machines, which have gone through a ‘re-birth’ of such, and give them to a charity that could put them to good use..

He drove many hours to transport the machines and spend the day with us, talking through how each machine worked and how to maintain such a machine.

I used an electric sewing machine to sew a cushion when I was about 12 years old in school, and a friend who was also learning said she was never good enough at sewing to get past sewing on paper. She finally got her chance to go beyond paper and use real material to sew on.


These are all very different machines to the modern electric sewing machines that we had seen before, but would be perfect for use in Uganda, where the power gets turned off every other day.

The Ugandan women will continue to be able to make their clothes, with hand sewing machines, despite not having consistent electricity.  

We invited a ‘sewing machine expert’, called Margret (click on this link to find her vintage sewing website) who lives local to us to come and talk us through some of these models as well. The sewing machines were mostly Singer machines that you use your hand to control the speed of the stitch. We found out the dates of each of these machines, which ranged from the newest, which was about the 1960’s, to the oldest, which was made in 1895.

These are unbelievably old machines, and it wasn’t until we were walked through how these machines worked did I realise how intricate, clever and durable they were.


Our plan is to learn exactly how these machines work, so that once they finally arrive, after being shipped to Uganda, we will be able to instruct our team and women in Uganda as to how to use/maintain them.

IMG_9436We have really enjoyed our day today and really appreciate both Duncan and Margret, who took time to refurbish and instruct us how to use the machines. What do you think… Do you think they look good?

Education Livelihoods Health Water

Hope for Life started in Katanga Slum giving Education to 15 children. We wanted to invest in these children’s future, helping them to attain more in their lives. Our goal is to provide a basic level of education in our school, to get them to a level where they are able to attend school themselves. We would then find people to sponsor this children to attend a local school for them to get their accredited education.

We then decided that it was great to invest in the child’s future but the parent needs to earn money to feed the family today, not just in the future. So we started up the Livelihoods project looking at ways we can support and encourage the families in earning money and supporting their families.

The Livelihoods project still has a time frame attached to each family; time to learn the theory of how to run a business and money management skills, time to then actually run a successful business to be self sustainable and earn enough money to provide for their families.

Whilst we were working with these families we has instances where a boy in our school broke his leg (a collision with a motorbike), another boy in our school and his younger sister got very serious 3rd degree burns (the boy is still alive but the 1 year old girl died whilst Megan and I were in Uganda in August 2012), various children and members of their families were still getting ill with Malaria and other diseases.

We then started thinking about the project Health to help with these situations. With the aim to produce malaria nets, medical help from trained nurses and doctors, an emergency medical fund, which means we can pay for life saving treatment when there are serious illnesses and injuries with the families we work with. Education also plays a huge role in the health of the Katanga residents, so we look to address these issues in our school and Livelihoods program.

Our whole ethos at Hope for Life Katanga is to be a support to the families, helping them to earn money for themselves to be able to provide for their own families. The last thing we want to do is to give money to the families as we know this is a short term fix to a long term problem. The only exception is when a family we work with has a life threatening, or serious, illness or injury.

A huge part of bad health is dirty, stagnant Water being the main problem for diarrhoea, malaria, cholera, E.coli, typhoid, salmonella to name a few. For as long as people are forced to drink, bathe and live around dirty water then they continue to get ill. We are currently doing some research into the cleanliness of the water, before we know what to filter/safe guard against.

Day 11 – School

It was September 2011 when we first visited Katanga Slum; we met a few people, got shown round the slum and then decided we wanted to do something that would benefit Katanga. We thought about what we could do and decided to start by teaching 10 children,  (But the number of children quickly rose to 15 as another 5 unexpected kids turned up on the first day), aged 4-12, 4 days a week…

Find out about how Hope for Life Katanga & the school came to be, how it has progressed and how it was when Megan and I visited Uganda in August 2012, by following the link below…


Day 10 – Art

In school we teach the children a variety of subjects, with a core focus on English and Maths. Both Megan and I know that people learn theoretically (black writing on white paper is all they need to inhale information), we also know some, like us, are very practical learners…

…check the rest out and find some more pictures by clicking here.

Day 9 – Reading

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You may remember during the past year we ran a ‘reading tent’ day, partnering with Children International. This day was, for many children in Katanga slum, an introduction to reading and writing.

Following up on the introduction, we decided to do another reading day for those in the slum who aren’t directly involved in Hope for Life…(For the rest of the blog and pictures click on the link,

Uganda August 2012

We are continually updating the website about the visit to Uganda Megan and I went on in August. To find a day by day write up and pictures of our trip then click on the following link

Be sure to share these pages with those who you think will be interested.

Day 1

We have now started to add pages of what we have been doing for the last 2 weeks in August on our website. Check it out by either clicking on the following link or clicking on the tab on the menu ‘Uganda August 2012’ on the website

Various pictures have been added to the page with a little write up of what we have done on Day 1 in Uganda.

Day 2 will be coming soon as well as pages for the rest of our time in Uganda.

I’m not sure who encouraged Sandra to stick her tongue out like this but it certainly makes for a cute picture.

2 new interns and more volunteers

2 new interns have joined our work in Katanga slum from Makerere University. These 2 study social sciences full time but are able to find time in helping educate the children in the slum and help raise the standard of living that we currently find.

We have also been amazed by the people in the UK who have been supporting us and helping us in our work.

Thank you volunteers for all your work.