Check out the news report below of us on National TV in Uganda. The ‘Slum Report’ describes the poverty in Katanga and the work we are doing to help combat it.
Starting today (10th June) these six girls, plus six more will be starting at the Creative Learning Centre (CLC) for the next step in their education.
We are partnering with Viva (an international charity focused on creating a network of organisations to create lasting change) and Kampala Baptist Church, to help run this education program, adopting the students into the wider vision we have at Hope for Life Katanga. Originally the CLC accommodated each class for 3 months, educating them in all things creative.
Adopting this project and its students into our wider education program, practically means overseeing the selection of the children from Katanga into the CLC, as well as providing follow up support in each child’s education, following the 3 months in the CLC. We will also be supporting the current teaching staff in the fantastic work they are already doing.
The Creative Learning Centre aims to get marginalised girls back into school by offering non-formal, innovative education in a wide range of subjects – with an emphasis on numeracy and literacy.(You can read the full blog about the CLC in Uganda from Viva here.)
A few of the girls have children which they bring with them to the CLC. As soon as schools in Uganda realise a girl is pregnant they will exclude her, offering no other option of continuing her education.
After their 3 months in the CLC we will be looking for sponsors to take these children to a school in the city for £20/month. For those who are too old, have children or it is otherwise not suitable to go back to a mainstream school, we will still be looking for sponsors to take them to a vocational school, to further the practical skills they learnt in the CLC, bettering their opportunities to finding a job and earning a sustainable income for them and their families.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child into either a school for the next 5 years, or sponsor a child into vocational school for the next 2 years then let us know by filling out the form below. We would love to hear from you.
#MatchitMay is now over, 31 days of matching money spent on your chosen item. Megan and I (UK co-founders) have just donated our matched money to our online fundraising page…
If you have been taking part in #MatchitMay then head on over to our fundraising page to make your donation.
Thanks all for taking part, your donations will really benefit the lives of many in Katanga Slum, Uganda
Our Livelihoods team have been busy in training many classes of people in both tailoring and soap making.
Sharon, our tailor trainer, prepares the machines we sent out last year from the UK, before one of her classes.
Not only do we run classes specifically for those in our Livelihoods program but we also hold regular open workshops throughout the week that general Katanga residents can come to and learn from.
What’s great about this is it opens up education to Katanga residents of all ages, most of who never received a schooling education whilst growing up and on top of that, it’s free.
We at Hope for Life are so committed to resourcing the local community of Katanga, helping them become self sufficient families.
Some men in Katanga have built a reputation for themselves of being jobless, alcoholics or just simply having a lack of motivation. Women on the other hand seem to have this resilience in life and are much more open and motivated by new opportunities of learning and progressing.
So with that understanding, we are so happy each time a new man wants to increase his prospects of earning a better living for his family, and decides to join our Livelihoods program.
We will soon be introducing trainings in craft making, candle making and cookery into our Livelihoods program.
Keep posted for more pictures and stories…
Just to let you know this is not a ‘happy update’ but unfortunately, it is part of reality and something our team wanted to share with our supporters to give you an insight into health problems within Katanga.
As you may well have heard, during last week, one of the students in our catch-up classes died of cerebral malaria. ‘Trina’ died after contracting the infectious disease and within 24 hours, from recognition that she was ill, she had passed away.
She joined our catch up classes when I was over in Uganda, in October 2013. Being a young 4 year old, I remember she was easily distracted, often bossing boys of her age around. Even though she had this tough side to her, she would love colouring and singing with the rest of the class, progressing well in her learning over the past 6 months.
People dying in Katanga is not uncommon but it hits further when it is a child you know and have invested your time in.
It seems every few months that Megan and I get informed of someone else we knew of in Katanga dying; the younger sister, to a boy in our classes, died of severe burns, the electrician, who did all the electrics in our school buildings, died on another job, sorting out faulty wires and a couple of months ago we were informed of the sister of a boy we work with, passing away, leaving 2 more children for the Jaja (Grandma) to look after…
…and the list goes on.
There are a number of things that we do at Hope for Life we hope will reduce unnecessary deaths; giving out mosquito nets, delivering trainings and workshops in the area of health and providing free health check-ups and advice, by a trained nurse that we employee once a week.
One of the most important parts of our job is counselling, mourning with the family, helping them when tragic events do happen. Our staff went with the family, to the burial in her families village.
Thanks for your support through the many good times and equally through the tough to comprehend.
Last week Hope for Life Co-Founder, Megan, said that it had felt like this new year has ‘crept’ up on us. I completely agree with that statement, for some reason 2014 seems to have come really quickly for us, after a successful and packed 2013.
A lot has happened within this past year; from having our first child sponsored to go to school in January 2013, to having 10 children sponsored starting back at school this month.
As we have had 10 children sponsored, we have welcomed 10 more children into our catch up classes.
We have some new staff, who are really going to help progress the work we are doing further and have said goodbye to some of our faithful, staff and volunteers who have now moved on. We are so thankful for their early commitment to the work we do in Katanga and are sad to see them move on but we are so excited for our current team and for the work we are going to do during this next year.
We have acquired a new building for our Livelihoods work, which is being renovated during this Christmas/New Year break. We can’t wait to give out more loans to women in Katanga to start their businesses and earn a ‘living wage’ to pay for their children’s education.
We are looking forward to helping as many families as we can on their journey to escape poverty.
We are looking for more people to give monthly to the work we are doing in Katanga. If you feel you are able to give something monthly e.g. £5 – £20 – £100 then please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are not sure but would like to give a one off donation then you can go to to our online payment website to give a donation.
Big thanks for your support throughout 2013 and we are looking forward to the year ahead.
The oldest child in the class loves the responsibility of staying behind after classes to sweep and clean the floor. Ester only joined us in June but because others have now been sponsored to go to school, she is now the oldest.
She is soo smiley and such fun to be around.
We are now a registered charity with the Charity Commission (No. 1153897).
This is a big moment for Megan and I, for our Ugandan Co-Founders, our trustees and Hope for Life Katanga as a charity.
I remember sitting in a room with Megan and our 3 Ugandan co-founders (Francis, Moses and Joshua), with the only light generated by a couple of candles, having a meeting, discussing what it would be like if Hope for Life Katanga got to the stage where it needed to be registered as a charity.
The moment I describe was exactly this time 2 years ago (when Megan and I went to Uganda for the first time)
Since that time the 5 of us, with some other amazing volunteers, looked to do all we can for the community of Katanga, which meant being registered.
The first process was to become a registered CBO (Community Based Organisation) in Uganda. This process was relatively quick and easy.
Megan and I were still travelling at the time for another 8 months, so by the time we got back to England, we looked to get registered as a charity in England. You can only register with the Charity Commission if you have an income of over £5,000, which we didn’t, so we registered with HM Revenue and Customs as a small charity in September 2012.
When we finally passed the £5,000 mark in 2013, we sent off our application. With a few emails back and forth, the Charity Commission were happy with our application and, on the 23rd of September 2013 (as in a few days ago), we became a ‘proper’ charity.
We are so excited about this, not because of the added paper work, but because it allows us to do more for the people in Katanga, Uganda.
We have done a lot in these past 2 years from that original candlelit meeting;
- buying 2 buildings
- teaching more than 25 children, whose parents couldn’t afford their education, in our catch up classes
- we now have 7 children sponsored to go to formal school
- given out loans to 10 women to start businesses
- sent sewing machines out to Uganda for women to use in their businesses
- becoming registered as a CBO, then with HMRC and finally with the Charity Commission.
- etc. etc.
… and we thank you so much for being involved in the work that we do in Uganda, we really appreciate it.
So, last time we came to Uganda we took the families we worked with on a fun day to the local zoo. We now have more and new families that we work with, including lots of children, so we decided to take them on another trip but somewhere different.
After a little discussion our Ugandan teachers suggested Wonderworld; I hadn’t heard of the place but it’s apparently the Ugandan theme park that all children want to go to. We agreed, and at 75p per ticket we couldn’t really say no. It was such a fun day, taking the children out of Katanga, some for the first time, and some only their second time, as we took them to the zoo last year.
As with the trip to the Zoo, the children put on their smartest clothes for this special occasion.
The Swimming pool looked so inviting, with lots of water slides but none of the children could swim, so instead we just dangled out legs in the water. Perhaps we will go swimming next year…
The best way to tell you the rest of the story is for me to stop talking and to show you some pictures…
Megan and I spent a solid day and a half packaging the sewing machines and then driving them to London, ready to be flown to Uganda.
They are due to be arriving in Uganda this afternoon (7th August 2013); we can’t wait for the women in Katanga to start using them for their businesses.
Keep an eye out for pictures of the sewing machines out and being used in the next few weeks.
Malaria is a huge problem in Uganda, with Mosquitoes all around the country carrying the infectious disease. Mosquitoes particularly inhabit and breed in warm, stagnant water. The drainage and general sanitation in Katanga is very poor and so there is not a shortage of stagnant water, and as a result, mosquitoes in Katanga.
The best way to protect yourself from the bite of a mosquito is to have a special net over your bed that mosquitoes can’t get through.
Many families in Katanga can not afford to buy a net, despite understanding the importance of protection, despite having friends and family die because of malaria.
Every Ugandan I speak to is very flippant about a new case of malaria, saying things like, ‘I have had it 3 times this year already’. They are flippant, not because malaria is not very serious, but because it happens so frequently to Ugandans all around the country.
There are different strains of malaria, some that can kill in hours and other strains that providing you get the correct medication you will be able to get better.
The problem with handing out mosquito nets is you can’t just hand them out to everyone. People are well known for taking the mosquito nets and then selling them on to others for a quick financial gain.
As part of working with the families we get to know their home situation, including things like whether they sleep under a net or not. Our continued relationship with them means we are able to do regular checks on the family to ensure the nets are still up in their house to ensure prevent them from selling them on.
We give nets first to those who are the most vulnerable to being affected by malaria e.g. pregnant women and children. The malaria nets we give out are ‘family nets’, which means you can put 1 over a mattress and that will cover as many as 8 children each night. The nets cost only £5 per month but are worth so much more than that in lives saved and cost in medication each time they get ill.
If you are interested in donating into out Health program, to buy more mosquito nets for families in Katanga then you can give to Hope for Life at £5/net on our donate page.
You can read our last post on giving out new dresses to children in Katanga… Day 6 – Dresses
Some of you may know that Megan and I went to Uganda, originally for 3 months, in September 2011 and it was from those few months that Hope for Life Katanga was birthed.
However, we didn’t go to Uganda to start a charity, we went to help a team of doctors & nurses we knew in running a couple of medical camps, one in Kampala and another down near Kisoro, Uganda. This is not to say Megan and I are medically trained, not in the slightest, but we came to assist where needed in the work these medical professionals were doing.
We were so pleased to hear that the couple that led the group of Dr’s and Nurses, Trevor and Carol, were coming back to Uganda; we definitely saw this as an opportunity to get them to help us in the charity that we had set up in Katanga.
There is huge amount of illness within Katanga, with our children often getting Malaria. So we thought it would be a good idea to use the skills of Trevor and Carol to do a ‘check-up’ of the children and families that we work with.
Despite the local hospitals being ‘free’ for appointments, the families often tell us that they don’t go because they get charged for seeing a doctor. They were appreciative of the time that both Trevor and Carol spent with the families to help, where possible, in the area of Health.
While the children took it in turn to see the doctor, the others were drawing pictures and writing notes of thanks. We talked about drawing something related to doctors and hospitals and it was quite disconcerting, but not surprising, to see many drawing huge syringe and needles.
The children breathed a huge sigh of relief when they found out that syringes and needles were not going to be used.
The above picture is one of our students Christine, showing her picture to the doctor.
Read about our previous day in Katanga from our previous blog… Day 3 – Painting