Tag Archives: Katanga slum

Journey of the Sewing Machines to Uganda – Part 1

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.


Day 5 – Dr Katanga (Part 2)

Following on from the check-ups the Doctor did yesterday with our children, we then invited the parents we work with to come in to our classes, to talk about all things relating to Health.IMG_2115 We let the parents ask whatever questions they had, which ranged from sex, ‘safe days’ and HIV/AIDS, to Malaria, the importance of boiling water and worming.


It was handy to not only have Doctor Trevor with us but also have Chris, who was just visiting, join us as a Nurse from the UK to help in answering some of the questions.

We then visited different families to talk more personally about the health problems they faced and have problems with. We at Hope for Life want to help and support the families in Katanga as much as possible, ensuring we do so in a sustainable way.

IMG_2013We spoke of more specific health issues that people had within their families e.g. HIV/AIDS, liver problems, asthma, malaria.

We have found that the best way to deal with matters of health within Katanga is not always to go out and buy medication and resources to do it all for them, but instead educate the families in areas where they currently are not sure, so they know the importance of different practices, precautions and medication, encouraging families to pay for medication for their own family.

There are instances where specific medical attention is required and it’s not through ignorance, or wanting to do harm but that the parents can simply not afford to do anything about these situations.


This is a situation where one of the boys, who is apart of the Hope for Life program, and now is sponsored to go to school, not only had a hugely inflamed finger, which was proving painful but he also, just this week, had a dodgy circumcision job done on him, which has left him in more pain than normally comes with a circumcision.

We know the parent of this boy well and we understand that she can not afford to do anything about these 2 problems. So instead they were leaving the problems, hoping the finger didn’t get any worse and would be back to normal (providing no further infection was received) in 3 weeks and that the circumcision didn’t get infected and would be painful for the boy over the next month.

It is in situations like these that we are able to provide financial support, to provide for medical attention. Our Social Worker took this specific child over the next 3 days, to the clinic to be treated with antibiotics.


If you want to find out about the check-ups & more we did whilst we had the doctor with us then follow the link Day 4 – Dr Katanga (Part 1)

New children and families joining us in Katanga

Recently we have had a few more children sponsored, from our catch-up classes, to go to school in Kampala. Children sponsored to go to school leaves spaces in our classroom in Katanga for new children and families to join our program.

Below are 3 children who have just recently joined our catch-up classes. It’s is not only the children who join our program but the family as a whole, so we will now be working alongside the families to help support them in a better future.

These children and families have joined our program here at Hope for Life Katanga because of a number of reasons for example, some come from extremely low income families, some from homes where there is drug and alcohol abuse and even some families which have parents missing due to death or neglect.

In each individual circumstance we work with the family to help in various aspects of their lives e.g. income, health and to help combat drug and child abuse.

Below our our the latest children to be sponsored, leave our catch-up classes and go to a formal school.


If you want to know more about sponsoring a child to go to school for just £20/month then follow the link to go to our Sponsor a Child page.

Testing water in Katanga

Working with the University to test various samples of water in Katanga Slum. We are having lots of meetings with the local council, various water charities and water engineers to find out if we can improve the water and sanitation issue in Katanga. Find out more about our water program by clicking here.


Vivian, her girls and the LRA

IMG_3917[1] As I was walking around Katanga I was stopped by a lady, who was sitting outside her home with her 2 girls. She explained about how she has heard that Hope for Life had been doing some good work in the area and that she need helps too. (It is not unusual for us to be asked for help, whether in education or in the giving of loans to start their businesses).


I wanted to know a little more about the family, other than they just needed help. So while they were preparing for their meal I asked her name and the names of her 2 children. Winnie (in the 1st picture) went to an orphans school and was in P5 and her younger sister went to a different school, which I have visited a few times.

I asked where she was from, Vivian (the mother) said she was from Northern Uganda. “And how come you moved to Katanga from the city?” “Because they burnt all the houses in my village so we had to move”.I had a good idea of who ‘they’ were but I asked anyway just to make sure,  “the Lords Resistance Army (LRA)”, she replied.

I chatted to her for a little while longer about her family and her life but I couldn’t get over how the LRA had affected her families lives. I had heard a lot about Joseph Kony and the LRA, read books, watched films, read news articles, watched YouTube videos, and was emotional because of them but… when I met this lady and her family I suddenly felt a connectedness to the issue in northern Uganda.


I now don’t need reporters on the TV to tell me the stories of ‘those’ who have been affected by the LRA, I now hear the news direct from the people that we work with in Katanga.

In the process of moving to Kampala for safety reasons, they fell into a high cost of living and poverty in Katanga.

Mamma Akram and her family


It was great to sit with Mamma Akram and Family this afternoon, whilst they all were pulling off the wings and legs off Grasshoppers ready for frying (a tasty treat, even if it takes a while to get over the fact that your eating a bug!).


We were chatting swapping stories about each of our families and lives, when I asked how much she was to earn from her family pulling these legs and wings off?

She replied, ‘300 shillings per cup and we have now done 3 cups’.

The family had worked together to get 900 shillings that day, which totals to 23p. 23p that 5 people had been working for. I asked why the boys were helping and why they were not playing football or something else, she then replied, ‘because they know that if they do not work then we do not get money to feed the family tonight’.


A harsh reality from the lives of people who live in Katanga Slum.

Day 1 – Arriving


After a long flight and not much sleep we finally arrived in Uganda, being met at the airport by one of our Founders, Francis at 3am. A big thanks to him for getting up and collecting us at that time, especially when it was 2 days before his wedding Introduction (A traditional part to the Ugandan wedding where the 2 families, and villages, get formally introduced).


We arrived in Katanga Slum, after a good sleep, being met by the families that we work with, waiting for us in the school building. It was so good to be back. After the families, and Megan and I got over our original excitement of seeing each other we then introduced the rest of our UK team, with the families introducing themselves and speaking of how Hope for Life has helped them.


The rest of the day was then made up of making our way around the Slum, populated with over 20,000 people, getting to know more about the slum we are just about to spend the majority of our 2 weeks in.


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.

New clothes for kids in Katanga


Before we left to come to Uganda, we had been given some hand made dresses and shorts to give out to the children in Katanga slum. Various people around the world make clothes through an organisation called Dress a Girl Around the World, coordinated in the UK by a women who lives locally to us called Louise Horler. Below are a few pictures from when we went along to a sewing event and made our own dresses for girls around the world.

Keep an eye out for the little boy wearing a ‘hand-me-down’ dress, as his siblings are all girls. We made sure we gave him a pair of nice, red shorts.

Also see the difference in the dull brownish clothes the children were wearing before to the new colorful clothes they are now wearing (along with their infectious smiles!)

Thanks to all those who have made, the children we work with, lots of dresses and shorts.

Soon to return to Uganda, can you help?

So it’s just 42 days before Megan and I will be boarding the flight to go back to Uganda for the 3rd time. This time we won’t be on our own, being joined by a mixed group of people; some who have been to Uganda before and some who haven’t.

We also have some friends who are going to Uganda separately, who are meeting us out there to do some medical work within Katanga Slum for a few days.


We are looking for various items that we would like to take to help the project and to further the work we are doing out in Uganda. If you could have a look at the list below and see if there is anything that you may like to donate (or perhaps you have a spare lying about?).

  • Footballs (Maybe new balls that haven’t been pumped up yet, so we can transport them efficiently, taking up less space in our bags).
  • Other balls; tennis balls, squidgy balls, volley balls… anything you can play with.
  • Skipping ropes (individual or group ropes)
  • Frisbee’s
  • Cricket set (aged 4-15)
  • Hand sized Bean bags
  • Sport cones
  • Pump, for the balls
  • Valve; for the pump, for the balls.
  • Face Paints
  • Easy exercise books (numbers, letters, sequences, colours, shapes)
  • Colouring books
  • Sewing patterns (for our new sewing machines we are just about to send out)
  • Sewing kits (needles for hand sewing, thread etc)

We appreciate any donations you feel you are able to give, second hand is fine but we want to show these children and families that we care enough to give them good equipment, so only items that are in good condition please.

If you would like to donate any of the items above then either, reply to this post, email us at hopeforlifekatanga@gmail.com or ring us (In the UK) on 07999 554996, otherwise we might end up with 10 pumps and no balls to pump up.


Below are a few pictures of the kids, with items that people donated to us, to take out for our school in August 2012.

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.

school 2 (1)

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…

World Water Day

Today is world water day, a day of raising awareness of the importance of safe, clean drinking water for the people in this world.

Katanga Slum is home to 20 thousand people who live daily without clean water, not only that but they live with streams of dirty sewage water, running past the front doors of their homes. These streams inhabit various waterborne diseases e.g. Malaria and Cholera that can cause serious ill health to people who even live near these waters.

We at Hope for Life Katanga are doing all we can, fighting against thousands of people drinking, bathing or cooking with dirty water.

1 Billion people live without clean drinking water.

See how clean water can change lives throughout the world..


Apuli is one of those cute kids that lives just opposite our school and because he lives so close he always just wonders into the office.

He’s got such an infectious smile.

When we first saw him he was wearing a dress (we later found out it was because he only has sisters and so any clothes that were passed down to him were most probably dresses), so we made sure we got him some nice red shorts…


Recently Apuli’s mother died, which meant Apuli had to go back to the village he came from.

We will miss that cute kid who used to interrupt our meetings, wondering in as though he had the right to go anywhere, and used to sit on the step opposite our school and run up and say hello when we arrived in the morning.

First children going to formal school

Since Megan and I went to Katanga for the first time in September 2011, we have been dreaming about giving children in Katanga slum a chance to an education. Ever since then our trustees have worked hard at hiring teachers, recruiting volunteers; working hard to see us achieve this goal.


From an early stage we wanted to find away to get these children into a school where they are able to have the opportunity of receiving a good education for their future. We decided it would be great to find willing people from all around the world to partner with us in sponsoring a child to go to school for £20/month.

We had one big problem, as the children had not received education before we needed to get them to an academic level where they would be able to pass a school entrance exam, and have a good understanding of basic subjects that they will be taught in their new school.


We then started our small school in Katanga slum, teaching these children until we thought they were ready to attend school and when we had found sponsors for them.


In Uganda the school year runs from January to December. This January we enrolled our first 3 children into a formal school, they all passed their entrance exam and are enjoying going to their new school.

schoolHere is a picture of James, Christine and Alex looking smart in their new school uniform at their new school.

These 3 children leaving our Hope for Life school means we can receive another 3 children from Katanga slum who vitally needs education.

If you would like to find out more about how you can sponsor a child like these 3 above then fill out the form below. You can also visit our ‘Sponsor a Child’ web page to find out more.

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

Merry Christmas to you all, we hope you have had a great time perhaps seeing your family & friends, eating some good turkey and sharing lots of gifts with each other.

We finished the school term in December with an end of year Christmas party with all the children in our school, the teachers and Ugandan trustees too.


& A Happy New Year. We in Uganda are looking forward to a new school term in January with some more new faces. A few of a children have acquired the sponsors necessary to send them to a private school, in Kampala. These children have studied hard, have really got to grips with learning and have shown real improvement in the last year in the Hope for Life school.


Both our teachers and social workers have worked hard, over the past year, to ensure the children are at a standard where they are able to attend formal school and pass the entrance exam.

As we have some children leaving our school, we will have more space in our classes to welcome in more children, from Katanga slum, who can not afford & need education.

IMG_7711Tendo (the girl in orange), who goes to the Hope for Life school, with her friends; all who have never received any formal education.  

We want to thank all of those people who are currently supporting our teachers to teach the children in Katanga, to a level where the can attend formal school. We are also thankful for those who are sponsoring children to start school in January 2013.

If you would like to know how you are able to support a teacher or sponsor a child then fill out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.