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Jessica’s Story

My name is Jessica*. I live in Katanga and I am 17. I live with my elder sister because my father died 12 years back and my mother runs a small kiosk deep in the village therefore she couldn’t cater for my basic needs due to low earnings.

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I am a mother of one son in the above photograph, I became pregnant in primary 7 and before completing my primary leaving exams I had to drop out of school due to stigma from fellow classmates and school staff. The father to my son is a senior four student in a village in western Uganda and since he’s a student I do not get any help from him or his family. My sister who works as a waitress in a local bar is the only one who tries to provide some basic needs but due to her poorly paid earnings my son doesn’t eat the required diet like other children; my son eats anything available in order to survive.

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While in Katanga my neighbor, a pupil at CLC, informed me about hope for life Katanga and she took me to the hope for life office and due to my situation I was immediately recruited and I was taken to their Creative Learning Center at Kampala Baptist since I loved studying, I have got to walk approx. 2km every day to go to the CLC class, I walk there with other girls from Katanga, there are about 13 of us who walk to Kampala Baptist church.

I love this organization because it has taught us how to read and write and my teachers are so nice because they like us so much and are always ready to teach us. I am so happy because I have managed to meet fellow children with the same problem like mine they are friendly and very willing to study.

Jessica ~ “This has given me the hope of studying in order to become a nurse which is my future dream.”

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 HFL Social Worker ~ “As soon as Jessica fell pregnant, the school no longer wanted to support her in her education. She has been out of education for over a year being supported by her sister. We want to be able to provide Jessica with the necessary education, skills and training to help support her family and become the nurse she would love to be.”

Jessica and the other girls in the CLC are now looking for sponsors to take them to a school in the city, for £20/month, to further their education. If you are interested in sponsoring a child with us then send us an email at hopeforlifekatanga@gmail.com.

* We have changed names and edited the written story for child protection reasons, otherwise the story was either written by Jessica or transcribed by one of our social workers.

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Arua’s story

Liberty PicMy name is  Arua and I am 10 years old. I live in Katanga but before I used to live in the village. I live with my father & mother. My parents separated but my father sells second hand clothes and shoes and my mother works in a saloon as a hair dresser within Katanga. I have three siblings, two sisters and one brother who is eleven years old. My sisters are six and four years old. My mother pays for my sisters school fees as she can only afford for one child.

“…but due to lack of school fees I dropped out.”

I was in primary two at a primary school in the village but due to lack of school fees I dropped out. It was my father paying my fees, before I left and joined my mother in Katanga. I was registered with Hope for Life Katanga after my mother talking to Hope for life management. I love this organization because it supports me am now in a creative learning center and it taught us how to read and write and my teachers are a blessing because they like us so much.

“This has given me the hope of studying in order to become a pilot in future which is my dream.”

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I am so happy because I managed to meet other children with the same problems like mine; they are friendly and very willing to study. This has given me the hope of studying in order to become a pilot in future which is my dream. Yellow, pink and  red are my favorite colors and I love them so much because they looks nice, my best dish is rice and chicken, chips, irish potatoes  plus Macrons, I like playing games netball and nobbling.

HFL Social Worker: “When Arua came to the CLC class, she was interested in reading and writing and she was very fast in relating with her fellow children. She has learnt a lot during her time here at the CLC and is now ready for a sponsor to take her to formal school.”

Arua and the other girls in the CLC are now looking for sponsors to take them to a school in the city, for £20/month, to further their education. If you are interested in sponsoring a child with us then send us an email at hopeforlifekatanga@gmail.com.

* We have changed names and edited the written story for child protection reasons, otherwise the story was either written by Arua or transcribed by one of our social workers.

Desire’s story

My name is  Desire* and I am 7 years  old. I have lived in Katanga for 7 years to date. I live  with my father and mother, who are the sole bread earners  of my family. My father works with a bus company and my mother fries samosas. I have six siblings, five girls and one boy.

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I was a primary three pupil at a primary school in the city but due to lack of school fees I dropped out.  I am now getting formal education from CLC (Creative Learning Centre). I got this opportunity through some lady who works with Hope for Life Katanga who came and briefed my mother about Hope for life and the following day I was taken to the Hope for Life office in Katanga where I was registered.

“This has given me the hope of studying in order to get a bright future.”

I love this organization because it teaches children how to read and write. I am  so happy because I  managed to meet other children with the same problem like mine, they are friendly and very willing to study. This has given me the hope of studying in order to get a bright future. I walk 2 kilometers from Katanga every morning before nine o’clock to the CLC to study.

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Purple is my favorite color and I like it so much because it looks nice, my best dish is chips and chicken plus rice, I like playing games like running and nobbling but I love singing and therefore I would like to become a singer one day in future .

HFL Social Worker: “At first Desire was shy and could be so quiet in class but the Hope for Life staff have managed to catch her up in class and help her to relate with other pupils. Now she has settled into class we are so pleased with the progress she is making.”

Desire and the other girls in the CLC are now looking for sponsors to take them to a school in the city, for £20/month, to further their education. If you are interested in sponsoring a child with us then send us an email at hopeforlifekatanga@gmail.com.

* We have changed names and edited the written story for child protection reasons, otherwise the story was either written by Desire or transcribed by one of our social workers.

Livelihoods trainings

1912426_612963828799362_7887867242914372173_oOur Livelihoods team have been busy in training many classes of people in both tailoring and soap making.

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Sharon, our tailor trainer, prepares the machines we sent out last year from the UK, before one of her classes.

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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.

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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.

10257440_612963695466042_3130321883809790481_o We will soon be introducing trainings in craft making, candle making and cookery into our Livelihoods program.

Keep posted for more pictures and stories…

 

Livelihoods building renovation

Since early 2013 it was quickly becoming clear that we needed to purchase another building for our Livelihoods work. We had been using our Education building for parent workshops and classes but we were struggling to fit these classes alongside the children’s catch up classes.

So during last year we bought another building in Katanga that we have now started to renovate for our Livelihoods project. We want to be able to empower adults in the community in earning a self sustaining income. We currently do this by teaching money management, business management and practical workshops that will help them to find new skills or further existing skills, which will assist individuals in running successful businesses.

We want to have a purpose built building that will be able to strengthen our Livelihoods work and be able to transform the lives of many lives in Katanga.

Below are a few pictures of the renovation so far…

The pictures below shows some of the Livelihoods work in action, whether it is in the blue catch up classes, on the pathways of Katanga or in individuals homes.

We are so excited for the potential that this building offers. The women, who we have given loans to, are now using the building to repay their loans and are also just as excited as we are to set up the sewing machines in the new building.

Our Livelihoods officer has busy planning and organising all the activities/workshops/trainings etc. that we will offer to Katanga residents when the building is complete, workshops including tailoring, catering, craft making, hairdressing.

We are now eagerly waiting tables, chairs, blackboards and cupboards so we can start using the building properly.

Thanks to all those who have helped donate towards the work we are doing in Katanga.

This New Year

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.

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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.

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As we have had 10 children sponsored, we have welcomed 10 more children into our catch up classes.

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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.

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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.

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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 hopeforlifekatanga@gmail.com. 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.

Christmas Cards, T-shirts & Hand-made, Ugandan Craft

We have a range of products, which you can see in the pictures below, that we are selling to raise money for the charity. 100% of certain products, the craft bowls, bags and mats, go straight to the Ugandan women who made them. Check out the prices and details on how you can order some products below the pictures

T shirts (Sizes L Youth – L Adult available) – £8

Mat – £6

Bowls – £7

Bags – £8

Christmas cards – 5 for £3.50 or 10 for £5

If you would like to buy any of the products above then fill out the form below and we will get back to you to arrange payment and delivery*.

*If the item requires a Courier service then a posting cost will apply, depending on quantity of items purchased. If you live within 10-15 miles of Bristol, England then we will drop the products off for free.

2 years and counting…

It has now been 2 years since Megan and I first went to Uganda, met some Ugandan friends and started a little project; teaching 15 children, aged between 4-12, in a Slum that is home to 20,000 people.

With an amazing team of Ugandans, we sought to think about our vision for Katanga, working out what it would take to help this community to get out of poverty and live self sustainably.

Fast forward to November 2013 and we have bought buildings, hired some people, continuing to provide education, giving out loans and see many families take their next steps towards getting out of poverty.

We feel like it’s time to have an evening filled with videos, pictures and stories from the past 2 years, talk about where we are currently and our aims and vision for the next coming couple of years.

We understand that we have lots of friends and supporters who are in various countries around the world but if you find yourself in or around Nailsea (near Bristol, England) on the 25th of November then why not come join us.

The event will be at Nailsea school (BS48 2HN) from 8pm.

If your on Facebook, why not RSVP on our Facebook event page. You don’t need to RSVP to come along but if you do it would be very helpful. If you are not on Facebook then you can fill out the little RSVP below.

Hope to see you on the 25th.

We’re hiring!

We are currently looking for 2 more people to join our team in Katanga, Uganda, a teacher and a livelihoods manager. The deadline for both jobs being 1st November.

It was September 2011 when Megan and I first went to Katanga, September 2012 when we became registered as a small charity, before registering as a charity with the UK Charity Commission in September 2013.

Over this time we have been able to work with our friends in Katanga, providing education in our catch up classes, loans and training in our livelihoods program, health care and have made advances in improving the water and sanitation.

All of the work we have been doing over the past 2 years, has meant we need to employee a couple more people, to continue to support more and more families in Katanga.

We are so excited for the change these 2 people will bring to the development of Katanga.

Push-ups with chickens

Our good friend Steve is running the Robin Hood Half Marathon on the 29th of September in aid of Hope for Life.

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He has been training hard over the past few months to really push at getting a good finishing time and raise some money for the work we do in Katanga, Uganda.

As well as putting himself through this endurance test, both he and his wife have given the use of their outhouse, for Hope for Life charity use.

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(Megan and Steve painting the outhouse before we move our desks in…)

We really appreciate the support they have given to us as a charity, so it would be amazing if you would like to help us show our appreciation to Steve and his wife, by sponsoring Steve’s half marathon run, all you need to do is follow the link below and click donate.

Sponsorship however big or small would be amazing.

Steve’s Half Marathon Fundraising Page

Thanks all.

Day 10 – Wonderworld

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…

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 8 – Livelihoods Loans

Our aim for the Livelihoods project is to ensure that whole families are supported, through a sustainable income. The main way we do this is by ultimately giving out interest free loans, so they are able to start their business and over time will be in a position were they can support their own families education, medical and nutritional needs.

Livelihoods Training

We started with the parents in classes, teaching money management and basic business skills. We want to be responsible with the money we are giving as a loan, this involves teaching the women an understanding of businesses, how they can grow and be sustainable.

We then ask the women to write a business plan, describing what they want their business to be, including how much it will cost to start, keep the business going and how much profits they aim to receive each day. Our Hope for Life team then look over each business plan to see if they are realistic, or whether we can work with them on improving their plan to become more sustainable.

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After writing the business plan is practical workshops. Most of the women already have the skill set to start their business but we help those who don’t yet have the skills and those who want to improve.

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After all of this previous work we will give out the loans they have requested, and we have agreed upon, in their business plan.

We gave out loans to 6 women in February 2013 and by the time we went back to Uganda to visit them in June, they were half way through the repayment of their loans; the video below is catching up with one of the women to see how their business is going, check it out… (be sure to watch it in HD and to see the children at the end)