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.

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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.

A few pictures from Katanga, Uganda so far.

Just wanted to share with you all a few pictures from my time in Katanga, Uganda so far. I upload quite a lot of pictures onto our Facebook page, so if you want to keep up to date with what we are doing in Katanga then check it out. Be sure to ‘Like’ the page.

Finally a charity

We are now a registered charity with the Charity Commission (No. 1153897).

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This is a big moment for Megan and I, for our Ugandan Co-Founders, our trustees and Hope for Life Katanga as a charity.

Candlelit meeting

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.

Livelihoods

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.

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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.

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.

Sewing Machines Arriving in Uganda

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We are very excited to see the sewing machines have arrived in Uganda and made it safely into Hope for Life’s project centre. In March 2013 we were kindly donated some singer sewing machines by Duncan Hill, who is based up north in the UK. He contacted Hope for Life after collecting some old singer sewing machines that needed some TLC, once he had managed to get them back into working order Duncan decided he wanted to give them a new home with a charity who would be able to use them to benefit a group of people. Duncan was kind enough to bring them to Bristol and teach our team of people how to use, maintain and fix the machines, so we can pass our knowledge onto the ladies in our Livelihoods project in Katanga.

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Three of our good friends were going to go to Uganda in August 2013, to take on the roll of teaching the Ugandan ladies how to use, maintain and fix the machines. The machines went to their house for a few month so they could continue to practice their skills so they didn’t forget before getting to Uganda. We managed to book the sewing machines onto a flight to get them to Uganda. This is all Thanks to many people donating specially for this cause.

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We also collected many donations of material, pins, tailors chalk, needle threaders, tape measures, cotton thread, sewing patterns and un-pickers. We ended up sending the sewing machines out with a fantastic variety of start up equipment to get them going on their sewing adventure. A huge Thank You goes out to everyone who donated equipment and money to send the machines, without you it couldn’t have happened.

The machines arrived in Uganda safely, after hours of carefully wrapping the parts so they wouldn’t get damaged if they were thrown, dumped and squashed through their trip to Uganda.

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One of our Ugandan team, Francis, worked hard on getting the machines from the airport into the care of Hope for Life. Just as things were coming to a tight time schedule, the machines were released from the airport the day before Beth, Ellie and Laura where due to teach the ladies.

Beth, Ellie and Laura arrived meeting Francis and the machines which were still packaged. Their first job was to unpack the machines, which was harder that you would expect as we packed them so well.

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As the children were on school holidays for 2 weeks the ladies were able to use the space where the children usually have their lessons. The new building, which we bought, is not renovated yet and has no furniture in but will be used for livelihoods projects like sewing. After the girls met the mums/careers of the children in our school, they set to work teaching the ladies the basics of the machines and how to use them.

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The girls said they were surprised how quickly they picked it all up. First, sewing basic lines, then embroidering their names onto some material.

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Then, make a bag with 2 handles on, and put their embroided names onto the bags they have just made. Not bad for total beginners to complete in 2 days.

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They were measuring, chalking the outlines, pinning material together, cutting the material and sewing it together, which is all very impressive. As a few people were sharing each machine, they were all helping when someone got stuck, or both learning when Beth, Ellie or Laura came over to help.

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The Ladies concentrated hard and put a lot of effort into learning, there is still more practice needed to neaten things up but they have some skills they will be able to further and try new things. The Ladies will get the opportunity to receive a loan from Hope for Life if they wish to start sewing as a business, they may work together or individually, making and/or fixing clothes and accessories for individuals, schools or companies. We will update you on how things go and what route they decided to take but for now we can be happy that these ladies now have hope that there is something for them to focus towards and dream about for their future.

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You never know one day you could be putting a order in for an amazing top or bag they have made using these sewing machines.

Massive thanks to everyone who made this achievable and a special Thank you to Beth, Ellie and Laura for giving up their time to come to Hope for Life Katanga and for teaching these lovely Ladies.

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Can you Sponsor a Child?

In Uganda, education is not free, on top of school fees, families must pay for uniforms, books, stationery and more. This is simply not feasible for many families in low income areas like the community of Katanga.

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We currently run catch-up classes throughout the week, for the children whose parents can’t afford for them to go to school. All of the children we work with, either have never been to school or have been to school for a term or two. As a result we work with children who, for example, are 13, 14, 15 years old but intellectually they would go into a class of 5/6 years olds because they have had no real previous education. So we work with these children, getting them to a level where they are able to pass the entrance exams and enter school.

We have set up a sponsorship program to help our children move into a school in Kampala. The program is based on the premise that every child has a right to an education and a hope for a better future.

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Sponsoring a child costs £20 per month and includes:

  • School fees to enable them to attend school.
  • School uniform including sports wear, shoe polish and a school bag.
  • School essentials: pens, pencils, ruler, maths set etc.
  • School lunch fees.
  • An emergency medical fund to help pay for emergency hospital fees and other necessary items e.g. Mosquito nets.
  • Sending letters to the sponsor.

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What we at Hope for Life Katanga will continue to do with the children who are sponsored:

  • The children will join us at our weekend reading and homework club where they will have the work space, the light and atmosphere to concentrate.
  • As the child continues to attend the weekend reading and homework class, we will continue to assess how each child is getting on in and out of school life. As a result of this assessment we will be able to support them efficiently. This will also be a time they can write to the sponsor to tell you how they are getting on themselves.

Our child sponsorship program will hopefully only last 4 – 7 years per child (this does not mean you need to commit for this amount of time). This is because, alongside providing children with education, we will be training and resourcing the parents in money-making skills and money management so in the future they will be able to support their own children. Click here to find out more information on family work.

Livelihoods

If you feel you are able to sponsor a child for £20 a month then please fill out the form below…

  

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 9 – New Building

For the past 5 months we have been talking about the necessity of buying another building in Katanga specifically for our Livelihoods program.

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We currently have a single building that we use throughout the week for our children’s classrooms. The women, in our Livelihoods program, currently come in to repay their loans weekly and to have a open mentoring session, to see how their businesses are growing if there is any advice we are able to give. We also run adult literacy and numeracy classes, as well as practical workshops in these classrooms.

Livelihoods Training

We currently work with 20+ women in our Livelihoods program and this number is constantly growing. We have given loans to 6 women to start/further their own businesses and we are now in a position to give more loans to a further 6 women.

We are so pleased to tell you that we have now bought another building within Katanga. We will use this new building as a resource centre for our Livelihoods classes and workshops.

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We have recently been given 8 sewing machines that we are going to fly out to Katanga in the beginning of August. These machines will be permanently set up in the building, so that women can come an work together to earn money for their families.

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Now that we have acquired the building, there is a little building work that needs to be completed before we move in. We are hoping that by the time the sewing machines arrive on the 14th August we will have a renovated building ready for our Livelihoods work.     

Make sure you keep an eye out for pictures over the next month, of work that we will be doing.

Sending Singer sewing machines to Uganda

This year we received a very kind donation of 8 singer, sewing machines for us to take out to Uganda. We run a Livelihoods project for adults in Katanga slum, assisting them in starting businesses, though training, support and the giving of loans, so they are able to provide a sustainable income for their family.

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Our next aim is to send these machines out to Uganda and to do this we need £400.

Can you help donate towards sending the machines?

The best way to donate is through our Golden Giving page. Even what you feel is a small amount of money will go along way to helping us get these machines to Uganda. We will post lots of pictures of the machines as they arrive in Uganda, including pictures of the women in our Livelihoods program learning to use the machines.

Thanks for your help…

Donate by clicking the following link http://www.goldengiving.com/charity/hope-for-life-katanga

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.

Livelihoods mat making

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)