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Betty's wedding

Posted on October 19, 2017

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Betty – one of the longest-serving staff members at CoH Uganda – was married to her beloved Sam on Saturday at St. Andrew's cathedral in Mbale, Uganda. The wedding was officiated by the Bishop of Mbale diocese, Bishop Patrick Gidudu. 

We wish Betty and Sam every happiness in their new life together. They look happy, don’t they!

Betty is deputy manage of our welfare team, of which we are very proud. Team members carry out regular home visits to all our pupils and offer their families free social care, numeracy/literacy training, family planning and health awareness, which includes sanitation and hygiene, road safety and malaria control. As a result, mortality rates are being reduced, while sanitation and hygiene are dramatically improved.

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Introducing Betty... and Sam

Posted on October 13, 2017

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Welcome to Betty’s introduction! What’s that, you might ask… it’s the Ugandan form of a wedding engagement, and it’s a very special event.

Betty – who actually gets married this Saturday – is one of our longest-serving staff members at CoH Uganda, working in our welfare team as deputy manager. Here she is being introduced to the love of her life, Sam. 

Traditionally, introduction is when the groom’s family visits the bride’s family to introduce themselves. It’s also when a ‘price’ for the bride is agreed and paid – and then they carry away their bride to the groom’s village! These days the dowry price is usually agreed before the introduction (number of cows, goats, chicken, various other gifts) and, in this case as the couple are Christians, they wanted to wait for the church wedding before setting up home together.  

Sam’s family’s gifts included a fridge, boxes of soap, sacks of sugar, sacks of rice, money (in place of animals), 25kg of beef, hens, crates of sodas, matooke (massive bunch of savoury bananas) and clothes. Everyone had a great party and engagement rings were exchanged. Cake was cut and prayers and blessings offered. Of course, as Betty has worked with us for around nine years, many of our staff were there to join in the fun and make sure all arrangements were in place.

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Check out the impact of Child of Hope's Family Support team, seen in this 3-minute video. This work is provided entirely free for families of children at our school in the poverty-struck Namatala slum of eastern Uganda – where there is no other effective form of social support.

The parents (usually the mums) benefit hugely. We offer them lots of family support, training and encouragement through our welfare team. And if they would like to start a business, our IGA team trains them, gives them a start-up grant, and supports them long-term as they rise from the worst extremes of poverty.

And because Child of Hope’s work is holistic, everything we do is joined up and positively influences other aspects of our work. So, spiritual health affects mental health, which affects physical health. Physical health isn’t just down to our nurses, but the fact that a mum’s new business allows her to feed her children better, and that the welfare team visits her to make sure the children are being looked after at home. And when when children get good exam results, that’s been helped by mum being able to afford paraffin so the child has light to do their homework… and because the welfare team made sure there was a safe environment at home to study in.


Prospering with pigs

Posted on September 21, 2017

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With a large family to support and in her mid-fifties, Betty wondered what more she could do to secure a steady income. She owns some semi-permanent slum homes that bring her a modest rental income, but as a single mum living in the slum herself with many family members dependent upon her, the monthly family expenditure has always exceeded the rental income. 

Betty and pigs.jpgWell, on the advice of Child of Hope’s IGA team, a sceptical Betty bought four piglets as a further investment. The piglets prospered under her attentive care and, as adults, have produced a further fifteen piglets! Betty has sold two of the adults to supplement the family income and is excited by the prospect of extending her family’s prosperity – all thanks to the new piggery business. 

The Income Generating Activity scheme is bringing lasting change to numerous families in Namatala, lifting them from extremes of poverty to self-sufficiency. Could you help support the team that trains the mums with a £10 regular donation each month? If so, please click here!

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Nursery teamwork

Posted on September 18, 2017

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Our nursery teachers are pioneering an effective learning system for children that you won’t see in other nursery schools in Uganda.

On the whole, nursery education in Uganda involves children sitting in rows and repeating whatever the teacher says. They then struggle with a pencil and an exercise book for a bit, copying whatever shapes the teacher has put on the blackboard and then they go outside to go and play on the swings. But – thanks to input from various British education professionals that have helped us – that’s very different to what happens at Child of Hope!

Nursery group work-7.jpgIn our nursery, teachers use a highly-organised system of several different activities happening at the same time in the same class (and sometimes going outside for some activities) based around group work. This helps children with their social skills and at the same time encourages creativity. The various activities mean that usually there is something during every lesson which every child will be good at – and they will also have an activity that they find challenging. For example – some kids are good with written work, others are good with more practical playing skills, others are better at oral/listening activities. It also means that they don’t get bored!  

Of course, it does require the teacher to be super-organised ahead of every lesson, and needs extra adult help (teaching assistants) during the lesson to ensure all the groups are progressing well. The teacher then keeps an eye out for any particular children who are struggling in order to give them specialist attention. Our use of phonics is going particularly well.

Would you like to help fund one of our teachers? Click here for details.

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Sickle cell – the fight is on

Posted on September 7, 2017

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Two of our pupils, Andrew and Rachel, suffer from sickle cell disease, which affects the blood of some African children. It can cause anaemia which leads to terrible pain in the body and sadly often leads to an early death.

Rachel (6 years old) was diagnosed recently by our local friendly clinic run by a British GP. Now we ensure she receives daily dosage of folic acid to boost blood production in her body. She also joined our nutrition programme, giving her extra fruit, vegetables and carbs to give her the best chance. Even with this intervention, she occasionally becomes very sick and ends up admitted at Joy Hospice. 

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Andrew (13 years old) is currently in P6 (penultimate year of primary) and hopes to become a civil engineer when he grows up – helping to construct roads and build bridges in Uganda. He comes from a very poor family and was abandoned by his parents – he now stays with his Uncle who also struggles financially. Lately his sickle cell crises have been increasing in frequency and severity, requiring him to be admitted at JOY Hospice several times to be transfused with extra blood. Now we have started him on a drug called Hydroxyurea which should, in the long term, reduce the number of times he has to be transfused. We hope to start Rachel on this medication too. 

These drugs cost about £15 per month but we hope that, when Andrew starts his civil engineering job, he’ll be able to pay for them himself!

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Here’s a new video that lets you see into all the work Child of Hope does to help alleviate poverty in the Namatala slum. It’s more documentary in style than our usual videos (where you need to have a hankie ready!)… a great summary for anyone who hasn’t been to Uganda to see the work for yourself. You can see more videos on our video page.

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The Fixer

Posted on August 30, 2017

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Child of Hope primarily takes in nursery-age children, giving them support and education throughout their school life. Occasionally they step in to help older ones; here’s one of them…

Former street kid Elijah went to Mbale Secondary School, paid for by a local charity called Child Restoration Outreach (CRO). However, his funding ended at the equivalent of ‘O’ level, which didn’t give him a qualification for employment. So, at the age of 18, Child of Hope initially employed him as a classroom assistant in the nursery. He spent two years there, and then transferred to classroom assistant in the primary department for one year, which he really enjoyed.

However, Elijah always wanted to be an electrician, repairing appliances, so we paid for him to attend a three-year course with Christian Childcare Project (CCP) which includes vocational training. He is now in the middle of the second year and is already making great progress. 

So, when the washing machine at Bex and Moses’ home stopped working, Elijah dismantled it and – with help from his tutor – got it working again. While there he also fixed a table lamp and a kettle, both of which had also stopped working; and at the church he dismantled an old electric piano keyboard and managed to repair the keys on it that had broken. That is now being used alongside a new one that was recently donated to replace it. 

We love this… a young man originally with little or no prospect of a future has been transformed by the intervention of CRO and Child of Hope… and he is well on his way to becoming equipped to earn a good, honest living in his adult life.

 

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Wi-Fi boost

Posted on August 23, 2017

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We’ve beefed up our in-school Wi-Fi, which enables all the staff to access emails and the internet. This enhances their communication and knowledge for creating better (and more fun) lessons – and, importantly, it also helps our expanding family support team to co-ordinate and share information better.

Previously we just had one router based in the administration area which only covered that end of the building. Now, after installing three boosters, we now have Wi-Fi for the whole building and even up to 400m outside the school compound! 

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Getting a family back on the road

Posted on August 17, 2017

Margret Aisu-3.jpgWhen Margaret’s vegetable business no longer seemed to provide her family with enough money, our IGA team helped her find the solution and now she’s back on track!

Margaret, together with her husband and children, lives in a small hut about 200 yards from our school. She has been a part of our IGA programme since 2009, when we helped her to start up a vegetable stall in the local market. Over the years, this vegetable stall has provided them with a small but steady income.

Although the business seemed to be continuing on as usual, our eagle-eyed IGA staff noticed that, over a period of some months, Margaret was depositing less in her savings book than she had in previous years. This set off some alarm bells and we started to investigate to try and find out the cause. 

We knew that Margaret’s husband was in poor health and that Margaret was the main breadwinner in the family. Although her husband couldn’t work every day, he would occasionally ride an old motorbike, which he would use to earn a bit of extra money. But he had now completely stopped working due to his sickness and because the motorbike had a serious mechanical problem.

After some discussions with Margaret and her husband, and a careful inspection of the motorbike, we advised them to repair the bike and find someone who could be renting it from them. This advice was gratefully received and, after Margaret had made the necessary withdrawal from her savings book, we arranged for a trusted mechanic to come out and fix the bike. Within a couple of days, the repaired bike was back on the road, rented out, and is now bringing in a bit of extra money each week.

Margaret’s level of savings is now back up to their expected level and the smile is back on her face!

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