July 2021 Update
June 2021. Covid 19 has spread
Uganda is suffering a new wave of Covid 19. There is another national lockdown. Schools are closed from June 7th to July 19th. People from the cities returned to the villages, bringing the virus. It has now spread to all the villages in Nebbi Diocese. In Uganda they have five variants: Chinese, South African, Nigerian, British and Indian. Fr. Denis and Fr. Charles ask for our prayers and continue to pray for us.
This is an annual report on what happened in 2020.
This year the proposed project was solar lighting for St. Thomas Aquinas secondary school, Akanyo, but covid intervened. Here, fundraising events could not be held and in Uganda, schools were closed before January term ended. In Nebbi diocese, the rains washed away crops and some houses, food shortages developed and prices rose. It was particularly difficult for people in the villages. The trustees changed the purpose of the charity to include giving humanitarian aid, by adding the following sentence.
For the public benefit the relief of and assistance to people in need in Nebbi Diocese, Uganda, who are the victims of war or natural disaster,trouble, or catastrophe in particular by the supply of food, clothing and other necessities.
In August, we embarked on fundraising by an appeal at St. Gregory's parish, Cheltenham, an appeal to our regular standing order donors and an appeal to friends and family through our personal Facebook accounts. To accept donations we set up a campaign on Virgin Money Giving using our account.
We raised £2000 and sent it in August, but there continued to be shortages. We asked permission of the regular donors, whose donations are for school fees, to use those donations for aid to the people while the schools were closed. Many responded, so more aid was given to the people. But the shortages continued. We appealed again and also appealed to a charity which operates in Uganda and had some unrestricted funds, Farmers Overseas Action Group, who gave us £1000. Two school years returned in September, so some school fee grants were made and there was some leftover for aid. Donations continued to come in and we sent two more grants. In total, we granted aid of £12434 up to Christmas.
We go into 2021 expecting the need for humanitarian aid to continue and possibly the other school years will return also. So there will be a continuing need for school fee grants and appeals for aid or for capital works for schools.
Regular standing order donations held up and we continue to use these, along with the Gift Aid, for school fees for secondary students. We helped 32 students in the two years that returned for September term. The fees were much higher than average because of exam fees and covid arrangements.
Angal Parish - April 2021
Solar Lighting for St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, Akanyo
Our Uganda trustees, Fr. Charles and Fr. Denis, have selected this as the highest priority project for this year.
St. Thomas Aquinas school is a mixed secondary boarding school of up to 350 students, going up to ‘O’ level following a curriculum based on the English system. After the lockdown, year groups have been returning slowly. First, the final year of 46 in January . Then the year before of 59 in March. Next on the 12th April, senior one class reported, and they are 95. The senior two report last on the 31st May and they are 85.
Having lighting enables students to study at night. At present the students use simple torches, and, those who can’t afford them, use the poor man’s lamp made out of empty insecticide tin and powered with a mixture of diesel and paraffin, the smoke from which, often inhaled, is a potential danger to the throat and lungs.
In addition, the solar power system is an aid for teaching physics students about electricity. The power can be used for charging mobile devices for education and to provide additional income for the school. The exterior lighting improves security. When converted to mains, the power can be used for running computers, printers, TV screens, DVD players,……Once there is a stable, reliable power source, the school will run computer lessons too.
The lighting system will require 30 solar panels and batteries, 8 controllers and two inverters with 30 switches and 70 bulbs of various types. The total cost would be about £7000. We have about £2000 saved up, so we need to raise about £5000.
Any contribution you can make is much appreciated. Donations can be made in the parish projects envelopes, box ticked for Angal, or online via the donations page of the charity website, supportingugandaneducation.org.uk or contact Lindsay Read.
If you can’t have solar panels where you live, why not help someone else to have them.