May 2020: It is lovely to be able to share some happy news at this current time. We are delighted to bring the news that Linda has become a grandmother, with the safe arrival of her daughter's son Elisha. We wish the family good health and safety. Congratulations!
March 2020: The current pandemic of Covid 19 has halted our efforts for the moment, but we will maintain regular contact with our Ugandan friends and update our Facebook page as and when we are able to. Our message to everyone, not just our friends in Uganda, is to keep a social distance of at least 2m and wash your hands as frequently as possible. For our friends without the means to handwash, please look at our Facebook page and follow the instructions for making a Tippy Tap - it will save lives and help to protect you and your families from the spread of disease.
Please look after yourselves and your families and stay safe. In friendship across the World.
February 2020: The committee have come to the agreement that the Ugandan trustees of the school will take over the ownership and management of the site but on a smaller basis than previously planned. The current school buildings will continue to function with Linda as the headteacher and will continue to grow the school. We will do our best to support her in her efforts going forward.
The balance of the land will be sold in order to recoup the cost of the original buildings that were created. In this way there will still be a school for the community and the charity will be able to help other projects with the recovered finances.
January 2020: We wish all of our friends across the world a Happy New Year and hope that it will bring joy and contentment to you.
The School for Uganda Committee are considering all of their options and at the time of writing the site where the school was built is being valued in order to see what can be done to recover the situation. This may involve selling a part or all of the site to recoup the funds that have been negated by the destruction of the buildings. The school, as it is currently, is using the old original buildings where the goat shed used to be. For a clear idea of what the site looks like now please follow the link to see the drone footage taken by the land valuers in December 2019. We will post further news here as it is available.
July 2019: The headteacher of Hope and Joy school has informed us that the money received by her for the quarried soil is insufficient to complete the rebuilding of the 4 classroom block. She is requesting an additional £3000 in order to complete the build and re-locate the children from their temporary classroom accommodation. The way forward is currently being discussed by the School for Uganda Committee and we will bring you further news when it becomes available.
June 2019: Here is the report that was filed with our charity committee on returning home from the visit to the Hope and Joy project:
We arrived at Hope and Joy and were greeted by the children singing and clapping, which was a wonderful welcome. Before we were able to tour the rest of the 5 acre site, the head teacher asked to meet with us in a newly constructed office adjoining the old goat house - which is now refurbished as a basic classroom. The headteacher explained that she had faced many challenges and that the one thing she believed would help to develop the school numbers was to have a levelled playground. With this in mind she authorised the quarrying of topsoil in exchange for the playing field to be levelled. She then made the decision to permit further quarrying of the hillside in exchange for 'some improvements' to the school, which she was unable to define.
The quarrying she authorised became so extreme that the 4 classroom block, latrines and small office became 'unsafe for children because of the precipitous drop in front of the school buildings'. As a direct consequence of this the school has had to relocate to temporary buildings by the old goat house and all of the existing buildings developed by our charity have been demolished, effectively negating our work of the past 10 years.
The head teacher stated that the quarrying firm has paid her the money with which to rebuild the structures to their original design specifications, and work on the classroom block has begun. All of this was only discovered on our visit to Hope and Joy, and the head teacher had been too afeared to discuss her erroneous actions with us as they have led to the destruction of the existing school. The outcome of this is that the infrastructure we had provided is no longer there, the existing 5 acre site is effectively a terraced quarry and the rebuilding of the replacement school is underway.
The objective of our visit was to sign the project, which had comprised a 4 classroom block, office, toilet block, kitchen block and an additional 3 classroom block, over to the newly formed trustee committee. This action has taken place and the 7 trustees are now faced with the task of rebuilding the school whilst attempting to continue with the education of the children in the temporary accommodation by the old goat house.
Whilst I have no doubt in my mind that the head teacher had the best of intentions in deciding to authorize this quarrying, it has led to the current situation and she will now need to use the money she has received from the quarrying company to replace the buildings.
All future decisions regarding the management and development of the site will be made by the 7 trustees and a majority vote, which will prevent any such catastrophic unilateral decision being made in the future.
Personally this has been a shocking and extremely distressing visit, but we now need to look to the future as the money given to the head teacher facilitates the rebuild, which will hopefully become even better than the previous structures.We wish the trustees good luck in their new positions and ask that they support the head teacher in her efforts to correct the error she made.
May 2019: We have met with our Ugandan solicitors on May 31st and formally recognised the Trustee Committee that we have established, but it is with immense sadness that we arrived to find that our work over the past 10 years had been destroyed. We are back at the starting line again in needing to re-build the school structures. Please read the next update for details.
April 2019: We will be meeting with our Ugandan solicitors on May 31st to formally recognise the Trustee Committee that we are establishing. This is a huge moment for our charity as it allows the project to move forward in many ways.
April 2019 update: We are thrilled to say that we will be visiting the project (at our own expense) at the end of May 2019. We will bring you pictures and updates as soon as we return.