Mar 3, 2021

SAM's Amazing New Path and More Improvements!

On the road to Sam
On the road to Sam

Uganda is still in the grips of the global coronavirus pandemic, and SAM remains closed, but thanks to the continued support of our wonderful donors we have been able to continue our work with SAM. Vital support has been given to staff by paying them 70% of their salary, and we’ve been able to provide older pupils with online teaching and learning materials.

The primary and secondary schools partially reopened in October and welcomed back the students taking National Exams. On 1st April more classes will reopen on a staggered basis. At the moment the roadmap is unclear as to when day care centres and kindergartens will be able to reopen, although we are hoping that the children who were ready to start in the main primary school will be able to do so very soon.

Our dedicated teachers have continued following up on the children’s education progress by sending work to them online during the first lockdown. Children unable to access the internet but living close enough to the campus have started to have work delivered now that transport and essential workers have been allowed to resume working. Work for children living further away has been via the internet or collected by their parents. The SAM teachers have also been teaching and providing support to the younger children living on the campus and in the immediate neighbourhood.

A surprise awaits the children!

As mentioned in our September report, the maintenance team have been taking advantage of the quiet campus to do jobs that are very difficult or unsafe to do when so many children are around.  

We are really pleased to be able to report that a new path up to SAM from the main campus is nearing completion! This very steep path is the route up to SAM for the children and staff, and is also the back entrance to the campus that is used daily by staff and students of the primary and secondary schools. Patients attending the clinics on site also use it, and it used to be a grassy dirt track which would get very slippery whenever it rained.

The new path is 210 meters long and 2 meters wide, so a vehicle can now safely use it in an emergency. We have used paving stones that are hand made on site and then set into a concrete base. This is one of the best and most effective ways to construct paths in the tropical climate.

Wouldn’t it be great if this path could be finished before the children return?! Your support can help us get the job done and make a long-lasting impact.

Our total budget target for this work is £4,500. It costs £10, (€11, $13,25) per square meter of paving, so a kind gift to pay for just one meter of path will really make a lasting impact for everyone using the campus for years to come.

Next week GlobalGiving is hosting a 5 day ‘little x little’ matching campaign. Each donation up to $50, (or the first $50 of a larger amount) will receive a 50% match. BIG change can come from your little acts of kindness! Please be sure to tell your family and friends – GlobalGiving have promised that the matching funds will not run out – every single donation will go 50% further!

The campaign begins at 5 am GMT, (6.00 hrs. CET) on Monday 8th March and runs until midnight on Friday 12th March.

You can donate online any time during these 5 days at: www.globalgiving.org/42553

We will post a reminder on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kinderhulp-afrika

As we have said earlier, your support is helping us make improvements to the safely and wellbeing of our needy, vulnerable young children and their incredible staff at SAM, and to benefit everyone who uses the campus.

For more information visit our website for regular updates: https://www.kinderhulp-afrika.nl/en/

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the office via the website or myself personally, jill@kinderhulp-afrika.nl, I would love to hear from you. 

Walking up to Sam for the very first time!
Walking up to Sam for the very first time!
Happy faces and feet!
Happy faces and feet!
Road Under Construction, work nearly finished!
Road Under Construction, work nearly finished!
Little X Little flyer
Little X Little flyer
Nov 23, 2020

A Teacher's Story from Lockdown

Florence in Class at SAM.
Florence in Class at SAM.

A Teacher’s Story from Lockdown 

Like so many day-care centres and nursery schools across the world, our SAM buildings have been eerily quiet since the coronavirus pandemic lockdown began in March. Nothing has been allowed to open, not even for key workers’ children, so sadly we can’t bring you news of our children.

We can however bring you news from one of our brilliant and dedicated teachers - we currently have three former students working as qualified teachers at SAM. They were all selected solely on their qualifications and abilities, and we are delighted that for them as individuals, and us as an organisation, that they have come full circle with us.

Although we are currently unable to visit Uganda, Florence – one of our first teachers in post when SAM opened in September 2019, now tells us her lockdown story... so over to Florence: 

“We miss the children very much because it has now been a very long period. I'm afraid that they will forget a lot of things they have been taught in school and fall behind in their education. We tried with WhatsApp to send work to the children, but for the young children that is very difficult, they really just need a teacher! And not everyone has access to adequate internet. Power failures and unstable internet are part of daily life here.

As staff members of SAM, we enjoy the same benefits as the rest of the Kinderhulp Afrika’s employees at Children’s Welfare Mission and we are all very happy indeed that we still receive 70% of our salary.  I live on the school campus together with many other permanent staff members. We have a place to live, we are safe, our children have food, and we have access to medical care in the Clinic on the campus if we are sick. We are very grateful for this. I am happy to report that my partner and I and our two little girls have been safe and well during these difficult times. We have been able to see other staff members living on the campus and to help each other, although we have missed being able to go to the Church that has had to be closed. 

When I was 10 years old, I came to Children’s Welfare Mission. I was staying with extended family as both my parents had died. I should have gone into Primary Class P5, but the teachers put me in P3 because I had missed a lot of schooling and was unable to keep up. I settled in quickly and thought it was a very nice place to be and was proud of it. At home we were very poor, so it was a real difference to have a bed and regular meals. The rest of the family were jealous that I went to this school. I worked really hard in my lessons, my results improved and I passed primary school exams in P7. Primary school is compulsory in Uganda, although not every child gets the opportunity to complete and pass the national exams, so I was very fortunate to carry on to secondary school. The conditions were good, the teachers and staff very kind and supportive, and we had enough school materials and books.

When I finished S4 (‘O’ level), my sponsor family encouraged me to do a course. I wanted to continue with secondary school, do ‘A’ level and go to University, so I was not keen at first. However, I was persuaded to do a teaching course, and on completing that course I got a job right away! I had a place to live and I worked really hard.

Then I met my partner and we moved to another place. There we soon discovered it was very hard work, long hours, poor conditions, and our salaries weren’t paid every month.  It wasn't a nice place to live, certainly not for a young family.  Someone offered me a job in the Middle East, where I worked as a housekeeper with a family. This was a terrible time…I wanted to go back home, but that wasn't easy. After 3 months I was finally able to return home. 

I went back to the Mission and told them my story and then applied and got a job as a teacher for P1.  I was and am so very happy about this! I'm very proud  of this school. It's a very good place to work. In hindsight, I'm very happy that I had the opportunity to do the teaching course.  I really love primary school teaching and when the Day Care and Kindergarten opened, I was given the responsibility of leading the team at SAM.

I am really very grateful that my sponsor family gave me the wonderful opportunity to go to school and do the teacher training course. Their generosity helped change my life and now I am able to teach other sponsor children”.

Thank you to Florence for her story, I will let you know as soon as SAM can finally re-open their doors and the eerie silence is once again replaced by children’s laughter!

In the meantime, we do have a positive update from our Samaritan Primary and Namugongo Secondary Vocational School, which was selected to re-open in October for 220 pupils in their national exam years. We are delighted that children in Class P7, sitting Primary School Exams are back with us. We have also welcomed back students in Classes S3 (National Vocational Exams), S4 (‘O’ level) and S6 (‘A’ level), with the expectation that these exams will take place in March and April 2021. The rest of the education system should hopefully resume at the end of January, but of course nothing can be certain in these pandemic times!

FROM HELPLESS TO HOPEFUL...

Our organisation’s slogan is “from helpless to hopeful, give a child a chance!”, and I am sure you will agree that Florence’s story really epitomises this! Helping disadvantaged children like Florence, supporting her family and contributing to their wellbeing, and therefore to the local community, is why we all work so hard. In Uganda and in the office in the Netherlands, we are determined to keep on helping individuals and families in need, our young infants at SAM, the pupils in the primary and students in the secondary and vocational schools and all the staff and patients at the clinic. Working to bring our slogan to life and give it an even broader meaning!

Christmas Extra

With your fantastic support and generous donations, we have already been able to give an extra Emergency Aid Parcels to 100 of our children’s families to help them survive in lockdown.

We would now like to give all the families of our sponsor children and all the permanent staff members an extra Christmas Food Parcel to the value of €20. To do this we are asking our supporters to donate and help us achieve our target of 400 Christmas parcels, which will cost in total €8000, i.e. £7,150 or $9,500.

Worldwide Giving Tuesday – 1st December

It is wonderful to receive donations on any day, and on Tuesday 1st December they can go even further!

Our thanks to our fantastic platform GlobalGiving – it is participating in this year’s Giving Tuesday campaign and has ONE MILLION DOLLARS to share out proportionally to all its projects!

IF YOU CAN MAKE YOUR DONATION ON TUESDAY 1ST DECEMBER - IT WILL HELP SAM AND KINDERHULP-AFRIKA EARN A LARGER SUM FROM THE MILLION DOLLAR FUND! 

Click here to give: www.globalgiving.org/42553

 #GLOBALGIVING 42553, #MoveAMillion.

You can donate in $, £ or €!

Giving Tuesday lasts a full 24 hours and starts at midnight ET in the USA, 5am GMT in the UK, and 6am CET in Europe.

Corona proof  Christmas Presents!

This Christmas holiday season is going to be a little different  this year—but you can still share the joy of giving with GlobalGiving Gift Cards. If you are looking for Corona proof presents this Christmas, look no further! Why not consider sending a GlobalGiving Gift Card and ask the receiver to support SAM.

It’s easy! Just click this link: https://www.globalgiving.org/gifts/ to buy and send the cards digitally. The recipient can then choose which project to support, so it’s very important that you kindly ask them to donate their card to SAM! www.globalgiving.org/42553

  

Thank you!

Thank you for your support and interest during this very difficult year. 2020 will be a year none of us will forget in a hurry. If you can’t give now, we of course understand, and would be grateful if you can help us by sharing the link and telling your friends about the work we are doing and all that we are achieving in Uganda.

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of all the staff at SAM and Kinderhulp Afrika to wish to and your family a Very Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for a healthier, happier, and safer 2021!    For all of us, “FROM HELPLESS TO HOPEFUL”!

Jill van Leeuwen.

For more information visit our website: www.kinderhulp-afrika.nl/en/

Florence in the campus grounds.
Florence in the campus grounds.
Florence as a young girl in her Sunday best.
Florence as a young girl in her Sunday best.
Giving Tuesday flyer.
Giving Tuesday flyer.
Gift card flyer.
Gift card flyer.
Sep 14, 2020

SAM still in lockdown = closed for children but open for long lasting improvements!

This path needs improving!
This path needs improving!

In all the years since our charity opened her doors in 1993 there has never been such a long time without children on the campus. SAM is empty, no patter of toddlers feet in the corridors, no singing in the class rooms, nor happy children playing in the garden. Equally the two schools on the campus are also closed. Normally the longest school holiday is from the end of November to the end of January. During this time the maintenance team swings into action, checking each (class)room repairing things were necessary and applying a lick of paint here and there, so that everything is shipshape after the holidays. SAM’s staff have been checking SAM’s buildings and garden regularly and keeping the grass under control,  so that no snakes or other dangerous insects or animals can access causing possible disease or danger to the children when they finally return.   


However, since lockdown started in March,  we have utilised this extra time very well. The staff have been able to make renovations to the campus, erect new water tanks, improve and extend dormitories, complete the new house for the headmaster of SAM and the primary school, Joshua and his wife Mirjam and their daughter. See photographs.

Making SAM and the schools Corona Proof

In August the government set up a Corona inspectorate that has identified our organisation as one of the few educational institutes that will be able to reopen its doors when President Museveni finally gives the green light.

The staff have been working extremely hard to make sure that all the demands are implemented so that we are ready for opening. These are substantial demands and include.
  • Hand washing facilities at the entrance to the SAM and to each (class)room.
  • The water used must be drained away properly.
  • A health committee should be set up and a sick bay should be set up with a qualified nurse.
  • There must be social distancing in the classrooms.
  • Visitors must undergo health checks, non-contact thermometers, masks and face protectors must be used.

At the end of this report you can see photographs of the various improvements that have been made and one of the guards checking the temperature of a visitor. Realistically speaking, we are not expecting that SAM, nor the two schools on the campus, will resume normality and be able to fully open until next year, but we have to be ready just in case. These really are tense and unprecedented times for everyone!

SAM, closed for children but open for long lasting improvements!

We have also been taking advantage of the empty campus to do jobs that are very difficult and unsafe to do when so many children are around. One of the improvements we would very much like to carry out, now the lockdown looks likely to carry on for a while, is to make a paved path from the athletics field up to SAM. This very steep path is not only used by the children and staff of SAM but is also the back entrance to the compound and used daily by staff, students and patients attending the clinic. At the moment this path is just grassed over and it can get slippery when it rains and also when its extremely dry! The children’s shoes not only get ruined but it can be very dangerous indeed. It is so steep that in a heavy downpour the path quickly becomes impassable for pedestrians and vehicles, and the buildings therfeore inaccessible for several hours or even the whole day!  Our aim is to make a path 210 meters long and 2 meters wide, so that in an emergency a vehicle could get up. Like the path photographed below, we plan to use paving stones that are made by hand on site and then set in a concrete base. This is one of the best and most effective ways to construct paths in the tropical climate.

Would you help us to make the path? It has been budgeted at £4,500.

Next week GlobalGiving is hosting a week long “Little x little“ campaign whereby each donation up to $50, (or the first $50 of a larger amount) will receive a 50% match. This will help make your contribution go much further!

The campaign begins at 2pm GMT, (3 pm CET) on Monday 14th September and runs until midnight on Friday 18th September.

Donate within the above times at : www.globalgiving.org/42553

We will post a reminder on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kinderhulp-afrika

Your contribution helps!  As we said earlier, “we are closed for children but open for long lasting improvements!” Your donation will help enable us to make long lasting improvements to the safely and wellbeing of our needy, vulnerable young children and their incredible staff at SAM and also benefit the rest of the campus students, staff and at the clinic.

For more information visit our website for regularly updates: https://www.kinderhulp-afrika.nl/en/

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the office via the website or myself personally, jill@kinderhulp-afrika.nl, I would love to hear from you. 

Last but no least – Thank You

In the last report we mentioned a “Relief Fund” that was set up at the end of June. With your help we were able to help 100 families, where one or more of our sponsor children are housed, by means of a food package which had supplies for up to 2 months. We received such an incredible response that we are delighted to announce that we will be able to give each family a second package as the lockdown continues. This should keep them going till the end of the year. Here are three links to thank you videos from two of our primary school children who received emergency Food Aid packages,  Paul and Precious and from Joshua and Mirjam

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuREfyG-1CQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF_0vATcdFQ&feature=youtu.be

https://www.kinderhulp-afrika.nl/nl/crowdfunding/woonhuis-hoofd-basisschool

 

I’ll keep you posted!

I will post an update on the SAM project page as soon as the schools return or before Christmas!

Thanks again for your interest and invaluable support.

In the meantime stay safe and keep well.
Paving stones hand made on the campus.
Paving stones hand made on the campus.
A path we finished earlier!
A path we finished earlier!
Floods after one heavy downpour!
Floods after one heavy downpour!
Guards checking visitors
Guards checking visitors
Corona measures: water for handwashing
Corona measures: water for handwashing
Corona measures: safe drainage of water
Corona measures: safe drainage of water
Joshua and Mirjam
Joshua and Mirjam
Family receiving emergency supplies.
Family receiving emergency supplies.
 
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