‘Friends…’ putting more smiles on more faces and hope in more hearts.
We offer our Apologies
We offer our apologies to any who have logged on to the website this year and have not found anything current. We have experienced some difficulty with posting our updates, but hopefully that is now resolved, and we can bring you up to date.
What did we achieve in 2012?
Firstly, let’s just give you an overview of last year and all that we Friends were able to achieve together. In monetary terms, we were able to send out just over £22,000. As the sole major funding source for Ray of Hope School, that money paid the wages for all of the staff – from the Director and four teachers, to the social worker, cook and yard staff; nine local people in total. In addition, it met the cost of feeding the children – not only during school time, but also during the holiday periods as well! Believe it or not it went even further than this and paid the school fees of 43 children who have graduated from Ray of Hope School and are now in the state secondary school system.
I am sure that you will agree that the £22,000 went a very long way and achieved a great deal. The year came to a wonderful conclusion with ‘Friends..’ becoming a Registered Charity in November. This recognition will open doors for us now that we have the credibility that comes from being clearly held to account.
Our income in 2012 was just over £21,000, around half of which was for school fees. So, with just about half our year’s budget coming in by way of Direct Debits, and mostly tied to either funding school fees or paying for the feeding programme, that meant, and means, that we have to raise the other half as best as we can. In addition to some very generous gifts we have raised funds in a number of ways. We have sold craft goods brought back from the project and take what opportunities come our way to speak to groups of people in the hope of inspiring new friends. Individual friends have sought sponsorship for sporting events and others have held ‘bring and buy’ sales to raise funds. So, with just a shortfall of less than £1,000 between our income and expenditure we felt very blessed in 2012.
What challenges does 2013 hold for us?
Well, we are now well into this year and already have begun to address some pressing issues. We have authorised the purchase of equipment that will enable the women and mothers of the project to make fuel briquettes – wood is increasingly expensive to buy. This will not only provide a cheaper fuel for the school to use to prepare food, but will also enable the women to sell excess to the community and so supplement their meagre income. A decision taken by the trustees early in the year, was that we should increase the wages of our staff who are very much on the breadline themselves. We believe that it is important that we look after our staff as best we can and within our means; all too often staff working for charities can end up being taken advantage of, and we are determined this will not happen at Ray of Hope. Having said that, it should be made clear, that even by Ugandan standards, our teaching staff are still poorly paid. Other challenges that will have to be addressed this year include improving the sanitary arrangements and the cooking facilities at the school – more about this as things develop.
To all of our readers who are already our friends we say a big ‘Thank you’ – it is you, all together, that add up to a big blessing for the poorest of Kampala’s slum dwelling families. To any readers just browsing, if you are looking for a small community of people determined to make a difference in the lives of children who have nothing, then we would welcome you to our family of friends.