Uganda Visit July 2011
‘Friends..’ in Talks about Crisis. What Crisis?
On Sunday the 17th July, Liz and I arrived once again in Uganda. Thanks to British Airways free baggage allowance, we came loaded down, as usual, with the toys, clothes and shoes, kindly donated by our ‘Friends’ in the UK. Clothing the children in the community of Namuwongo, which Ray of Hope serves, is an ongoing work that we delight in being a part of. However, this year’s trip and it’s usual activities was overshadowed by the loss of a major funding stream for Ray of Hope, which looked likely to leave a gaping hole in their finances for the coming year. Of particular concern was how we would find the funding to pay the wages of the teachers at Ray of Hope School.
Although the teachers receive very low wages, even by Ugandan standards, we knew that we were looking at a deficit of at least £5,000 for this next year. Now Liz and I know that many of our generous Friends do not share our Christian faith, but just a week or so before we left for Uganda, a Friend who had no idea of our predicament presented us with a cheque for just that sum! You may call it a co-incidence, but we see God’s provision in it.
When we looked at the figures we found that we could actually raise the wages of the five members of the teaching staff who were struggling to make ends meet. Even so, the average wage for our teachers is still under £30 a week. Nonetheless, they are very grateful that ‘Friends..‘ has been able to meet the shortfall and protect their jobs, and are especially grateful for the increase at a time when all prices are rising fast in Uganda.
Just as last year, it was very gratifying to see the children enjoying their mid-day meal at school. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, giving the children a meal at school relieves the pressure on their parents to find food for them and allows them to direct their meagre income to other pressing needs, like paying the rent. The children have more energy and must be healthier for the nutrition that they now get daily. Our Feeding Programme is just about self- supporting now thanks to those Friends who pay monthly into this work. Liz and I only wish that you could see the effect of your generosity.
The need to find sponsors for the children of Ray of Hope School as they graduate into Secondary education is never ending. We will always need to find people with a heart for children willing to commit themselves for 5-6 years to see a child through Secondary School, and longer if the child can qualify for university. Sponsorship is very rewardingf or the sponsor and life-changing for the child. Having spoken with Emily on this matter, we have decided to change the process, and in future I will be able to present sponsors with the details of a number of children who need to be sponsored. If you think you might like to sponsor a child, please get in touch.