Monday, 29 October 2012

Dresses reach Katanga, Uganda

A few months ago I was delighted to be put in contact with Mark and Megan, a couple who live in the same small town as me who had set up a charity project in Katanga Slum, Uganda. Mark and Megan were returning to Uganda to visit the school project they had set up and were able to take some dresses and shorts with them. Before they left, I attended a presentation about Hope for Life Katanga, the charity they had set up. I was really impressed with what they were trying to achieve for the children who live in the slum. They had already set up a small informal school to help encourage children in the slum to engage with education as well as setting up a sponsorship programme to help them attend local schools. They were also setting up projects to support the parents in the slum to try and teach them to become self sufficient alongside looking at how best they could help with the provision of clean water for the slum. You can find out more about their latest trip on the Hope for Life Katanga website and facebook page. Its a really interesting diary of their time in Uganda and well worth a read.

Girls in their new dresses!

I thought I would share a bit of information about Katange from their website. "The community of Katanga is located two kilometres from Kampala’s city centre in Uganda. It is estimated that over 20,000 people live in the slum. With the slum located right in the city centre the cost of rent is expensive.  In a community where the average person lives on, or less than, 50p a day it means many can’t afford medical expenses, school fees and only have enough to feed the family a basic diet. Sanitation is also a big problem in Katanga with residents using the central stream that runs through the middle, as water to wash their clothes in, to cook their food with and to drink from. This is a serious issue regarding that it is the same water that people wash in, wash bikes in and is often used as a toilet. The stream is fairly stagnant so is an environment which harbours various water diseases that will affect locals. Katanga has 4 toilet blocks in the whole of the slum which people have to pay for. So because of the cost many don’t use these toilet blocks.

Mark and Megan were able to distribute dresses and shorts to local children in their newly refurbished school building.

In Uganda, education is not free, on top of school fees, families must pay for transport, to and from school, uniforms, books, stationery and more. This is simply not feasible for many families in low income areas like the community of Katanga. Mark and Megan have bought a new school and community building in the slum where they are currently teaching the children informally in a free school, so they can reach a level where they can attend a local private school.

Mark and Megan were able to take some of the children they teach out to visit a local zoo during their trip. For many of the children this would be the first time they had left the slum.

You might notice that the children are all wearing their new 'best' clothes!


I am so impressed with what Mark and Megan have achieved in such a short space of time. It just goes to show that individuals can make a huge difference. Please take a look at their website and facebook page. Its so interesting to hear about their time in Uganda and their plans for the future. If you would like to get more involved, they are also looking for people to sponsor children. This means the children attending their school can move on to a more formal education which also releases a space for another child into their school.

Alex, James and Christine are all currently looking for sponsorship. To find out more about what your sponsorship money would pay for please take a look here.