Coronavirus Update

We have just received this latest report from UWCM on the COVID 19 situation in Uganda:

President Museveni provided a new timeline as the country continues to lift the lock down. He said that, “Apart from social distancing and other measures, the biggest safety measure is putting on the right masks. Therefore, the directive of the easing of the lockdown is to have compulsory wearing of masks for all adults and children above 6 years”.
Continue reading “Coronavirus Update”

Coronavirus Pandemic

As in so many countries around the world, the Ugandan government has closed all schools, banned all mass gatherings, public transport (including bicycle boda-bodas) and non-essential travel and there is a strict curfew in place. These restrictions have just been extended to 5th May. As a result, all UWCM community activities have been suspended and staff are working from home where possible.

We are keeping in close email contact with the staff at UWCM and last week they reported that the government have begun distributing food and essential items eg maize flour, beans, sugar, soap, cooking oil etc to people living in Kampala and the surrounding suburbs who are on low incomes or with no salaries, and that it will eventually spread to the whole country. However, UWCM anticipate that this will take a long time and that not all vulnerable people outside of these areas will have access to this package – particularly those in the communities in and around Mbale where they work. UWCM are trusting that local groups eg churches, NGOs and volunteers will also play their part in helping support those in greatest need and staff will resume their work in the communities as soon as the restrictions are lifted.

We are continuing to support UWCM staff with their salaries and are in regular email contact and will respond to any emergency requests as appropriate. Thankfully, so far at the time of writing, there are very few confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the country and no deaths.

See here  for latest BBC news on the situation in Uganda.

In memory of Mr Denis Butt OBE & Mrs Dorothea Butt

Tree Planting Ceremony In memory of Mr Denis Butt O.B.E. & Mrs Dorothea Butt

Denis & Dorothea Butt spent many happy years of their early married life in Uganda where their three children, Adrian, Helen & Martyn, were born. Denis worked as a Researcher in Crop Disease at the Kwanda Research Station and his specialist interest in coffee took him to the Mount Elgon area. They returned to England in 1966 but never lost their love of Africa.
Dorothea was a professional singer and after her death in August 2002, Denis arranged musical concerts in her memory to raise money for disadvantaged children in Uganda. Denis was always passionate about children’s education and so the donations sent to Uganda Women Concern Ministry were used to provide academic or skills-based training to many AIDS orphans who would otherwise have had no hope of an education and a tough future.
Over the years, Denis continued to support UWCM through Uganda Concern UK but sadly, he died on 26th January 2019 (his 85th birthday). However, Denis had not forgotten his links with Uganda and the family informed us that he had left a generous gift in his will to UCUK. In keeping with Denis’s belief in the importance of education, his legacy is currently being used to fund the senior school fees of several orphaned teenagers who have no other family support.
Denis & Dorothea’s daughter, Helen, discussed the possibility of something in memory of her parents and during our visit to Uganda in January 2020, close to the first anniversary of Denis’s death, two Jacaranda saplings were planted in the grounds of UWCM’s offices. Helen had donated a beautiful plaque which was placed alongside the trees after a special time of prayer & reflection. Mabel, one of Denis’s beneficiaries from the early 2000’s, was able to attend and plant one of the trees. She testified to the great impact the Butt’s donations had made to her life and how it enabled her to go to university and qualify as an engineer!

Update on Water Project

10 x water tanks were delivered to members of Namisindwa CMT at the end of 2019 and UWCM told us that   ‘activities in the center of Namisindwa almost came to a standstill as people came to see something they have never seen before! ‘ 

“We have one point where we get water from and it is very far from where I live, but since I got this water tank it has not only helped my family but many families around. Sometimes the water can get finished the same day but when there is continuous rain it only takes about 20 minutes to fill up and life is made easier.  I have become a blessing to many people in this are.  May God bless UWCM.” Alice, a widow and member of Namisindwa CMT

Please click HERE to learn more about our Rainwater Harvesting Project which is being supported by Kenn Road Methodist Church in Clevedon  

 

First Impressions of Uganda

Here are some thoughts from three members of our group for whom this was their first visit to Uganda:


Muzungu, Muzungu!!! The children shout excitedly from the side of the red dusty earth track with massive pot holes that rock the jeep from side to side. The countryside is beautiful, lush green, plantains, bananas, avocados and massive jackfruit hang from the trees. We travel high up into the mountains visiting remote villages where UWCM visit on a regular basis. As we get near we hear the wonderful singing and that lovely ululation, a strange howling sound, then we see the women and children dancing and cheering, just for us!! We are greeted with hugs and ‘special’ handshakes the children, so beautiful, are so pleased to welcome us, tears fill my eyes, already that red dust has got into my eyes and indeed my heart ! Penny Sims

I have been coming to talks about UWCM for approximately 20 years and have always wanted to go to Uganda. But I have never quite understood what I would be able to do if I went. Well this year I made it!!!
I feel very privileged to have been part of this year’s team. And no – I have not been able ‘to do’ very much BUT I have received SO MUCH. It has been an opportunity to see the hands, heart, ears, eyes and feet of Jesus at work. It is a very humbling experience to see those folk with very little supporting others with even less in a wholehearted way. Everything is surrounded by prayer and there are a lot of smiles. UWCM do amazing work within the poorest of communities and it is a real privilege to have visited them. Carolyn Waite

It does tear at the heart strings and there is so, so much need here, and you have to ask yourself, where do you start. It is incredibly overwhelming. What I do know is that I have to start somewhere, and just starting makes a difference. And they are so incredibly grateful just for any small gesture or help you give. It is incredibly humbling. By helping one person or family, it radiates like heat out to others in the family or community. We are doing it all through Uganda Women Concern Ministry, which means the coordinators give the food/money/clothing/ to where it is most needed. Pete O’Keeffe

NAKATSI – BUDUDA

Thursday  –  We visited Nakatsi Landslide Women’s Association in Bududa to help with the ‘mudding’ of a new shelter (traditional home) which the group had built for Olive and Andrew.    Their home had been washed away in the landslides towards the end of 2019 and, tragically, 4 of their 7 children also died.    Our funding enabled UWCM to buy a piece of land for them and also paid for the iron sheets for the roof plus doors, windows, nails etc.   

We then spent some time teaching the women how to make reusable sanitary pads which are in great demand as girls often have to miss school for a few days each month due to lack of protection.    We bought 2 new sewing machines for the groups and had taken out all the necessary materials with us.     We had also taken out several hundred pairs of knickers which were distributed to each of the groups we visited as women and girls in these remote communities often only have 1 pair of knickers which are kept for special occasions.

Finally, here are a couple of photographs of our group together with the staff of UWCM:

Terry Game, Bridget Withell, Sarah Parker, Graham Roberts,
Carolyn Waite, Penny Sims, Pete & Janelle O’Keeffe

Rainwater Harvesting Project

We visited a community on Tuesday to see one of the 1000L rainwater harvesting tanks which we are instrumental in installing.   These tanks are making a big difference to families as during the rainy season they fill up within about half an hour and supply water for cooking, washing, bathing and cleaning for several days depending on how many neighbours use it!      Each tank costs approximately £100 and to qualify for a tank each household has to provide the concrete base, gutters and pipe work.      

Please click on the following link to learn more about our Rainwater Harvesting Project which is being supported by Kenn Road Methodist Church in Clevedon  

https://ugandaconcernuk.org/projects/rainwater-harvesting/

Terry Game, Bridget Withell, Sarah Parker, Graham Roberts,
Carolyn Waite, Penny Sims, Pete & Janelle O’Keeffe

PETWA / 4WD – 20th January 2020

Another busy day today visiting women’s groups and being blown away by the sheer volume of needs that they have to contend with in their communities.     We visited a lady called Petwa who has 6 children and who we first met 2 years ago when we helped the group with the construction of a new shelter (home) for Petwa.     It was lovely to be able to go back and see her and her children and although they still have many needs, at least they now have a home of their own and the group continue to support and encourage her.

We drove higher up into the foothills of mount Elgon to visit other families and then on the way home one of our vehicles got stuck in a ditch but luckily a group of men from the nearby village came to our rescue and helped push it out!    

This is something which happens occasionally and which highlighted to us the importance of UWCM having and maintaining a 4W drive vehicle – especially in the rainy season when some of these roads become impassable.

Terry Game, Bridget Withell, Sarah Parker, Graham Roberts,
Carolyn Waite, Penny Sims, Pete & Janelle O’Keeffe

Community Visit – 19th Jan 2020

We were taken to visit a lady called Skovia today who is 24 years old and a Thalidomide victim.  She has 3 young children and is living in this small home – 1 bedroom with a mattress for her and her children and she cooks in the other small room. 

Ramba Shifubi Women’s Group are building a new home for Skovia and it should be completed by March as it is constructed in layers and each layer has to dry completely before the next is added.    But they can’t afford to provide the roof timbers or the iron sheets for the roof or the wooden shutters for the windows and doors.   

This is just one of many individual needs we have seen in our first week and it is overwhelming at times.   But it is so humbling and inspiring to witness first-hand the care and compassion shown by UWCM staff and the volunteer Women’s Groups who are working so hard to care for people like Skovia and makes us determined to do all we can to support them.

Terry Game, Bridget Withell, Sarah Parker, Graham Roberts,
Carolyn Waite, Penny Sims, Pete & Janelle O’Keeffe