The power of partnership of Rotary clubs in north-east Scotland has helped to transform the lives of HIV orphans in Uganda.
The Little Angels’ School project has benefited from a co-ordinated effort among clubs based in District 1010 based in north-east Scotland.
The school is based in a town called Rukungiri, and the project was to build a dormitory, toilets and classroom to house 14 stigmatised orphans and disadvantaged children, many of whom had been sent to Little Angels by the local HIV clinic.
The school was founded by Rotarian Betty Muzanira, a Ugandan woman who was widowed in the forties who decided to set up a school where the very poor and those who were victims of HIV, could be cared for.
Initially, Betty was looking after the orphans in her own home without any support. However, she would never turn away any children.
Robbie Middleton, from Portlethen Rotary based seven miles south of Aberdeen, explained how they have had a close relationship with Kabale & District Rotary in Uganda for 23 years.
Working with James Ndomeirwe at the Ugandan club, the two Rotary clubs have forged an impressive partnership educating more than 300 children over more than two decades, some going onto further education and university.
In 2012, Bill and Lorraine Budge from the Budge Foundation became honorary members at Porthlethen, which set in train their first District grant-backed joint building venture, providing a girls’ dormitory for 50 children at the Amazing Love School catering for rescued street children in Uganda.
They then built a single story classroom at Little Angels, but foundations were put in place capable of taking further floors to accommodate homeless students who were living in the house and garden of Betty Muzanira next door.
And that’s when the next stage of the project kicked-off involving other Rotary clubs in Aberdeenshire.
“Eighteen months ago, the Budges conferred with me and stated that if Rotarians could raise £25,000, the Budge Foundation would pledge to pay the remainder, to put two further stories on to the building,” explained Robbie Middleton.
“The District 1010 Area 4 International Project committee adopted the plan and the clubs, working together, raised the £25,000 between January and November 2019, with the support of a District grant.
“The Budge part of funding was for the general contract in total, including a further floor of classrooms.
“The £25,000 raised by Rotary went to pay for much-needed dormitories for 30 boys and 30 girls, with a matron’s room and sick bay. A Rotary plaque stating this is shown on the dormitory level.”
Building work began at the turn of the year and was completed just before lock down was imposed in the area in March.
“The entire building project was completed within six months under the scrutiny of the local community building authority,” added Robbie.
“The buildings will be ready for pupils on their return. The orphans are still in the care of the school during this period.
“The success of this project shows what can be achieved when local Rotary clubs in Area 4 worked together fund-raising for joint projects.
“This was a new concept in District 1010 Area 4 and the project was selected from five submitted to the committee. You can achieve much greater things when you work together as clubs within Rotary.”