A group of 17 Rotarians and volunteers have returned from a two-week mission to Uganda where they have been busy making lives a little easier for the children in the African country.
They were based at Kamuzinda Children’s Village, near Masaka, a home for over 300 orphaned, homeless or destitute children in the care of the Molly and Paul Childcare Foundation.
The group, led by Rotarian Liz Tonge, was made up of Ormskirk Clocktower members from West Lancashire, as well as Rotary members from the Cowny-based Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr clubs in North Wales, together with supporters from Christchurch, Aughton, and other friends.
They travelled together with 33 suitcases containing donated shoes, school textbooks, baby quilts, medicine and clothes, as well as a wheelchair for one of the students there who is a victim of polio.
The Rotarians also carried with them over £12,000 which had been collected through fundraising events and donations from families and friends.
Whilst in Uganda, the group funded many projects. They repaired two boreholes, lifelines for clean water, laid a new floor, painted classrooms, provided desks and supplied guttering and a new watertank to enable handwashing in the primary school.
The group also bought ten computers for the high school and visited the poor in the community to distribute food parcels and clothes.
They also provided feminine hygiene bags, supported by the Days for Girls Charity, for the older students who are often forced to miss school for a few days each month due to lack of sanitary protection.
Remarkably, the Rotarians from England and Wales even bought two dairy cows to supplement the children’s diet.
Supporters from Christchurch also funded the building of a new kitchen.
Among the group were several teachers who spent time teaching, whilst others mended uniforms.
Liz Tonge said that a highlight of the trip was having enough donated shoes to supply every one of the children, many of whom were barefoot, with a pair of shoes for school.
However, the key project for the group was to help the building of a much needed new home for forty teenage boys.
This home was the result of a successful District grant by Rotary International, together with match funding by Ormskirk Clocktower Rotary Club, and huge support from friends.
“Previously the boys were cramped in two small, dark rooms, and some were forced to share beds,” explained Liz.
“Now they have three large dormitories offering light and space, together with a communal area, and even electricity.
“We were also able to purchase new bunkbeds, mattresses and mosquito nets.”
The building has been named Ormskirk Home, and Liz reported that plans are being hatched to return next year to continue their work in Uganda.
She added: “Together we’ve made a huge difference to hundreds of young lives.”