President's Charity 2018-19

The aim for my charity this year is to fund the building of a toilet block for girls at a RC secondary school in Uganda, both as it is required and because it will enable the school to qualify for State funding.

This provides an outline of the Parish, the schools and the UK based charity which will be used to route the money donated.

Why this charity? As President I wanted a charity which aligned with my personal interests. Thus, I was looking for one which combined Catholicism and Global Health and was specifically requested by the recipient (too often their views are ignored). I also wanted a route to ensure that the money donated was used for the intended purpose and that it was used for something we could “see”. My chosen charity meets these criteria and in addition meets global aspiration to educate women as the evidence is that to do so benefits the whole community.

Uganda

Uganda is an ex British Colony in East Africa with approximately 35 million inhabitants. Like many ex-colonies it has had a troubled history since independence and it remains underdeveloped with, for example, only 20% of households having access to electricity and only 30% of households have proper toilet facilities.

 

The Catholic Parish - Namunyumya Uganda

The Parish Priest is Fr Peter Mubiru who together with one other priest ministers to 27,000 Catholics (compared to 23,000 Anglicans) in an area of approximately 3,000 square kilometres. The parish has 65 outstations each with one catechist. The parish was initially developed by a Fr Jansen of the Mill Hill Missionaries who with his curate hand built the first school, St Michael’s Girl’s school and nursery which has 700 pupils. In addition, there is St Mulunba’s mixed primary school with 1,100 pupils and Bishop Williger’s Mixed Secondary School (see below).

Schools in Uganda do far more than they do in the UK, with for example a medical centre which provided inoculation, malaria testing and treatment and washable sanitary pads and school lunches. They also face other problems which in the UK we would not even think of, such as what to do with orphans during school holidays. The primary schools provide a good level of education. There is however a problem with secondary education.

Bishop WIlliger’s Mixed Secondary School

At present there are only 100 pupils at the secondary school, a completely inadequate match for the two primary schools of 1,800 pupils. Therefore, education for many stops after primary school.

Bishop Williger’s is a Government Exam Centre School but is not yet a Government aided school where teachers are paid for by the government. Until it becomes an aided school, pupils have to pay to attend.

One of the constraints in gaining state aided status is a lack of appropriate latrines. Currently there is only one block of latrines which are shared by male and female pupils and staff. Even the one block is structurally unsound and lacks appropriate plumbing.

My aim is thus to raise sufficient money to build a separate toilet block for the girls. We estimate that the cost of such a latrine block will be approximately £1,800

The Friends of St Michael’s Primary School

One of the issues affecting charitable giving to developing countries is to ensure that the money donated get to the right place and is used for the intended purpose. Some years ago, a UK based charity was set up to contribute to the development of St Michael’s primary school which is adjacent to Bishop Williger’s. The charity (registration number Charity no. 1132596) encompasses Bishop Williger’s within its charitable aims.

The charity is a small one, with no premises or UK overheads nor any paid employees. All Trustees are volunteers. The Trustee make annual visits at their expense annually to ensure that donations are spent appropriately (see www.fsmu.co.uk). The charity has been successful in raising money from organizations such as British Airways and Rotary in Morriston (Swansea). The intention is to donate the money to the Friends of St Michael School for the specific purpose of building a toilet block for the girls of Bishop Williger’s. Both Fr Peter and the Trustees of the Trust are supportive.