The doctors and medics from the University of Slovenia Tropical Medical School have been working hard at our clinic on Bwama Island and in addition are also running small outreach clinics and health workshops in the community.
Last week they visited The Full Gospel Church in Kabale. The Church run a street children rehabilitation program in partnership with Koinonia ministries.They have 15 children who live at the church full-time and 10 or more who come during the day.
The day the doctors arrived there were a total of 27 children and they were taught about how to prevent diseases by practicing good hygiene, dental hygiene, nutrition, and HIV prevention.
All the children were medically examined and treated where necessary, they had their teeth examined and 6 children had teeth extracted.
Everyone was given a tooth-brush and toothpaste and the project was giving de worming tablets for the children.
The doctors will be returning to do HIV testing next week.
Thanks to our Operations Manager, George, for organising this workshop and special thanks to the doctors.
Welcome to our first blog post of 2014!
2013 was a busy year and we are grateful to all our supporters for their generosity, to our staff in Uganda for their hard work and commitment and to the volunteers who have brought enthusiasm, ideas and energy and have undertaken a variety of tasks with relish.
Throughout the year we ran sewing workshops with the craftwomen’s groups in Bukinda and Rubona thanks to a grant from the Give a Hand Foundation. The women learnt how sew and were taught useful skills for maintaining and fixing their sewing machines.
For many years now we have run our own craft shop at the Bunyonyi Overland Resort. It’s been steadily growing in popularity and recently outgrew it’s kiosk! Consequently, a new shop was built giving us much more room to display the beautiful products being made locally by the women in our craft groups.
We also opened a brand new craft shop at the Lakeview Coffee House at Kachwekano which we are extremely pleased and excited about.
During the year our nursery school children enjoyed a variety of creative activities. They also received communication, in the form of scrap books, from their partner nurseries around the world who take part in our Circle of Friends programme, an initiative that is steadily growing. Our Circle of Friends links nurseries around the world to promote creativity and friendship through the sharing of information, cultures, ideas and friendship.
The children were also lucky enough to receive a shipment of story books from the charity Pelican Post who deliver books to disadvantaged children all over the world. The nursery children certainly enjoyed hearing the stories and looking at the colourful pictures.
Not to be left out, the teachers also participated in two nursery workshops organised by Alma Burciaga who was our Operations Manager up to September. She did a great job, ably supported by our Nursery Co-Ordinator, Ashaba Phionah. Teachers from our own 4 nursery schools were joined by teachers from the other 5 Ugandan nursery schools that are members of our Circle of Friends, it was a great opportunity for them to meet, share ideas and learn more about child centred methods of education. Alma left us to return to Mexico and we wish her all the best for the future.
The clinic on Bwama Island has been busy all year and the Slovenian Doctors have worked extremely hard getting everything organised. The maternity and overnight ward is almost finished and soon we will start constructing the new latrines and showers.
At Nyakasiru with a grant from Kitchen Table Charities Trust we have built a new 4 stance latrine at the primary school together with a new water tank – they are not quite finished yet but will be before the new term starts.
EDIRISA UK OPERATIONS
In August we welcomed a new Operations Manager. This is George Kakonge, he is married with 2 daughters and we hope he will enjoy working with us.
In September we said goodbye to Kirsty, our Crafts Development Manager who spent a hugely successful year with Edirisa UK, and in her place we welcomed Antonia who joined us in December from England. Antonia will be assisted by Sheryl, who comes to Uganda from Australia with her seven year old daughter.
We wish Kirsty well and hope our new arrivals Antonia and Sheryl enjoy their time with Edirisa UK.
THAT’S just a few of the things we’ve been up to this year. Christmas was celebrated with a lunch at the Lakeview Coffee House attended by 48 people – Edirisa UK’s 36 local staff, the District Education Officer, 2 of our local priests and other local partners.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM EVERYONE AT EDIRISA UK – UGANDA
We recently hosted 2 groups from Carpe Diem Education, Portland, Oregon at SNEC – our Special Needs Education Centre at Kitanga. Their Program Director, Adam Fischer, suggested that on this visit they should get involved in something a little more physical – as well as doing something with the kids. We hope they forgive him for the suggestion as we set them the task of creating a concrete pathway from the dormitories to the classroom so the kids who use wheelchairs can move about more easily. It was a tough task!
Here’s what George said:
“For us here what we thought was going to be a busy and stressful time turned out to be an enjoyable time. Both groups the Nkula and the Kifaru were all nice, hard working people. The first group were able to interact with the children more and painted the T.shirt for them. The work to dig the path was also done successfully. The length of the path that was made is 103 meters.”
“The second group however had a big challenge because mixing concrete became a really hard job. In Kabale town you can see a machine mixing those things but at SNEC those machines are not available.So the 2nd group members did their best and one thing I noticed was that both girls and boys were very strong and that surprised me!”
“The path is very important to the children as some of them really need it for wheel chairs and others now have a better place to walk. Some have to crawl on it which is better than using a muddy path.”
After their busy time at SNEC the groups had more physical activity – canoeing on Lake Bunyonyi and trekking through the mountains with Edirisa Canoe Treks - http://edirisa.org./?language=1&cat=27 - we hope they enjoyed themselves.
Huge THANKS to all the Carpe Diem students and their leaders – you make such a difference to the lives of the children at SNEC and we look forward to more groups next year!
The UnTOUCHables put the “FUN” into “FUNDRAISING” when they joined in the SFP Group CHALLENGE DAY
SFP GROUP set the teams a number of ridiculous challenges to raise money for various charities with the UnTOUCHables supporting Edirisa UK.
SFP Group is made up of six entities, Touch Financial, SFP Recoveries, SFP Forensics, SFP Property, SFP Datastore and SFP Restructuring Limited. They all joined forces for their very first charity event.
The UnTOUCHables was headed up by Edirisa UK’s trustee SIMON CARTER who is a director of Touch Financial. We would like to say a HUGE “THANK YOU” to all the team who helped to raise in excess of £2,000 for our projects.
That’s Simon, second from the right, with what looks like a walking stick! Great fun was had by all and they must have made a real spectacle on the Isle of Dogs! All the suited financial types must have wondered what on earth was going on. The challenge now is what to do next year!
Edirisa’s Circle of Friends is an initiative created to enhance nursery children’s knowledge of different cultures and create friendships with children from different parts of the world.
On Saturday 13th July in Kabale, Uganda, we held our first workshop day with the Ugandan members of our Circle of Friends. Two or three representatives from each nursery school attended, travelling from as far away as Mbale and Ntungamo, as much as 12 hours away by bus. Our Operations Manager, Alma Burciaga, led the workshop, ably supported by our Nursery Co-Ordinator, Ashaba Phionah. Mugayehwenki Richard,the local Education Officer, was very impressed with our work with the nurseries on child-centred teaching methods.
The day started with each member introducing themselves and participating in an “ice breaker” – this involved blindfolds, tasting and trying to describe different “Muzungu” (western) sweets. Liquorice wasn’t very popular and strawberry “starburst” proved the winner!
The morning continued with the following sessions: What is the Circle of Friends?; Child-centred teaching methods; Circle of Friends as a learning tool; Scrapbooks and how to use them in the classroom.
After a hearty Ugandan lunch we covered the topics: How to share with your partner school; nursery projects; members opinions on the Circle of Friends; the way forward.
The day was a huge success with everyone getting to know each other, learning new things and enjoying themselves. Teachers learned how to use different teaching aids and media to stimulate children’s imagination and creativity.
In the Edirisa-run nursery schools we are implementing the Learning Framework for Early Education issued by the Ugandan Government. This document provides basic guidance on how to work with children in 5 major areas, these being: maths; knowing my environment; language and creativity; taking care of myself; and relationship with others. Several of the nursery schools in the Circle had not heard of this framework and were able to obtain copies from Richard.
Next term we hope to host some of our members at our nursery schools in Bukinda for some classroom training.
During the night of 8th/9th June three of our trustees together with four other supporters pedalled 100km around London raising funds for us! Some cyclist set off from Alexandra Palace whilst others left from Crystal Palace – our guys went from Alexandra Palace.
How did they find it?? Would they do it again??
Observations from Simon Carter, Trustee :
- London is NOT FLAT!
- Are there more foxes than people in London?
- Do I look that stupid every time ‘I’ get drunk?
- Traffic lights….why?!
- Speed bumps – rubbish on the up hills, but make fantastic jumps on the downhills!
- Water breaks, missed two of them!
- Signage – took two wrong turns nearly ended up in Brighton at one point!
- 5 hours to complete…not bad for a first go.
Would I do it next year – DEFINITELY
Comments from Paul Mitcham – aka Ron:
- Cycling in central London at night is not for the faint-hearted.
- Despite the slight detours the route was really well marked out.
- The cobbled streets in Wapping are littered with bike busting pot-holes.
- Great atmosphere.
- Traffic lights are not your friends when you’re on a drop handlebar bike and clipped in shoes.
- Best bit – ‘Racing’ around Canary Wharf in the early hours on closed streets.
Given Simon’s apparent enthusiasm to do it all again then I would too.
Graham Carter who also participated in Edirisa’s “Challenge Africa” last year said this:
A great night out! I had one memorable moment when coming to a set of traffic lights at about 4am. The lights changed and three very drunk girls stepped into the road, I skidded to a halt coming to a stop as they were running back to the pavement shouting “no don’t stop keep going”! They then thanked me for actually managing to stop and cheered me on.
Tim Constable, Trustee, and also a Challenge Africa participant reported on facebook when he got home:
OK – well that’s over. Everything hurts. My toes hurt. Is that normal? Came home and hit the neurofen, bath, stella but to no avail so far. Wife unsympathetic!
Mark Shields said:
Thank you for the opportunity to take part in the Nightrider event, I had a fantastic time and hope that I can do it again next year. On the whole it was great fun though the last 20km were a little more challenging! We chatted to a couple of people at the finish whilst having a cup of tea, discussing how great it was to have finished, unfortunately it was only their halfway point! We felt pretty sorry for them.
Chris Mee, Trustee, and also a Challenge Africa participant:
It was a lot harder than I’d hoped and I definitely struggled for the last 20 miles at 4am in the morning!
Everyone agreed it had been a great experience so roll on Nightrider 2014!
Laura Cini, an ex Edirisa Volunteer, has been making a documentary about Punishment Island on Lake Bunyonyi. Here is her account of her experience:-
“Since I volunteered for Edirisa in 2009 to film a short documentary about crafts makers, my life has been haunted by an idea: documenting the story of Akampene. Akampene is a tiny island on Lake Bunyonyi in South-West Uganda where un-married, pregnant young women were abandoned by their fathers/brothers and left to die in an attempt to shun the shame they brought to their family. What struck me immediately was that nobody had tried to research the story before. The only further information I gleaned from the older members of the local Bunyonyi community was that on occasion poor men, unable to afford to ‘buy’ a wife, would pick up one that had been left on Akampene island. So, I decided to document the whole story.
Two years ago I convinced a camera operator to invest his time, and his equipment, in the crazy mission of finding survivors. Next, I wrote the script, which I developed in Nairobi thanks to a program run by European Media, and I spent a year looking for funds. The market is tough and no broadcaster or documentary foundation will come on board if they don’t see a rough cut. So last year we started another crazy adventure, crowd funding on the web (http://www.ulule.com/punishmentisland). In the end we managed to raise over €10.000 for the filming thanks to the generosity of our supporters.
In February this year we finally went to Lake Bunyonyi with an International crew plus two wonderful local translators. It was tough, from many points of view. Our first and greatest challenge was finding the women who had been left to die on Akampene Island. But find them we did. Then came the next challenge, convincing them to share the story. As it happened this was easier than I had anticipated! As the women listened to each other it was clear they found it easier to share their own experiences.
And so the next step is to edit a rough cut and present it to all broadcasters and foundations that expressed interest.
Now we face our next challenge. We need to raise money for the last part of production and post-production. “Punishment Island” won’t be a traditional documentary; the crazy difficulties experienced during research will be part of the narrative and the story will be reconstructed from a point of view inspired by the local animist traditions. Apart from concentrating on finishing the film, I am also thinking about an outreach campaign run by local teachers with screenings at local schools to spark off dialogue about equal rights. I wish the film to become a local educational tool focusing on gender issues and a way to raise public awareness about vulnerable women in remote parts of the world. If that would happen, this massive and crazy mission will have been worth it.”
We wish Laura every success and look forward to seeing the documentary.
“Punishment Island” is not Laura’s first documentary. As she mentioned in her account above, she worked with Edirisa on a Craft Documentary. In September 2012 a viewing was held in one of Edirisa UK’s nursery classrooms and the craft women involved travelled from all around Lake Bunyonyi to view Laura’s finished work. This was the first time most of them had ever seen themselves on film!