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HAPPY NEW YEAR and read all about 2015

December 31, 2015 Leave a comment

Nursery kids July 2015

Wishing all our friends and supporters all the very best for a Happy and Prosperous 2016

Click here to read our 2015 newsletter and find what we have been doing in Uganda

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Let’s Go 4 It! Development of Tourist Markets

February 3, 2015 Leave a comment

Our Crafts Section was chosen to participate in a training and networking programme run between 12th August and 6th November last year. This programme was part of the United Nations Development Programme and was facilitated by the Uganda Tourist Board and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Our Operations Manager, George Kakonge, and our Crafts Administration Manager, Cleophas Asiimwe, attended the course which took place all day, every Thursday at Cephas Inn, Kabale.

Business links

George has written this report of his experience:

“The major expectations of the training were:

  1. A) Gaining Experience and knowledge sharing.
  2. B) Devising solutions for some of the current challenges and problems faced by our businesses
  3. C) Getting practical and workable ideas of improving and growing business.

Some of the Topics which were helpful to participants included:

  1. Business planning.
  2. Accounting and bookkeeping basics.
  3. Identifying and developing business opportunities.
  4. Marketing and Networking for success.

All this was aiming to: 

  • Business growth
  • Unlocking potential for tourism business
  • Business linkages and networking
  • And skills development.

The training was run in an interactive style and everyone was involved in contributing ideas or skills that you may have.

At one point I was chosen to talk about the importance of branding, I did some research and I presented it the participants.

Many other entrepreneurs were invited to talk about some topics or testimonies on how their businesses have developed.

In general the program was very good and inspiring. Personally I benefited and I got a new understanding of what the tourism industry is and its contribution to the economy of our society, country and the whole world in general.

However I felt like some of the topics were not given enough time or attention like, the business planning and skill development.  They put more emphasis on Business linkages and net working.”

Good feedback George – Thank you.

Here are George and Cleophas with their certificates!

Certificates1Certificates

Last year’s news and Happy New Year!

January 10, 2014 Leave a comment

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.

Machine Maintenance

Machine Maintenance

CRAFTS

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.

Overland Shop

The New Overland Craft Shop

Overland Shop

Our New Overland Craft Shop

We also opened a brand new craft shop at the Lakeview Coffee House at Kachwekano which we are extremely pleased and excited about.


EDUCATION

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.

Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends : a scrapbook arrives!

Reading

New Books from Pelican Post

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.

Teaching Aids

Teaching Aids

HEALTH CARE

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.

Maternity Ward East side

Maternity Ward East side

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.

Nyakasiru latrines

Nyakasiru latrines


EDIRISA UK OPERATIONS

George

George

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. 

Staff Christmas lunch

Staff Christmas lunch

HAPPY NEW YEAR  FROM EVERYONE AT EDIRISA UK –  UGANDA

Island Experience at Tom’s Homestay

March 3, 2013 Leave a comment
Tom's Homestay

Tom’s Homestay

Tom’s Homestay is a community overnight visit hosted by the family of Tom Karemire on Habukomi Island (Lake Bunyonyi) and organised by Edirisa Uganda. It has to be booked in advance, as it includes much more than sleeping on a remote island – it is a full-blown cultural tour into the traditional life of the Bakiga.

Tom was born on the lake, as was his father, he has been the Night Watchman at the Heart of Edirisa in Bufuka for almost 10 years.  A former prison guard he has many interesting stories to tell.  He is 68 and has 6 children, all boys, one unfortunately died on the lake returning from an election polling station late at night. Very few of the locals swim and the lake does claim many lives during the course of a year. This drives home the importance of swimming lessons for the children, which we try to provide every day at the Heart.

Tom

Tom

Edirisa has been bringing trekkers to Tom’s since 2005 and during these years he has developed a brilliant campsite. In 2013 it is finally being made accessible to those guests who might not opt for hiking but still crave for a unique island experience. For those more active  you have a choice of  combining it with a 5-hour Lake Bunyonyi trek, a 1-day Kabale-Bunyonyi trek or a 1-day Canoe Trekking.

View of Habukomi Island

View of Habukomi Island

The full-board homestay experience includes a professional guide, a dugout ride to the island and back, a tour of the island by Tom, camping near his house in spacious tents, a great local dinner enriched by crayfish, a performance of an enanga (traditional string instrument) player and the island dance troupe, stories near the campfire, breakfast with local honey, bananas and chapatis.

Campfire

Campfire

In case camping isn’t your cup of tea a night boat ride back to your lodge an be arranged – but then you will miss the beautiful, relaxed Habukomi morning.

For bookings call the Edirisa Home in Kabale on +256 75 2558 222 or send an email to home@edirisa.org .

We’re looking forward to celebrating Tom’s 10th Anniversary with him next year!

Back to School and More!

September 8, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s back to school time in Uganda and the landscape is once again scattered with school children marching along the red, dusty roads and the air is filled with the sound of drums calling the students to assembly. For Edirisa it means welcoming back our nursery teachers and students, but sadly saying goodbye to our summer volunteers, as many of them return home for University.
It has been a busy and fun-filled summer, with lots going on, especially over at Teach Inn Bufuka. Bristol Volunteer Development Association (BVDA) volunteers canoed over to Bwama every day to help put the finishing touches to the clinic. Education program volunteers saw significant progress in the students’ reading abilities at Kyabahinga primary school (using the successful “Butterfly Book” phonics program by Irina Turk). They also ran a summer swim school in our newly refurbished swimming pool. Intern Jair and cyclist Graham travelled around Kabale’s remote villages with our Tough Stuff and Sun King solar products, talking to locals about their solar needs, making affordable payment plans and installing the panels.

Installing a panel

Installing a panel

The Edirisa Crafts Team has also grown over the past months and is still growing! We have welcomed our new Crafts Manager, Kirsty McMahon, to Uganda and have employed two Ugandan interns over the summer holidays. The staff have been working hard to stock our brand new crafts shop at Bunyonyi Overland Resort, meanwhile sponsored student Ahimbisbwe Laban has done a great job of selling it all!

Overland Shop

Overland Shop

The women in the basket weaving groups have also seen a big increase in business since we opened the shop – to the point that one woman broke into spontaneous dance at the weekly meeting!

Bukinda Craft ladies and Jair

Bukinda Craft ladies and Jair

Over at SNEC Kitanga the school harvested 15 kilos of beans, continuing to utilise the donation of gardening tools and seeds supplied by a volunteer. The harvest has helped to feed the children who remained at school during the holidays. Unfortunately for some of our students going home is too dangerous, as some uneducated families still abuse children with disabilities.

Children at SNEC starting the garden

Children at SNEC starting the garden

Other harvests this summer include five kilograms of honey out at our beekeeping project in Kamuronko. After a celebratory taste it was packed off to the market to make a profit for the beekeepers and school. We’re hoping to see our harvest increase in the New Year and have now donated two additional hives to the students at Bunyonyi Vocational School.

Finally, the end of this summer saw the completion of the building work at our new clinic on Bwama Island. The community are very excited to see it and are already inundating staff with questions about the facility and opening times. Before we do open however we still have work to complete inside the building, as regards equipment, water tank and solar panels. We’re still fundraising for this stage so if you want to help us out it will be greatly appreciated!

Creativity, fun, sports and more with Carpe Diem Education Volunteers

April 14, 2012 1 comment

Carpe Diem Education (www.carpediemeducation.org) are regular visitors to Edirisa, stopping in Kabale twice a year, each with a different group, as part of their East African semester. A semester with Carpe Diem provides students with a unique opportunity to study and volunteer abroad.  Volunteering, community and cultural exchange are central to Edirisa UK and Carpe Diem,  and it was great to welcome another group this March.

A visit to Kitanga’s Special Needs Education Center (SNEC) has been on Carpe Diems itinerary for the last two semesters and is becoming a favourite amongst it’s students. Days at SNEC were split between classroom renovations and creative workshops. Due to the fast expansion of the school in recent years there are more classes than classrooms at SNEC, requiring different abilities and ages to be taught in the same classroom. Edirisa UK with the help of Carpe Diem  have provided partitions for two classrooms to ensure a more practical learning environment. With the help of students and teachers  Carpe Diem painted educational material specific to different classes on each side of the wooden partitions, creating a fun and informative backdrop for each lesson.

Bead Making

Bead Making

 

Creative workshops in the afternoons provided an opportunity to work closely with the small classes of students, each with specific learning difficulties. The theme this year was jewellery and our visitors taught and assisted the SNEC students to make their own necklaces and bracelets using hand made beads of rolled paper. With these beads now fashion statements in Europe and America it was a great workshop for Carpe Diem to lead and a bright, colourful, fun and very sticky afternoon for the SNEC students.

 

The second half of Carpe Diem’s visit took the team to the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi, and the ‘Heart’ of Edirisa. First on the itinerary was a day spent with one of Edirisa UK’s women’s craft groups at Rubona. This gave the students a chance to look over the plans for the future Rubona development – an orphanage, nursery school and craft workshop at the top of the hill over looking the lake – and to experience a day in a craft woman’s life. The craft lesson started with the ladies teaching the group two simple bracelet designs; one using banana fibers and one with raffia grass. After the students mastered these (some better than others!) it was time to learn to use the pedal powered sewing machine. This caused some problems for the students used to automatic electronic machines, but proved to be a fascinating learning experience.

Lake Bunyonyi

Lake Bunyonyi

After a deserved weekend relaxing and visiting islands around the lake, the final task for the volunteers was to run the annual Edirisa Nursery School sports days, over 2 days, at Bufuka and Kyabahinga Nursery Schools. The nursery students were split into teams, each with an American team captain and over the course of the morning competed against each other in a number of grueling relay races.

An obstacle course kicked off proceedings at both schools which saw the toddlers negotiating a tricky arrangement of balancing beams, tables to crawl under, and benches to jump. Then came an egg (ball) and spoon race, a hilarious three-legged race and a very excitable sack race! Although one team from each school had to be declared a winner, a great time was had by everyone and the teams went home satisfied with their performances.

Obstacle Course

Obstacle Course

The following evening we bade our visitors farewell, and wished them a safe onward journey to Kampala. Here in Kabale, we’re already looking forward to welcoming a new group in the ‘fall’.

Happy International Women’s Day

March 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Here at Edirisa UK we love the Ugandan culture and we’re working hard to promote and preserve it. Scattered right across the country are groups of hard working women creating beautiful traditional crafts to sell to both locals and, of course, tourists. One thing people always notice about the people of Uganda are the brightly coloured clothes and beautiful fabric prints, or Kitengye, as they are called in Uganda. We’ve been working with various women’s craft groups across the Kabale region in South West Uganda in an effort to boost their sales, shake up the products on offer and improve quality…and why? To give these women a sense of pride, a sustainable income and to promote the diverse and colourful culture that Uganda has to offer.

Vian and Rose working together

Vian and Rose working together

In February we welcomed Rose Tushabe as our new resident tailor. She took over from Vian (a student tailor doing an internship with us over the Christmas period) in February and has recently held workshops with women’s craft groups in Rubona (Lake Bunyonyi) and Ryabirengye (Bukinda) teaching sewing skills. Although proficient in traditional basket making these women had never sewed before and had difficulty even getting the needle to move! But Rose had everything in hand and by the end of the workshop they had picked up the basics are were able to make purses and simple bags.

“Going to the women in the villages and teaching them in sewing was a great experience for me. The women were very welcoming, interested and eager to learn new things. This workshop was very good for the community but also for the women’s personal development.“ (Tailor Rose Tushabe)

Learning to Sew

Learning to Sew

During the workshop the women also had the opportunity to improve their basket making skills and were introduced to new woven products and taught how to improve the quality of their goods.

We place great importance on the role of women in African communities. Besides being responsible for domestic work and raising children, women are often the main provider of the family. With two sewing machines currently at Rubona and one at Ryabirengye (donated by Edirisa UK) the women’s groups in rural communities are getting the opportunity to develop a new source of income for themselves and their families.

This is just the beginning for these workshops and we plan to continue introducing craft women to different kinds of Kitengye products and encourage them to realise their own potential.

Rubona Women sewing training

Rubona Women sewing training