Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Christmas Cheer from Edirisa UK!

December 24, 2014 Leave a comment


Xmas Waves

Wishing all our supporters a Merry Christmas and a prosperous and joyful 2015.

Click here to read our Christmas newsletter and find out how our projects have been progressing over the past year.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tin Trunks and Teaching Aids

April 14, 2014 Leave a comment
Carpe Diem Group with the Classroom Aids they made

Carpe Diem Group with the Classroom Aids they made

During their recent visit to the Special Needs Education Centre in Kitanga the Carpe Diem Group from Portland, Oregon, USA made some very useful learning posters for the classrooms. Creative materials are scarce in Uganda so they had to use white sacks and they did an amazing job!











In addition they painted all the tin trunks for the dormitories. Some of the children had brought trunks from their homes but most had nowhere to keep their clothes or personal belongings. We provided the trunks and Carpe Diem provided the creativity! Now every child has their very own trunk with their name on it – colourfully painted by the students.










Once again we are very grateful to Carpe Diem for their continued support of the Special Needs Education Centre, we hope the group enjoyed their East African adventure and wish them all the best for the years ahead!

SAM_2795 cropped



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


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.


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!


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


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




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


Punishment Island – the documentary

April 9, 2013 3 comments

Laura Cini, an ex Edirisa Volunteer,  has been making a documentary about Punishment Island on Lake Bunyonyi. Here is her account of her experience:-

Punishment Island

Punishment Island

“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 ( 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.”

Laura (left) with some of her team

Laura (left) with some of her team

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!

Phionah laughing at herself

Phionah laughing at herself

Watching the video

Watching the video

Vocational School

November 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Edirisa UK have recently donated a sewing machine and knitting machine to a vocational school in Ngoma in Kabale District. The school was started by Richard Mugayehwenki who founded the Special Needs Education Centre in Kitanga that Edirisa UK supports.

Pupils greeting us when we visited in July 2012

Pupils greeting us when we visited in July 2012

Pupils at the school are taught various vocational skills including brickmaking, agriculture and car mechanics.

The brick making machine

With the new sewing and knitting machine they can now add tailoring to the curriculum and hopefully as the pupils skills improve we will be able to include the products they make in our craft shop.

Receiving the new machines

Receiving the new machines

Keep up the good work Richard!

Head of Nurseries writes about her experience in Kampala

November 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Recently our Head of Nurseries went to Kampala to the Acorns School to see different methods of teaching. Here is her report:

“Thanks very much for having thought of the idea of taking me to an international school. I was happy with them, and they tried their level best to help me achieve what I achieved through discussions with teachers, administrators and taking part in all school activities, including in classrooms as well as outside.

During that time I achieved the following:
– How to deal with water play during teaching and learning
– Sand play when outside
– Story telling by both learners, and teachers by using the available books and stories for them
– How to use and promote ‘Jolly Phonics’ (a book Phionah was given from the school – it includes rhymes/songs to teach each sound in the English language. We’ve photocopied it for each school and Phionah is introducing it to each teacher) in the schools, instead of teaching the alphabet letters.
– How to use time properly by joining break and snack time.
– Library use by all the classes.
– Displaying learners work during learning, rather than putting work made by teachers on walls.
– Teachers to be with learners all the time when at school, including inside and outside activities.
– How to make message books to ease communication between parents, teachers and administrators.

With all the above achievements I am now trying very hard to promote them in all of our schools.  I am even willing to help in the Primary school in the future, as I also visited the primary section of the international school. During the first week I was at Nakasero helping in the Nursery, second week at Bukoto with upper classes. I now have the knowledge on how the children can learn by using the available resources with the help of their teachers, especially on reading and writing.

Being creative

Being creative

This is to inform you that our four nursery schools are now using new methods of teaching and now there is a great change in all our schools.

Bufuka and Kyabahinga:
Now we use circle time instead of standing in lines, they use water play as a method, story telling by both learners and teachers. We joined break and snack time to save time. We use stickers to motivate the learners use of different learning materials in the schools and outside. ‘Jolly Phonics’ includes songs and actions to learn phonetics, and English is the second language, so learners are now trying to speak a little English. Next year children will start using the library and have swimming lessons and we will introduce message books.

Nyakasiru and Ryabirengye:
The schools are also doing well with the same activities because I visited each school to introduce them and my plan is to keep visiting to know what they’ll be doing. At these nurseries volunteers are also taking part because me and Lewis discussed with them, what we need from them and they are happy to take part in all school activities.

In all four schools, children and teachers are busy preparing for the top class graduation by learning songs, games and other activities. Teachers are now happy and working to achieve the best in future with our children.

Also, now teachers teach while in the circle with all the children sitting on mats. That is to say, that teachers are not expected to teach while standing in front of the children. When it is time for writing, drawing or colouring, students sit at the tables and benches.

Thanks very much for the great support towards the development of our nursery schools and I am trying my best to achieve more.”

In the New Year we hope teachers from the Acorns School will visit our nurseries in the Kabale District to help to build on Phionah’s experience.

Circle time outside

Circle time outside

This is a very exciting time for our nursery schools – for teachers and children!

Clinic on Bwama Island, Uganda

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment

The building for the outpatients clinic and accommodation for international doctors on Bwama Island is almost finished and the Slovenian volunteer doctors have started work!

In July and August six volunteers from BRISTOL UNIVERSITY bought paints and brushes and set about the mammoth task of painting inside and out. Every day they canoed over from the Bufuka peninsular to Bwama Island and got stuck in! The builders were still working so they started painting the doctors accommodation.

BVDA Volunteers with Graham Carter

BVDA Volunteers with Graham Carter

Massive thanks for all that hard work. The building is now awaiting the installation of the water harvesting tank, the required funds have been raised and work should start soon. Now we are busy raising funds for the solar installation.

Here are some recent photos of the clinic.

Just before the gutters went on

Just before the gutters went on

With gutters

With gutters

The waiting area needs some benches!

Waiting area

Waiting area

At the end of September we welcomed a new group of medical volunteers from Slovenia, who will be with us for one month and will help us to open the new clinic. The Section for Tropical Medicine at The University of Ljubljana has been sending volunteers to work at Bufuka for several years now and the clinic has been built to give them better working conditions and to improve patient care around Lake Bunyonyi. The Tropical Medicine School has partnered with us on this project and are responsible for furnishing and equipping the clinic.

The volunteers have moved some equipment and old solar panels from Bufuka over to the island and have had a taste of the work that went into the building; all the materials for the clinic – bricks, cement, hardcocre etc –  was taken by boat  across the lake and then carried up to the site. They had to do the same, all the medical equipment,  boxes of medicines, medical supplies, books, benches, tables, shelves and their luggage they carried over! By the end of the day everyone had had a good workout and was thoroughly tired of moving boxes. Well done for all that effort!

After that it was time for the government staff to move into the new clinic. They had been working from an old building on the island so moved all their equipment and medicines to the new building, ready to begin work with their Slovenian colleagues. Of course in true Ugandan style this move also called for a small celebratory party, with traditional food cooked by the local village women. The next day was spent unpacking and lots of cleaning!
Now the clinic is open the volunteers are spending their time between treating patients and managing carpenters, locksmiths and electricians. Some of the girls have even become tailors, sewing home made curtains (the eyes of all-too-curious school children are keen to see what the Muzungu are doing at all hours of the day!).

For now staff and volunteers at the Health Centre have opened two clinic rooms for wounds and bandages, a microscopy delivery room, and of course room for the reception of patients. The local staff are enjoying working with the volunteers and have excitedly discussed how “very experienced” they are, as well as being impressed that some are already learning the local language.

For us at Edirisa it’s very rewarding to see what was just an empty building a few weeks ago becoming a fully-fledged Health Centre.