In 2012 we opened a clinic on Bwama Island on Lake Bunyonyi in south west Uganda, which is operated in partnership with the Tropical Diseases Section of the Faculty of Medicine at the University. Before this the nearest medical facility was over 10km away in Kabale. The clinic has already made a big impact on the local community. It is totally free of charge and is the major primary care provider in the Lake area. In the year ended 30th June 2016 there were 41,906 patients treated, 115 babies delivered and 820 dental patients seen. It has become a vital facility.
But there is no housing for staff.
The clinic is centrally located on an island in the lake so that it is accessible to all the communities around. The main form of transport in the area is by canoe. With no housing for staff it is difficult to provide medical services out of hours, e.g. should a patient fall ill over night or a lady go into labour. The overnight ward has not even opened yet due to lack of housing. There is little local accommodation available and we face staff attraction and retention issues.
We want to fix this situation so that the clinic is well staffed and can operate to its full capacity.
Under the direction of Professor Anja Planiscek, architecture Masters student Danaja Vastic will design and supervise the build of the staff housing complex. Danaja and three of her fellow students will travel to Uganda in late June to commence the building work. Take a look at the first draft of the plans.
Danaja Vastic is doing her Masters at the university and this project will form part of her finals. The designs will incorporate local materials and innovative ideas. A local builder and local workers will assist in the build. This is a project that can be completed in stages and as the health centre grows we will be able to add more housing units.
We have already raised £13,000 but we need £30,000. This is a huge challenge but we are positive!
If we don’t raise the full amount we will build what we can. The more money we raise the more houses we can build. Any extra we raise will enable us to put in solar panels. So every contribution, however small, will improve the situation at the clinic.
Please help us to raise the funds for this project. Your support is so important and even the smallest contribution is welcome. Thank you.
You can read the full annual report of the clinic here.
Short report from the medical doctors from Slovenia who worked at the Bwama Health Centre.
The Bwama Health Centre is a fine example of international cooperation, in this case, the cooperation of Slovenian doctors and nurses that work within the section of tropical medicine of the medical faculty of the University of Ljubljana, Edirisa UK and the Ugandan public health services. Staff from Slovenia have been coming regularly to this part of Uganda since 2006, trying to provide a steady and quality health service for the people living in the vicinity of Lake Bunyonyi.
Daily we examined on average forty to fifty patients during our regular hours and emergency cases and deliveries at other times in the day or night. In 2015 over 3,000 adults and 8,000 children were examined and 96 babies delivered.
Our working day starts with taking patients’ vitals and writing them in the patients books. The work then continues in our examination rooms, where we talk to and examine our patients with the help of translators. When we reach a diagnosis, the patient goes to the pharmacy, gets written into the registry for the purposes of the local district health officer, and receives the proper medicine. If they require additional treatment or diagnostics, unavailable at our health centre, they are referred to Kabale regional hospital – 10 km away. During our time at the island we have had quite a few baby deliveries, and more are to be expected to come, when the new maternity ward will be operational. For now, many women still chose to give birth at home, which is partly the reason for a high perinatal children mortality rate. The clinic is offering ante natal visits and maternity aftercare which is making a big difference. All these services are offered free of charge.
The outpatients clinic, built by Edirisa UK and equipped by us, has three examination rooms; a small laboratory with equipment for basic tests; pharmacy; storage room; room for dental services and a room for measuring vital signs of the patients. Medicines are provided by the government and part by the funds gathered in Slovenia. Power for the clinic is from solar panels which we have been slowly increasing. There is now enough power for the use of our dental chair, which we brought with us from Slovenia.
The local people had not seen anything like it – it moves!
The other part of the building is the staff quarters for visiting doctors – a living room and kitchen area and two bedrooms. This part is only used by Slovenian doctors and other staff while they are working at Bwama. Outside of this building, there is also a small shower and toilet facilities for us and separate facilities for the patients.
The other building is a maternity ward, part built by the Government and being finished by Edirisa UK, it is almost completed and now needs equipping.
We believe the clinic is a cause well worth supporting and it is our hope that cooperation between the three parties involved continues for years to come.
When people fundraise for our various projects it is such a huge benefit to our small charity and we are very grateful to everyone who helps us.
In December 2014 Clayton Woltz together his mother and Hubab Hood visited our projects in Uganda and were shown around by our Operations Manager, George Kakonge. Clayton and Hubab had a “drone camera” and took this wonderful picture of the clinic on Bwama Island.
Clayton told his niece Belle about our projects and Belle was keen to help and to fundraise for a playground at one of our nursery schools. We sent her information and posters and she set about her task.
In her own words here’s how Belle raised the funds:
“Upon pondering ways to collect monetary means for your charity, I happened to contact my language arts teacher and very close friend of mine, Megan Macke. Megan advocates for youth community service and has many groups of students, including myself, reaching out and giving back to our small, rural town. In her efforts raise money for a mural, she and other students sold cheese. The cheese is made by Pearl Valley Cheese (http://pearlvalleycheese.com), a local farm not too far away from our county, and one makes 4(8-9)% profit from all sales.
With this being said, the sale of cheese is supporting our local economy as well as the profit going to a wonderful cause, not to mention they manufacture award winning cheese products. I adopted the cheese sales as means of fundraising, as well as networking with many family members and small businesses, and had much support from major healthcare companies. My fundraiser was conducted over the span of one month, with my monetary goal being $500(cost of one playground). Conducting this fundraiser has been such a great experience for me, and I plan to continue my efforts. As you know, I exceeded my initial goal, by raising $541.50. I had $498.50 collected in cheese sales, $241.50 of which being pure profit. I had $300 worth of donations.
With this being said, my successes show how youth have the power to make a difference, and change the world. My experience has been completely rewarding. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity, and proud that I have so many individuals connected to Edirisa, from southern Ohio, USA.”
Thanks Belle and thanks also to Clayton who matched her efforts with his own donation!
The playground at Nyakasiru is being built and will be ready when school goes back on September 7th.
The nursery schools in our Circle of Friends have been exchanging recipes and telling each other about the foods in their countries. Here is the information that the Life Academy Nursery in Ntungamo shared with Oakleys Explorers in Dundee.
Hello Oakley explorers. My name is Treasure. I am in Baby class. It is the entry level into our education system in Uganda.
We are 18 children in my class. Recently we did not have enough furniture in our class. Thank you Oakley explorers for buying for us a very big table and four benches. My classmates and I are very happy and can attend class more comfortably. Below are my friends sitting around the table you bought for us.
My school Life Community Nursery School is located in South Western Uganda. My village is called Rugarama in Ntungamo district. Below I’m going to share with you about the type of food we eat, how we get it, prepare it and serve it.
Our staple food is majorly Green Banana (Matoke) and Sweet potatoes. Matoke is a type of plantain that grows on a tall tree while sweet potatoes are a root crop that grows under ground. Families till the soil with a tool called a hand hoe, plant their own crops, harvest them carry the produce home on their heads. Every family must have their own crop field where they grow their own food. Before steaming, the raw food is peeled first using a knife. The peeled food is then placed in a pan and placed on an open fire to cook for about 40 minutes to an hour. The exercise from planting, to weeding, to harvesting to cooking and finally eating the food can be very tiresome. However, it becomes normal daily routine that one gets so accustomed to that it all flows so smoothly and get done quickly.
Planting sweet potato vines above.
Peeling harvested Matoke and sweet potatoes.
Our food is prepared on an open fire using firewood for fuel. Below is food cooking on fire. Food is covered in banana leaves to steam.
Cooking sweet potato wrapped in banana leaf.
My mother packs lunch food for me every day. I carry it to school every morning in a container.
Greetings to you all from me, my friends, and my teacher.
THANK YOU ALL. IT HAS BEEN GOOD SHARING ABOUT OUR FOOD.
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 on a Thursday at Cephas Inn, Kabale.
George has written this report of his experience:
“The major expectations of the training were:
A) Gaining Experience and knowledge sharing.
B) Devising solutions for some of the current challenges and problems faced by our businesses
C) Getting practical and workable ideas of improving and growing business.
Some of the Topics which were helpful to participants included:
Accounting and bookkeeping basics.
Identifying and developing business opportunities.
Marketing and Networking for success.
All this was aiming to:
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!
On February 17th, 2013 Rita left Uganda with her aunt, Linate, headed for Aswan Health Centre in Egypt. A week later Sir Magdi Yacoub performed heart surgery on Rita and he was able to repair, rather than replace, the damaged valves. As Chain of Hope covered the cost of the flights and the operation some of the funds we raised were spent on a monitoring machine for Kabale Hospital and for 2 years of follow up appointments and medicine.
Over the last 2 years Rita and her mother have travelled to Kampala every 3 months for her follow up examinations and treatment and we are happy to report that she has made amazing progress and has been back at school now for over a year.
In December I attended a Chain of Hope Carol Concert in London and had the opportunity to thank Sir Magdi personally. I will be sending this lovely photograph of Rita and her mother to Chain of Hope and maybe can persuade them to send a team to visit our clinic on Bwama Island one day!
In the run up to Christmas THE BIG GIVE organization provides an opportunity for charities to double donations received. This scheme is one of our most important fundraising initiatives as it allows our supporters to have their donations matched. This year we are raising funds for water harvesting tanks for the elderly, disabled, and families impacted by HIV/AIDs (watch our video and find more project details on our website).
Our target is to install a minimum of 10 new water tanks. Over the last five years we have installed over 100 water tanks to homes, schools and nurseries impacting more than 2000 people by providing clean water. Water borne disease and poor sanitation still kills more people globally than all forms of violence, including war, and is a huge hurdle in the struggle out of poverty. The cost to install one rainwater harvesting tank is GBP500. This simple piece of infrastructure improves health, allows children time to go to school (rather than walk long distances to fetch [dirty] water), increases gender equality, and improves opportunities for food growth and enterprise. A small price for such a significant impact.
If you would like to support us there are three ways to donate. Our preference is for transfers directly to our UK charity account – we will then pledge the money on your behalf. This avoids us paying fees on the transfer.
Bank account details are:
Sort Code: 20-03-53
A/C No: 50376531
IBAN GB34 BARC 2003 5350 3765 31
If you would like to transfer funds please do so in the next few days so we can ensure your funds are pledged!
Alternatively you can make donations via The Big Give site when the race is on to secure matching funds (as the pot of cash runs out fast!). You have to be organized as the funds are released at 10am GMT on the 4th, 5th and 6th of December only! If you are kind enough to make a direct bank transfer to us, Edirisa UK will pledge the funds at the right time to maximise the opportunity to get donations matched.
A few weeks ago Anja, from Slovenia, undertook an Art Project with the children at Ryabirengye and Nyakasiru Primary Schools. Here is her report on her experiences and the results of her project.
In the first two weeks I was observing the children and trying to figure out where I could help and make their education better and mostly more interesting for them. As it was already in the middle of a term I decided to teach art and make my own art project.
Goal: To awake their creativity and present it at the exhibition in the classrooms.
Methods: Photography and story writing, different topics for drawings.
The first week we covered the topics of “family”, “friendship” and “favourite food”
Followed by “What they want to Become”, “Animals in Nature” and “Home and Family”
I had two photography classes with P5 at Ryabirengye and Nyakasiru. I gave children my little camera, explained to them how to take photos and told them to take a photo of a place around the school that is most important to them/ or of where they like to spend time the most. Children took photos of different places and they seemed to really enjoy it. I printed out the photos in Kabale and a week later I came with photos and papers. I gave each of them one photo that they took and told them to write a true story about the photo or about the place (about something that happened there).
With P5 and P4 we also drew “What they want to become in the future?” They really enjoyed to do something different and therefore they were really looking forward to drawing classes. It’s a shame they don’t practice more of art during the whole school year. I chose this topic because this was the most interesting topic for me to make the exhibition out of- as a reminder and motivation! I put their drawings on the back wall of their classrooms.
Later teachers and pupils came to view the pictures and talk about them
Thanks Anja for all the hard work – we hope one day Art will be one of the subjects on the primary school timetable!
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!