Monday, June 22, 2009

Little Angels Update

June 2009 Little Angels Trip:

Part of Project Kesho’s work involves supporting a privately run primary school and orphanage near Kampala, Uganda called Little Angels. There are 350 students in kindergarten through 7th grade that attend the school. Of the 350 students, 150 are orphans, and 70 of the orphans live at the school. On the first of June, Elliot, Abbas our Tanzanian friend and Project Kesho staff member, and I boarded a bus from Dar es Salaam bound for Kampala. The bus ride took us about 30 hours of nonstop riding. For the most part the roads have been improved, and we actually managed to get some sleep during the overnight part, unlike the last time we rode the bus.

Since so many of the students at Little Angels are orphans, only about half of the students are required to pay the modest school fee of $10 per three month term. However, most everyone in the village is quite poor and many of the students have trouble paying the modest school fee (there is no public school within walking distance). As a result, Little Angels has trouble meeting their monthly budget, let alone spending money to improve the physical structure of school buildings or to adequately feed and house the orphans who board. Our goals for the trip were to address both their immediate needs as well as their long-term needs.

Rainwater Collection System:

There are two types of water available at Little Angels. There is a slow moving stream located near by and there is also piped water available. Water from the stream has to be boiled, which requires the use of firewood or charcoal that has to be purchased. The water that is piped has to be purchased from the government. Often times when there is not enough money the orphans who are boarding are forced to either drink the dirty water from the stream or go without. Since this part of Uganda has abundant rainfall the leaders of the school asked for a system that would collect rainwater. This simply involves gutters on all the roofs with the runoff collected in large tanks. This way the water can be used immediately or stored for a later date. We also shared with the school leaders our knowledge of using solar radiation to treat water. This is done by putting unsanitary water into clear plastic water bottle and then leaving the bottles in direct sunlight for 6-8 hours. This will allow the school to have clean water even in the dry season.

Beds and Bedding:

The orphanage part of the school lacks enough beds and bedding. Currently the younger children sleep five to a bed and the older children sleep three to a bed. The school leaders requested the purchase of additional beds and bedding. We were able to purchase two additional bunk beds as well as four new mattresses and blankets and bed nets. This will reduce the number of children sleeping per bed as well as providing better mattresses and bedding.

Other Projects:

We purchased food to last a couple months. We hired a local carpenter to repair the roofs and walls of many of the classroom to prevent water from coming in during the rainy season. We purchased general medical supplies for the school to have on hand and we also took several sick children to the hospital and paid for their care. We also purchased a cow and a goat for the school. These animals can be sold at a later date and the money can be used to purchase several additional animals. In the future we hope the school can have many animals that can be used as a sustainable income generating system.

This picture shows the Little Angels School and the surrounding area.

In the above picture are some of the orphans who board at the school. Little Angels provides a safe and loving environment for these children to live in.

This picture shows the water tanks being unloaded from the truck. These tanks will be able to store a combined total of about 400 gallons.

The pictures above and below show children enjoying clean water that was sanitized by solar radiation.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Little Angels Update

Elliot, Abbas, and I rode the bus up to Uganda on the 1st of June. We arrived at the Little Angels Orphanage on the 3rd. For the past week or so we have been pricing out options for different projects and talking with the school staff about the best way to spend our money. We have come up with the following budget:

Rain Water Catchment System: We will install gutters and large tanks to collect and store rainwater. This will increase the amount of water the orphanage will have to use, and cut down on their water bill. Along with this project, we passed on our knowledge of how to use solar energy to sanitize water. $400

Beds and Bedding: The children who sleep at the orphanage are currently crammed 5 to a bed. We will be purchasing 2-4 more sets of bunk beds, mattresses, bednets and blankets for the children. $200-$400

Food: We will be purchasing food for the orphanage and school. The tuition fees that are charged are just enough to cover the cost of the teachers each month. Of the 350 students, 150 are orphans (65 sleep at the orphanage). Of the rest of the students, many come from poor families that are often not able to pay the full amount. As a result, most months the teachers only receive part of there salary and the orphans go hungry for days at a time. So we will be leaving behind enough to cover them for a month or so. $200

Animals: The orphanage currently has a cow, a goat and 20 or so chickens. The cow is pregnant and provides a little milk, the goat will be sold soon for money and the chickens provide maybe 5-8 eggs a day. We are going to buy another female cow and possibly some more goats and chickens. Both can be bought cheap when they are young and then sold for double the original price. One goal for the future is for the orphanage to have a steady revenue stream from raising animals to support their own food needs. $200-$300

Health Needs: There are ten orphans who are HIV positive. Uganda just started a free testing program, so soon the rest of the orphans will be getting tested soon. Elliot and I are trying to wade through the Health Care bureaucracy to see if there is an ARV program near the orphanage, as one student is quite sick and several more are on their way to being quite sick. We will also be resupplying their first aid kit. $100

We are about $300-$500 short. Since we are here now and the exchange rate in very favorable (it is 30% better than a year ago) Elliot and I would like to spend as much as we can now. If you feel so inclined a check can be sent to Project Kesho, PO Box 677, Bellevue, WA 98009-0677, or you can donate online. Thanks! Pictures and video will follow when I'm back in Dar next week.