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Room to Learn

Building new classrooms for a Ugandan primary school burnt down 20 years ago in a terrorist insurgency
Onwards

21 November 2023

With some additional help from our supporters we managed on 30 October to send £4,049 to Bughungu Primary School, to enable the next room to be built In November-December, the best building months. This room, an office, will be in pivotal position at the angle of the 'L' shape. Placing the office in this position allows the three classrooms maximum natural light.

 

For the final classroom to be built we will need to raise an estimated £5,000, according to the original budget.

A step forward

28 September 2023

Two classrooms have been built in the last 12 months, and are now in use. We had hoped to raise the remaining £9,000 to complete the project this month, but in the event we only managed £3,500, not quite enough for even one of the two remaining rooms. So a number of us spent some time in listening and reflection, to discern the way forward. As we reported back, there were some common factors along the lines that we should proceed with confidence in the plan - it may simply be that we must wait a little longer than we had expected before it comes to fruition.
 

We had a video meeting with Teddy to report the situation and agree a way forward. The next room to be built will be the office. We discussed the best time of year to build, avoiding the rainy season, and the time and money required to build just the office (which is smaller). So it was agreed that we continue fundraising with a view to Bughungu receiving at the very least £4,000 by 21 October. They should then have the money in time to build in earnest in November and December – the best building months.

 

If you would like to contribute to this project, please let us have your donation by 15 October. You can donate here.
 

Taken as a whole, this is a very large project for the Fund, so it has been helpful to break it up into manageable lumps. Teddy has responded positively and thankfully. She sends lots of photos of the progress, together with detailed budget estimates and actual spends, so we can keep track of the funding.

Building plot for last two rooms
Steps of faith

21 August 2023

When Teddy applied to Natalya’s Fund for a grant to build three additional classrooms and an office, the total needed would be around £20,000, larger than anything we had ever undertaken before.  It was daunting.  Could we raise that much?  What would happen if we agreed to help but only raised part of the required sum?  Teddy's response was that every little helped and she would build in stages.

So, in the summer of 2022, we launched an appeal to raise £4,400 by the end of September 2022, to enable them to build the first classroom in time for their new school year.  To raise even that amount in such a short time was a step of faith for us.  But God was good and through the generosity of our supporters, just over £5,000 was raised, which enabled them not only to complete the first classroom but also, in faith, to lay the foundations for the second one.  

 

Earlier this year we launched the next appeal – to raise £4,630 by Easter for the second phase.  Again, it was a short time for raising such a sum, but in early April we were able to send them a second grant (£4,500) and the second classroom was built earlier this summer.

 

Now we face the third and final phase – to raise about £9,000 by mid-September so that they can complete the project in readiness for the new school year in early 2023.  That is an even larger sum in a very short time, and another test of our faith.  We trust God that He will again provide.  Could you be part of His provision?

 

Step by step, we grow in faith.
 

Recent massacre and flooding

26 June 2023

Teddy confirmed today that on Friday 16 June during the night the rebels of the ADF attacked one of the secondary schools on the border side of Bwera, which is not far away to the West of Bughungu (we think about 15 miles); 37 students were massacred, along with 4 other people from the school neighbourhood. This has affected them so much because they were attacked by the same group in 1996-2000 and ended up in camps in the bush. Currently they are living in fear, although government security is in control.

To add to the trouble, last Thursday (22nd) they had major flooding from their river Nyamughasana, which destroyed some properties, including Teddy's coffee washing station shelter. The footbridge that some of the Bughungu pupils and teachers use has been washed away. It is the only bridge for a long distance, and is also used by community members, including expectant mothers and elderly and disabled folk. Access now requires a walk of more than 6 miles there and back. See pictures.
 

Handover of Phase 2 and preparations for Phase 3

19 June 2023

Teddy writes that all school mangers, PTA and all staff members attended a handover ceremony for Phase 2 of the Room to Learn project. Mr Muke Jovenal was the main speaker. Teddy gave the financial report, and furniture plans for the two remaining rooms - an office and one classroom. The PTA chairperson and other members agreed that in early July they will begin shifting some of the required building materials to the site. They were very appreciative and thank Almighty God, and bless all the staff and well-wishers of Natalya's Fund. [Note: all Natalya's Fund staff and trustees are volunteers.]

Teddy is confident they will be able to press ahead with Phase 3 on the money we raise by the deadline of 15 September. About £9,000 is required to complete the project. We all trust that God will provide what's required.

 

The completed building, comprising three classrooms and an office, will be in an 'L' shape.

Phase 2 complete

6 June 2023

Phase 2 is now complete, and the new, second classroom has been blessed by a local church minister. 


We pray that next phase will be successfully completed.
 

Things were not quite as bad as we had imagined

17 May 2023

We understand that, with not enough rooms to teach all the children in, when the weather was suitable, infant classes would be held outdoors under a tree. So the pupils were not always crammed into classrooms. However, to quote Teddy, "Rain and sunshine interrupts them," and she affirms that the new classroom is a great help.

Rapid progress on Stage 2

3 May 2023

We sent a grant of £4,500, which arrived on 12 April. Since then they have been hard at work and the second classroom is already taking shape.

On to Stage Two

8 February 2023

We have decided to aim to complete this project. The next stage is to construct the second classroom on the foundations already laid. The estimated cost of that build is £4,630 at the current exchange rate. It would be good if we forward the money just before Easter, i.e. in Holy Week (w/c 3 April). Construction will then start just before the end of their 2nd term and be completed during the ensuing school holiday, which is from 5-28 May.

Teddy expressed her delight with the decision. "God bless you all ... thankful to all your members about the decision of completing the project. God bless your team members and all works."

Stage One complete

5 January 2023

The new classroom has been completed on budget and on schedule. Our sincere appreciation goes to Teddy, her builder and all the team who worked on the project.

Rapid progress at Bughungu

25 November 2022

Building work at Bughungu started immediately the money was received. Teddy reported on 1 November that the work had started, and on 3 November we received the first set of photos. Since then work has been progressing rapidly and we have received nine further sets. See the selection of photos in reverse sequence in the gallery (to the right on desktop, below on mobile).

They are building the foundations for two classrooms although constructing just the one classroom for now.

One More Room to Learn

17 October 2022

Enough funding has been raised to provide one extra classroom for Bughungu Primary School, Uganda, which will help reduce class sizes from the current average of 130. Through the generosity of our supporters we raised £5,073, £1,000 of which was given in matched funding. It is hoped that the room will be ready for the new school year in February. However, we do not wish to leave the project partially completed, so will now decide if and how to raise the remaining money to complete the task of providing a total of three extra classrooms and an office.

Reduce the average class from 130 to 87

4 July 2022

Bughungu Primary School is in a small village in Kanyatsi parish, in western Uganda, only a few miles from the border with DRC (the Democratic Republic of Congo). Between 1997 and 2002 the school was affected by the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) insurgencies - the families were displaced and the school structures burnt to ashes.

 

Twenty years have passed without the school being affected by further conflict. Today the school is managing with only six classrooms for 780 pupils - 401 girls and 379 boys. It is seeking to build three more classrooms and an office, thereby reducing the average class size from 130 to 87. There are teachers already in place, funded by the Ugandan government, but they have no rooms in which to teach, so they currently assist the other teachers.

 

As their school year begins in February, it would make sense to have the new rooms ready by then.

 

The project is supported by Mr Muke Jovenal, a Government Representative who monitors schools in his sub-county, and also by the school management committee and the local community. The proposed site is on land that the school owns.

 

Ms Teddy Ithungu, deputy head, is acting project manager, working with a local builder who is ready to start. Teddy has experience in managing development projects at two other local schools. She confirmed that there is an adequate supply of labour, some paid but also some voluntary – from parents, community leaders, etc. To build all four rooms would take about 3 months to complete, but hopefully if we were to build just one it would take less time. They would like it finished by December 2022.

 

We have decided to support this project, and will need to raise at least £4,400 to build each room. We hope to be able to build at least one room for their next school year, which means we need to try to raise the funds by the end of this September.

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