Recently 3 of the trustees had a socially distanced meeting and discussed the effect that Covid-19 is having on the school.
The picture is not clear as to what is happening in Uganda but the numbers of deaths reported in the country due to coronavirus is low compared to the UK but this may be due to under reporting.
The school has remained open but schooling is no longer compulsory so attendance has dropped. Danny reports that no pupil or teacher at the school have had coronavirus.
Some government schools have had intermittent opening and universities have closed for a short time.
Discussion has taken place as to whether the AGM postponed from March could be held virtually as a physical meeting cannot be held. It was agreed that this would exclude members who did not have access to the internet.
A decision has been made to cancel the AGM in accordance of the advice of The Charity Commission. Members have been informed of the decision.
The draw of "The Friends" Grand Raffle took place on the 3rd October. The Mayor of Shrewsbury, Phil Gillam, kindly agreed to officiate. We sold £1908 worth of tickets plus the raffle generated £933 of donations. Congratulations to the three lucky winners, Mikey Grubb, Martin Hodgson and P & A Brunton, and many thanks to Phil.
We have received some good news from Uganda. The school has received a grant to dig a well and install a submersible pump. This will provide a more constant water supply. The staff and children are very excited about the project. We have received 2 photographs of the well's progress.
This year's AGM planned for the 24th March was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Annual Report and Accounts can be viewed under the Annual Report section at the top of this page.
Covid-19 arrived in Uganda some months ago and some restrictions are in place but the country lacks the same infrastructure and health facilities that we are fortunate to have in this country. We await further news with some trepidation.
After the Easter break the school reopened and work has started on building a new vocational training block. This has been made possible by a grant from the Ugandan Government part matched by funding from The Friends and fund raising locally in Uganda. This includes the labour to make the bricks and to do the work. This will allow the school to provide training in vocational skills like carpentry, metalwork and leatherwork for youngsters who are either unable to afford, or are not suited to, an academic course.
Recently there has been heavy rains and local flooding which is likely to have hindered the building work.
Thank you to all that attended the coffee morning held at Margaret's house on 12th February, £132 was raised.
The construction of the new latrines funded by the Christmas Appeal is well advanced as shown by the photos below.
The Christmas Appeal 2019 has raised a fantastic £2409. This will enable the school to have new pit latrines in time for the new school term which starts at the end of January.
A big thank you to everyone who contributed.
This is an amazing achievement.
Since 2006, when the charity began, we have sent over a quarter of a million pounds to the school (£264,990 to be exact). Many thanks to everyone who has supported the children and school.
In September we received the shocking news that Mutebi Daniel (Danny), unpaid Director of Margaret Junior School and son of it's founder Kasujja Sarah, had been seriously injured in a hit and run accident.
Healthcare is not free in Uganda and the charities money could not be used as this falls outside of it's remit. However an appeal to the charities supporters and money raised by Danny's friends locally soon raised the funds for Danny to under go an operation on his spine. This took place in Kitovu Hospital that is known to be the best in the area.
He has returned home and is now able to sit up. The doctors have said that with intensive physiotherapy Danny should be able to walk again but it will be a long process. We wish him well.
This years event was held on the 5th October made £460.20 profit. This will go directly to the school for the benefit of the children. Thank you to everyone who came along.
Pupil numbers have increased to 364, although not all pupils will be attending the school at the same time. It is felt that the increase is partly due to the good performance of pupils and their excellent exam results.
The school currently has 14 permanent staff and the school prides itself on paying teachers on time.
• Children are receiving an improved balanced diet. Milk, eggs, matooke (starchy variety of banana), rice, cassava and potato are included. Pupils have enjoyed cultivating crops and money has been spent on fertilisers for a better yield. Rain water, which is now stored in the tanks purchased from money raised by The Friends from the 2018 Christmas Appeal, is used to irrigate crops.
• There has been an improvement in sanitation with an increase in piped water.
• 25 desks have been made for the new examination room.
• Lighting has been improved allowing children to continue to study for longer.
• 20 new text books and 40 new story books have been purchased for the library.
• Adequate stationery is now available e.g. chalk and pens.
• An increase in monitoring pupil’s health and an improvement in the provision of first aid.
• Mass services take place in the Main Hall and Boarding pupils are encouraged to attend prayer at the local church. Pupils who follow the Muslim faith have been supported to attend the mosque with teachers of the same faith.
The Trustees of The Friends of The Margaret Junior School were pleased to receive such a positive report but are aware that there are many challenges.
The cost of food and stationery is continually increasing. Precious rain is needed to irrigate the land. Maintenance of the buildings is a never ending process!
Open Gardens event – Through the Garden gate
Over 400 people enjoyed the glorious weather on Saturday 1st June wandering through 14 gardens in the Underdale Road, Racecourse Avenue and Monkmoor Road area of Shrewsbury. There was also an opportunity to look behind the gates of the Monkmoor Allotments. The area was buzzing!
As people visited the variety of gardens from formal to a garden with nature in mind, they collected ideas for their own gardens. It was not just about gardening. Holly Woo from the Swift’s Society talked about the life of the swifts nesting in one of the gardens.
Chris Bainger, Fisheries Technical Specialist for the Environment Agency, was in another garden that went down to the weir to talk about the ecology of the River Severn, especially the fish. He was accompanied by his stuffed otter! Master Composters were on hand to give guidance tips on the best way to compost. Children (and some adults!) enjoyed pond dipping.
Teas and delicious homemade cakes were enjoyed by visitors as they were serenaded by a string quartet, light classical and folk music. There was an opportunity to buy original paintings, homemade chocolates, plants, jewellery from Uganda and books. A raffle was held for a one-day chocolate making workshop, kindly donated by Melanie Fallon, Bonbonniere.
The new Mayor of Shrewsbury, Phil Gillam joined visitors in the afternoon and had an opportunity to visit 6 of the gardens and talk to visitors. He was amazed with the variety within each of the gardens.
A staggering £2,600 was raised and will be spent on providing education for over 320 children. All the children come from local villages and many are orphans, living with grandparents or other members of their extended family. Most families are subsistence farmers, with little money for ‘’luxuries’’ like education or health care.
Hilary Procter, one of the Trustees of The Friends said ‘’ What a fantastic day. The event could not have taken place without the enthusiasm and generosity of the people of the Monkmoor area and our many supporters. Although we did have visitors from Texas who were on holiday. It was a Community event and the money raised will make a difference to the education of so many children. A teacher’s wages at the school is equivalent of £40 a month. We hope to make it a biennual event’’.
A big thank you to the Wynn Foundation, Don Holme Valley Lions and The Women's Institute in West Yorkshire.
After many years of daily fun the children’s playground equipment has seen better days.
With their generous donations we can now begin to replace the equipment and let the fun continue.