Friends of Margaret Junior School Uganda

  • Annual Report

Background.

Friends of the Margaret Junior School was established as a registered charity in May 2006. The original objects of the Association were to “advance the education of the pupils at the Margaret Junior School, Masaka District, Uganda, by providing and assisting in the provision of facilities for education at the school.” In 2011, the Charity Commission agreed to an amendment to the constitution to include support towards ex-pupils, who were successful in gaining a place at secondary school or further education. The main activities of the Association are the raising of funds from individuals and other bodies, which are then transferred to the School Committee in Masaka, Uganda, in pursuit of the charity’s objectives and for the benefit of the school’s pupils and ex-pupils. Decisions as to expenditure are taken by the school committee after discussion with the Trustees.

Trustees.

Trustees are elected annually by the members of the Association at an Annual General Meeting. The present Trustees are: Freda Bass, Roger Ford, Hilary Procter, Nicholas Stokes, Margaret West (Chair) and Maria Woodward. In undertaking their duties, the Trustees have taken due regard to the guidance published by the Charity Commission.

Membership.

Membership is open to anyone willing to pay a minimum of £10:00 per annum. At the end of 2022 the Association had 29 paid-up members. This figure has remained fairly constant for a number of years. Not all of the charity’s supporters are paid-up members and we are grateful for the supporters and sponsors who have continued to contribute over many years. In 2023, the Trustees intend to clarify the position of Members and encourage more supporters to enrol. We would particularly like to thank all who regularly contribute through standing orders and who use the Gift Aid facility.

Activities.

The solid support and regular contributions provide the Friends with a firm financial base, which allows the Headteacher and Committee to plan for a more confident future, rather than cope on a day-to-day basis. The economic situation in Uganda remains parlous and we continue to receive reports of increasingly high prices for basic commodities, fuel and transport. Many parents and guardians are subsistence farmers and struggle to meet the payment of school fees, no matter how modest these may seem. The effects of climate change are also noticeable and the Masaka area continues to suffer from unpredictable seasonal variations. Few people have any reserves to call upon when crops fail.

Both the UK and Uganda continued to struggle with the after-effects of the of the coronavirus pandemic. Although the Universities in Uganda were largely able to continue, through providing online lectures and tutorials, education at both primary and secondary level continued to be disrupted from time to time and schools closed early at the end of 2022 because of an outbreak of Ebola. Margaret Junior School opened early in 2022, following the Covid closure in 2021, and the numbers returning were encouraging, after fears that some children would not return.

The new vocational training centre has now opened and was named in honour of Sarah Kasujja, the school’s founder. The Education Authority has agreed to meet staffing costs for 10 years and local grants have allowed for the provision of metal work equipment and machinery. The Friends contributed towards the cost of sewing machines and shoemaking equipment.

The Christmas Appeal was successful in helping the school equip the dining room with tables and chairs. Our fundraising events were necessarily curtailed but those that did take place were, once again, magnificently supported.

Currently, the Bursary Scheme embraces 51 children: twenty-nine primary, seventeen secondary and five former pupils, who are now at university. The Trustees would like to thank the individual sponsors and the local Lions Clubs in Shropshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire, who have supported this scheme. There are many more children who would still qualify, there being 330 pupils registered at the end of 2022.

Fund-raising efforts were restricted in 2022, although we did enjoy a successful open garden in September, with much cake and musical entertainment; the raffle was similarly well supported. We hope that the pandemic will abate during 2023 and allow more “sociable” events to take place. A concert by Shrewsbury Male Voice Choir is planned for Saturday June 10th at Shrewsbury Abbey.

The Trustees would like to thank all our regular donors and will review future events in the light of developments. Ideas for fund-raising are always welcome. 

Financial Review.

The purpose of the charity is to support pupils and ex-pupils of the Margaret Junior School and in 2022 expenditure amounted to £56,675. This was a record amount and contrasts with the £7,600 sent in 2006 when the charity was first established. In addition to paying sponsorships, the money was spent on general funds and teachers’ salaries, as well as funding Covid measures. We also helped with repairs to the bus and equipped the new buildings with desks and chairs. During the year, two of our supporters married and, instead of wedding presents, sought donations for the school. This money was used to buy pigs and shortly afterwards one of the sows had a litter of nine. As well as a source of food and husbandry, the pigs can be sold to allow for a modest income.

Administrative costs remain low, at less than 1%, allowing all the money raised to be spent on the school and its pupils. Supporters can remain confident that the Trustees will continue to strive to ensure that money donated goes directly to support the school and its pupils. The Trustees decided during the year that it would be prudent to set aside a sum of £4,000 as reserves. This is the amount required for one semester at the Junior School.

Future Plans.

Since the “Friends of the Margaret Junior School” was first incorporated as a charity in 2006, priority has been given to building up the infrastructure of the school. This has resulted in the purchase of the land; the installation of a supply of clean water; the building of pit latrines and two four-classroom blocks; the provision of basic hostel accommodation, a multi-purpose examination room and a vocational training facility. The transformation from the modest beginnings in 2004 is a significant achievement and the Trustees would like to thank all our supporters, many of whom have been involved since the school first opened 18 years ago. Additionally, other buildings have been erected by the parents and local community to enhance the educational, administrative, washing and cooking facilities. These are significant achievements. Help was provided by a German Development Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) who had previously installed a new water tank and well. This highlights the standing that the school has achieved in the local community.

During the year we were saddened to lose our Headteacher, Sam, who obtained a position in South Africa. Najjuko Rose was appointed as his replacement and appears to have taken up her new role successfully. We wish her and all her staff well.

The Vocational Training Centre is now operational with two workshops up and running. We hope that it will be possible for the school committee to bring the computer workshop on stream in 2023 but that will require significant funding.

The Trustees are mindful that the current arrangements are not sustainable in the long term and we will need to address the future funding of the school and look for a greater contribution from local resources in Uganda. The recruitment of younger Trustees is something we would like to achieve and closer links with other similar charities will also be considered.

The Trustees would like to thank all our donors, sponsors and members for their loyal support of the school.

Margaret West
Chair of Trustees.

Registered Office: 2 Whitehall Terrace, Shrewsbury, SY2 5AA. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. www.margaretjuniorschool-uganda.com

Charity number 1114202

 

Annual Accounts

Income

Opening Balances 01/01/2022                           £ 8,666.51  

Donations                            
General                                 £36,241.22    15265   
Restricted                            £18,333.53     22485
Fundraising                         £  3,357.52      3725
Membership Fees              £     255.00        240
Bank Interest                      £          9.30            1
Gift Aid                                 £  8,204.04      3725

 

Total Income                                                          £66,400.61

                                                                                  £75,067.12 

Expenditure

Transfer to MJS                    £56,675.00    55900
Postage                                  £        21.28         16
Printing                                   £        69.99           0
Website                                  £         50.00       450
Fundraising                            £      250.00         69
Lottery                                    £        80.00         

 

Total Expenditure                                                    £57,146.27

Closing Balances 31/12/2022

General                                                                        £  2,428.66

Sponsorship                                                              £  15,492.19

                                                                       £75,067.12

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”
Nelson Mandela

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