Mama Jane's Children's Care Centre - Work starts on New Vocational Training Centre

We are delighted to announce that the construction of Mama Jane's new Vocational Training Centre in Jinja is now under way. Ian and the team of Cambridge University students recently visited the site on the edge of Jinja.

The large site which has been set out and the foundations have been excavated. The workers were busy putting in the blinding concrete in preparation for starting the brick-laying of the walls.

On the left you can see the plan for the building. The funding to make this possible has come from Christ Church Deer Park in Toronto, Canada, prompted by an ex-Kings College, Cambridge postgraduate who spent time at Mama Janes and is now back in Toronto. Afrinspire is a facilitator of this process and we are able to support this venture through our frequent visits and our long term ralationship with Mama Jane's over the past ten years.

Agnes Nabawanga, the administrator at Mama Jane's, wrote to thank Afrinspire and those who have donated towards Mama Jane's: "Allow me to take this opportunity to appreciate all the efforts made towards Mama Jane's Family development and for the vulnerable children of Uganda". Pictured with Agnes is Seith, who grew up at Mama Janes and is one of the technicians who make up the Afrinspire IT Technicians Network.


Building the capacity of the Batwa Development Organisation

The new Batwa Development Organisation, which has sprung up during the past year, was represented at the Afrinspire Young Leaders Conference where Gad and Wilber, both Twa and the BDO leaders, were able to explain their vision and also gain valuable feedback. BDO is the first development organisation for Batwa led by Twa and the first educated Twa are coming together to determine the way ahead so as to improve the living conditions and standard of living for the Batwa yet preserving their culture at the same time.

One outcome from the Conference was for them to be sponsored to make a visit to a mirror organisation called COPORWA in Rwanda. The border is porous in the mountains and Batwa do move from group to group but the Twa in each country have different opportunities. Gad reported that the exchange of knowledge was very helpful. Capacity building of BDO is a key aim at the current time

Read on for the story of the Batwa in this area.... (as told by BDO)......

The Batwa people have an estimated population of 7500 and are found in south western Uganda. They are mainly former hunter-gatherers who have been evicted from their homes over the course of many decades. They now live as a neglected and marginalised minority, often in remote conflict areas.

In 1991 they were expelled from their ancestral forest lands and as a result are now facing a number of challenges. The Batwa's main source of income has been removed from them since they were barred from occupying the forest. They had previously harvested honey, gathered wild fruits and made use of herbal medicines. The Batwa can no longer hunt to sustain themselves, and are now squatters in their own country, with no land of their own.

These circumstances have led to a loss of language, culture and tradition. The Batwa have been forced to move to cities where they are discriminated against by fellow Ugandans and live in abject poverty.

The Batwa Development Organisation (BDO) aims to socially and economically transform the Batwa community within the next 30 years. Semajeri Gad, the executive director of BDO states, "BDO is still at a preliminary level but we think that in the future it will solve all the Batwa problems. We can't let the Batwa to continue staying with poverty and other problems in their families".





Expansion at the Divine Academy Nursery and Junior School

Last autumn we followed the construction of the first two classroom blocks at the Divine Academy in Kampala and were delighted when the school opened to it's first children in February.

Now another classroom has sprung up due to a further generous donation.

We are also pleased to report that a Trust has put forward funding to provide one meal a day to 100 children at this school for one year. Because of the poverty level of some of the children in the neighbourhood, many will be not having adequate meals and so a school meal is a major benefit to them and also aids the learning process.