CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Pass it On Trust Uganda

Category: Blog

The following is a guest blog by Jean Inness

It was great to have the opportunity to publicise our NGO at CILIPS 2018! There was a lot of interest shown and we managed to raise some much – needed funds!

“Providing reading materials to children in marginalised communities will improve their life chances. A child that is better educated can gain a better paid job and enrich the whole community.”

There is no need to convince those in the Library Profession of the importance of literacy, and I hope that you enjoy reading about Pass it On Trust Uganda and its work.

I met Hellen Zirigabwe through Facebook. In South Ayrshire Libraries we started “Knit and Knatter” groups in 2013. I began to knit once again and decided to knit baby clothes and donate these abroad.  All of a sudden I came across a lady who not only appreciated the small amount of knitting that I sent, but took pictures of the boxes arriving and of the babies being given the clothes! This had never happened with the other charities that I had supported, and so a great friendship was born!

Pass it on Trust Uganda focuses on 2 communities – Soroti, Eastern Uganda (Shammah Primary) and Wakiso, Central Uganda (Good Hope Primary). In 2018 59 children out of 490 receive sponsorship. Both are marginalised communities and live below the poverty line. The schools are for children who can’t afford state education and both schools urgently need library books and school supplies. Since 2016 PIOTU has also supported several mini-enterprises. In September 2017 PIOTU realised that most of the women starting the enterprises had not completed primary education and in January 2018 PIOTU funded an adult education class in Shammah Primary to improve literacy and numeracy.

Sponsorship of children supplies their school fees, a uniform and a hot meal each school day to the most needy children. It costs £70 to sponsor a child for a full year, please get in touch if you would like to do this.

You will receive a receipt showing that the funds have been handed over, their report cards each term and their picture. The sponsored children are visited regularly by Hellen Ziribagba the CEO of Pass it On Trust Uganda and I also visit them all once a year.

On our first visit in 2015 we realised that neither school had adequate supplies of pens, pencils  and paper. They didn’t have any desks or tables and this became our first priority for fundraising.

We also realised that they had NO BOOKS WHATSOEVER and so we began to take books out with us in our suitcases.

In 2016 we applied to Better World Book and with the grants gained  in 2016 and 2017 brought the first large amounts of books into both schools. Better World Books money sourced Ugandan children’s books, published by Ugandan publishers at age appropriate levels

We also supplied two days of In-service tuition for staff in both schools around books, literacy and attainment in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Further sessions are planned for 2018.

Pass It On Trust Uganda has really grown in the past 3 years and several mini-enterprises have been started.

  1. Bakeries – the Wakiso bakery has been very successful and has led to the establishment of a small shop.
  2. Tailoring business – this is flourishing and PIOTU has encouraged the group to take on two apprentices
  3. Community Farm in Soroti – had a successful first season when the sweet potato crop was harvested and is now feeding the school pupils. Peas have now been planted
  4. Piglets – the bringing on of pigs for future breeding is ongoing and showing great promise in an area of extreme poverty

To purchase a piglet is £12 and this has proved to be a popular item to sponsor – with many amusing suggestions for names!!

As a result of previous funding both schools have regular reading sessions as part of their curriculum. Teachers now use standard book report forms and pupils are encouraged to fill these in when they finish a book.  Both schools have pupil reading groups, each led by an enthusiastic school pupil who is responsible for helping with the care of the books. The funding was carefully split between the two schools and we require to add more titles.

PIOTU has supported three Ugandan publishers. In 2016 Fountain Publishers in Kampala was the main source for titles with PIOTU volunteers visiting and choosing from stock. In 2017 PIOTU met with Smart Toto which is a Ugandan NGO. Smart Toto Publishers  publishes  beautifully illustrated story books written by Uganda authors for Uganda children. In January 2018 PIOTU met up with Oasis Publishing – another Ugandan NGO that publishes story books. Oasis also provided reading sessions to the children of Good Hope as part of their after- sales package

Both schools have very proactive management and both schools have improved their physical environments in the past 3 years. Both schools have presented pupils for the National Exams in the past 2 years (not previously attempted due to lack of resource).

If you would like to help with this work, would like to visit Uganda or learn more about any aspect, then please get in touch! We have lots more photographs and can also let you know more about life in Uganda.

Facebook: Pass it In Trust Uganda