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Ugandan Flag Bruno Ssenyonjo United Kingdom Flag

We are proud to announce the formation of a link with a school in Uganda. This has developed from a visit to Edenbridge in September 2007 by The Pearl of Africa Childrens Choir, as part of their UK Tour. The choir, formed of pupils from schools run by the Molly and Paul Foundation, came to the UK on a sponsored visit to raise awareness of childrens educational and social needs in Uganda and to raise much needed funds.

The choir spent a whole day at the school, across the range of ages, taking part in music making workshops and joining in with our normal day to day activities. In the morning they gave a wonderful performance, full of joy and energy, for the children and then repeated this, with even more vigour, for parents and visitors in the evening. It was a truly wonderful experience for our children and one which had them talking for weeks after.

This then led to the School Council voicing some of the views coming out of those discussions. As a result it was agreed that the children would sponsor a pupil in Uganda and all the classes pledged themselves to raising the necessary funds. In turn each class raises funds for a month and since December, when the arrangements with Uganda were finalised, the children have raised not only the £15 per month sponsorship pledge but also over £100 in additional funds which will be used to provide additional facilities.

The school we are linked with is the Peter K Gad Primary Orphanage School and the pupil we support is Bruno Ssenyonjo, who is pictured above. Aged 6 he is in the upper nursery at the school, which is located in Kitovu, Masaka. The school has some 300 pupils in its care and they depend on it for education, medical care, food and shelter.

Facilities at the school are limited and so communication is not easy, but we hope to receive fairly regular updates on Bruno's progress and, when he is a little older, an exchange of letters with our children. We are also exploring ways in which our two schools can start to learn more about each other. This is a fantastic chance for our children to become involved with the children that attend Peter K Gad. It will take a little time to develop this part of the linking arrangement and we will add to this page as news unfolds.

In December 2008 we were very pleased to welcome Florence Katende, the Headteacher of Peter.K.Gad school, to Edenbridge. In the UK on a fundraising tour with the choir, she paid us a special visit to update us with the news from her school. Florence gave a fascinating presentation at assembly about life at school in Uganda and showed the children lots of interesting photos. She was also able to update us on Bruno's progress and the children were really pleased to learn that he is doing well with his studies.

The children's fund raising activities continue apace, and they were able to present Florence with a cheque for £100. 0n behalf of all the children in her care she expressed her appreciation for all that our children are doing to help their less fortunate friends in Uganda. Since then the children have continued to raise funds from class activities and each year manage to send a further small donation on top of the regular monthly commitment.

To learn more about the Molly and Paul Foundation and The Pearl of Africa Childrens Choir  click on the links below. Click on the speaker button to hear the choir singing. In addition read the further brief information about Uganda which we have found from the Internet.

Molly and Paul Foundation Pearl of Africa Choir

Image link to docs/pearl.wma

About Uganda

Uganda is situated in Central Africa, along the equator. Its climate is equatorial, though not as hot as some because of its altitude. It supports a wide variety of plants and animals largely due to the richness of the soil.

Over 23 million people live in Uganda, with 56% aged below 18 years. Of these 1.5 million are orphans. The largest cities are in the south; Kampala (the capital), Jinja and Entebbe. Many different local languages are spoken here but, like many other countries in Africa, the official language is English. Uganda gained independence from Great Britain in 1962 and remains a member of the Commonwealth. It was Winston Churchill who described Uganda as the "Pearl of Africa"

People grow a variety of food crops; bananas, maize, cassava and pineapples for their own consumption, while the main export crops grown are coffee and cotton. The staple food is millet. Most of the country's power is generated by hydro-electric plants along the river Nile. The country is land locked and economic growth depends on her neighbour, Kenya, who provides access to the sea. The recent problems in that country have subsequently had an effect on Uganda's trade but hopefully matters will improve soon. Natural disasters have also taken their toll with recent flooding devastating many small farmers.

Uganda suffered many years of civil war under dictatorial regimes through the 1960s, '70s and early '80s, though now it is much more stable and has one of the fastest growing economies in the whole of Africa. Industries in the Masaka District include coffee processing, soft drink manufacture, metal works and cotton ginning. The population of the District is mainly rural with 754,000 people living in rural areas and 77,000 in urban areas.

Click on the speaker button to hear the National Anthem.

Image link to podcasts/Uganda anthem.mp3

Map of Africa showing Uganda Map of Uganda showing Masaka District