It’s certainly been a busy 2019 so far for Ruddington’s The Mustard Seed Project, Uganda! There’s lots to report about the charity’s continuing hard work – including much fundraising to progress its projects.
In this bumper RUDDINGTON.info update, trustee Ruth Keen writes:
Most notably, perhaps, was that during the first week of June, trustees were delighted to welcome the Reverend Charles Okunya Oode. Rev Charles is the ‘man on the ground’ in Uganda and coordinates the work of the Mustard Seed Project – helping make best use of the funds that are raised and providing trustees with suggestions and wishes of what are the most effective and efficient ways to carry out the wishes of the trustees.
Rev Charles has personally made bricks for the school, toilets and surgery built with money raised by the Mustard Seed Project, driven for hours to help organise the release of the container of resources sent from the UK last year and trained communities to make reusable sanitary towels so as to enable girls to attend school – and that is just the tip of the iceberg!
This was Rev Charles’ first visit to the UK and the charity’s chairperson Sally Squires and deputy chairperson Jayne Henson were delighted to host him for a week during his 3-week trip to the country. During his time in Nottingham, Rev Charles spent time at James Peacock School, St Peter’s School, Rushciffe School and Candleby Lane School in Cotgrave. At each of the schools, Rev Charles took time to talk to the children through assemblies and lessons about his life growing up and life in Uganda, together with talking about the work of the Mustard Seed Project and the effect that projects have had in local communities. The children at every school were fascinated by the talks and asked many questions about the differences in lives growing up in the UK versus Uganda. In addition to this, Rev Charles and trustees of the Mustard Seed Project were presented with a cheque for £1300 by Rushcliffe School – as the Mustard Seed Project had been chosen as one of the school’s charities of the year. All of this money will be put into projects in Uganda to promote education and empowerment of women in particular.
Charles was mesmerised by some of the sights he saw in England – things that we take for granted like washing machines or stairs! Other things that struck him were things like how busy everywhere is, the number of cars on the road, the choice and amount of things available in shops, the changeable weather and supermarkets for pets! He enjoyed visiting the schools and he was amazed by the small class sizes that we have (compared to Ugandan classes of 200!) He also commented on how confident, interested and polite our children were.
A fish & chip supper held at the Hermitage gave more people the chance to meet Charles and listen to him talk – another well received question and answer session reaching more members of the Ruddington community.
To wrap up his week in Nottingham, some of Ruddington’s school children accompanied Charles on his first visit to London where they walked for many miles (in the rain!) seeing the sights.
Aside from Rev Charles’ visit, the Mustard Seed Project, Uganda have continued to work hard to raise money and direct resources to areas of need identified. One of the highlights of the Mustard Seed Calendar is the, now annual, Knickers For Knowledge Fashion Show, which took place on International Women’s Day (8th March), further highlighting the work done by the charity to empower women. This event raised a fantastic £4000, all of which is ploughed into work in Uganda really showing that: “When women support each other, incredible things happen.” Make a note of the next fashion show date – Friday 6thMarch 2020!
The charity was delighted to be given the opportunity to take a stall at the Ruddington Village Market in March, where a popular chocolate tombola was on offer alongside beautiful crafts, sponsor a teach opportunities and the chance to buy a cow, goat or chicken to donate to the Tisai Island community. It was a lovely chance to reach out to talk to and/or update the Ruddington community about the work of the Mustard Seed Project, Uganda.
During Easter time the charity did a drive for supporters to purchase mosquito nets to give to children on Tisai Island (top photo). A huge thank you goes out to everyone who bought a net – your generosity meant that 400 children can now sleep without the threat of contracting malaria. Even more funds were raised than was targeted, so additional nets were given out to pregnant women and women with new born babies. The community of Tisai are immensely grateful to our community for helping to save lives.
During July, Sally Squires went out to Uganda with her husband and two teenage children, which was a great opportunity to get updated on project developments. A key development they checked out was the building of a block of 10 long-drop toilets on Tisai Island. The block will keep 400 Ugandan girls in school this year and many more in the years to come. Lack of privacy and fear of using the outdoors have previously prevented their education. Kind donors have twinned their toilets at home in support of the building of the toilets on the island as well as a generous donation being received by a Ruddington individual. Sally was delighted to add a plaque to the building to acknowledge the donations and recognise the difference the toilets would make to the school community.
During the trip, Sally and family also took part in a sheep gifting ceremony, where they were delighted to present the offspring of the school owned sheep to the women’s cooperative also supported by the charity. These animals will be a valuable resource in helping the cooperative further support and develop. The family were delighted to catch up with the women who had received sewing machines from the container shipped over last year – the women made clothes for the quartet on the donated sewing machines! The machines are used by the women to make school uniforms for their children in order to send them to school.
Sally & family also took time on their trip to visit some of the amazing sights in the area – they made coffee, visited the spectacular Sipi Falls, took a safari and tracked chimps in the rainforest. Amazing experiences and adventures!
If you’d like to donate, find out more about the work of Ruddington’s ‘Mustard Seed Project, Uganda’ or indeed to become involved in some way, you can visit their website, check out their Facebook page or email them via firstname.lastname@example.org.