Happy New Year!
2018 has been a very happy year for Seeds for Development.
The year has ended in a remarkable way as I, Alison, was honoured beyond words to be appointed MBE by HM The Queen for services to Victims of War in Northern Uganda. For me this award is for the people we support. They asked me to be their voice in the world - as they are voiceless and forgotten. I hope that I won't let them down and can't wait to visit again and take my medal to show them what they have achieved.
2018 is also 10 years since Seeds for Development was born! This short video looks back at my first visit to the camps and where I met these brave and amazing people.
Here are some more highlights of 2018.
Fantastic work by our Project Manager Pamela
Pamela works tirelessly for Seeds for Development and is the reason why our projects succeed and grow. Pamela travels around visiting the projects - which is a lot of travelling as we are now working in six different communities from Gulu to Kitgum. We had our second training workshop at Kasenge-Riverford, run by our good friend Timothy Njakasi. Pamela travelled with the 28 farmers and ensured that everything went smoothly. Her work with the child mothers is truly astonishing and we now have 2 new groups of child mothers to support in 2019. We couldn't do what we do without Pamela.
We started the year with 2 sponsored children and end the year with 10! These children were selected because they are either extremely bright or because their situation is completely hopeless. Whenever we go, we keep an eye out for children who could benefit from the fantastic education provided by Susan Wamala's Mukono Boarding Primary School.
The transformation in the children is incredible and we are incredibly grateful to their sponsors for making a commitment for 6 years to see these children through Primary School. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch.
Thanks to wonderful support, we are still able to feed every child, at the five nursery schools we support, a cup of porridge every day. This is as well as paying for 2 teachers and a cook. There are around 750 children who attend the schools.
In 2019, we hope to support an additional 2 nursery schools - one being started by the Child Mothers and another near Parabongo, where the community are starting a new nursery - building on the success of Vision Hope.
In Otici we found the community running a sewing school for young people who have no options in life. It was such a magical find and a project we are going to support in 2019. Skills training is one of our focus areas and we plan to spend more time and money helping young people who missed out on school build their skills to survive and take care of their families.
We also met Simon, who is a carpenter and thanks to us buying his wooden spoons has started his own carpentry business! Penny has been very busy selling them together with the beautiful beads and bags made by the Child Mothers. In 2018 we also trained a new group in bead making and bought all of their beads in December! They couldn't believe the money in their hands - the community had never earned that much money before - £100.
Coffee goes to Kitgum
Because of the success of our growing Robusta coffee from seed project in Gulu, we took coffee seedlings to Kitgum and the fabulous Devon and Pamela trained the farmers there on how to plant and care for their coffee. In fact, because of the success of our pilot project, the Ugandan Coffee Development Authority gave 23,000 coffee seedlings to the farmers! So we took some of them to Kitgum in the back of our car.
It was also fantastic to visit the coffee farmers in West Nile, who also received our seeds and the transformation in their lives is extraordinary. Women are now treated as equals, bills are paid and children go to school.
I can't write my highlights without finishing on Albina's wedding! Albina is one of the Seeds for Development farmers. She has been with her husband since the 1980's but has never been able to afford a church wedding. This year that changed and we had the honour to attend her mass-wedding, where many people gather to get married together. What made it so special and moving was the fact that it was because of Seeds for Development that they were able to afford their church wedding.