Receive warm and loving greetings from the children and entire staff of Lulwanda Children’s Home. We appreciate the financial and prayer support that you unequivocally send to us. Most of the children are fine and we are very grateful to the Almighty for the good health and His providence. Please permit me to update you on what has been taking place at the Children’s Home in May.
The primary school closed for term break holidays on the 13th May 2016 and so were the rest of the secondary schools. It was a long term having started on February 22nd 2016. Our children are studying well and their grade scores are encouraging. Great appreciation goes to the donors for your financial help that has enabled us to buy scholastic materials and pay salaries to the teachers in time. Indeed we say Thank you and God bless you richly.
Still under the primary school, we had the School Management Committee that was held on April 30th 2016. Among the issues discussed was how to improve the grades of the students, making sure that performance in National Exams for the P.7 children goes higher and higher, having a stable staff to ensure consistent and proper rapport with the students. The issue of the LCH home children subsidizing the community children was also discussed and the Head Teacher, the Treasurer and I were tasked to see how such expenses can be cut down. This is geared towards making the school to be self sustaining.
We got a new House mom- Beatrice Wamboza who replaced Mary Janny Baraka. She is 42 years old and has been a matron (nanny) in one of the biggest primary schools in Mbale town looking after 78 little boys and girls of ages 3-6. She is a believer and has integrity. We placed her in the boys’ dormitory to help out with little boys. Both the staff and children welcomed her with joy and excitement. We wish her the best of luck while serving the vulnerable children of Lulwanda.
The month of May opened the floodgates of lots of holiday activities that kept the children quite busy throughout the three weeks. Among these included:
a). On Campus Bible Studies; these were conducted for all children ranging from the little ones, those in the primary section up to those in secondary schools. Various staffs were given various topics to teach the children. The topics that were common were the Parables of Jesus Christ as taught in the Gospels and their interpretations respectively. The children were grouped according to their classes and gender. It was quite interesting especially when the secondary children would ably contribute towards the discussions and they also asked probing questions.
b). The Birth Day Party was another holiday activity that was quite interesting and greatly welcomed by the children. As usual the birth day “babies” gather right after lunch in the dining hall, smartly dressed and they watch various games, quizzes, skits and dance presentations from various groups. Then later the birth day guests are called to receive their gift which is followed by the cutting of the cake. This holiday in particular, we were blessed to have Mr. Rob Marshall and Ms Cathy who graced the celebrations. They told the children that they enjoyed the whole program.
c). The Good Neighbor program was yet another wonderful holiday activity that we had in the month of May. Children from the community came to Lulwanda as early as 8:00am for the celebrations. They assembled in the main hall where a program of the day was read to them. Shortly they went for breakfast comprising of millet porridge and biscuits or ripe bananas. They then divided into different groups for fellowship where they were preached to by a team of staff. Later on they played a number of games and skits that led up to lunch time. Lunch was sumptuous involving rice and meat, where every child ate to his / her fill. This was followed by various performances in the afternoon, speeches and serving sodas. After this, scholastic materials (notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers) and the health kit (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shoe polish, nail clippers) were handed out to the community children who were then escorted by their home children counterparts. Great appreciation goes to Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, Ms. Cathy, Natalie Rolfe and Pastor David Muwoya for the success of this event spiritually, financially and physically.
A visit by Buzzy and Sue Green was another highlight in the month of May. This couple just like any of the teams that comes around is always a blessing to Lulwanda. Sue and Buzzy came to teach music and ballet dance to the children. Buzzy in particular taught a number of boys how to use harmonicas to produce wonderful melodies. The most outstanding was that worship song of Amazing Grace that Buzzy and his team sweetly played. He also worked with Joseph, Lulwanda’s new music guy. We thank you so much Sue and Buzzy for your kind gesture and for loving Lulwanda.
Two children were resettled with their families and their parents as per Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development requirements. We initially made an assessment of 5 children who were meant to be resettled with their families and or kinsmen. We then selected 2 of these for resettlement, Peter Massa and Ivan Masifwa. These two have parents who are living (contrary to what we were told when the children were brought into LCH), with good financial situation and willingness to take care of the children. This event took place on the 23rd May 2016 in the main hall. I must say it was sad for both the children and the staff. For the first time in my stay at Lulwanda, I failed to give a speech!! The ceremony was graced by Pastor Morris Ogenga and Mama Aidah. We organized a resettlement package for each family that included scholastic materials, two piglets to generate income for the two boys, soccer balls, Jerseys, a photo album for each boy and several send –off messages written by fellow children and the staff at large.
(The government had initially come up with a robust resettlement target for Lulwanda of 22 children at once!!! But we convinced them that this would be completely unfair, and that we need time to assess each child’s background in great depth to ensure that resettling them would be the best overall plan for that child. Resettlement will continue in future as the family / village situations are deeply researched, but at a rate of not more than 3 or 4 per year. In addition we will in a few years have some children leaving LCH as they turn 18, complete their post-secondary education and enter the working world.)
We have successfully renewed our Ministry of Gender registration certificate for the next five years. Only 10 Children’s Homes and care centre in the whole country had their certificates renewed and in Mbale, it was just two homes: St. Kizito Baby’s Home and Lulwanda Children’s Home. We were given 125 slots so the maximum number of children the home can have is 125. Before we carried out resettlement, we had 120 children (70 girls and 50 boys) so now the number has dropped to 118. By the Ministry standards therefore, we have 7 slots for new children to get admitted. The NGO Board license was equally renewed by Pastor Morris. Therefore legally speaking, we are recognized by the Ministry of Gender and the NGO Board respectively. These are major achievements in the operation of any Children’s Home.
We have made major kitchen improvements to better the working conditions of the cooks. We got a donation sometime back to help us improve on our kitchen but also to save on charcoal expenses. We now use firewood which is much cheaper and cooks faster. We added two chimneys for ventilation purposes; we have also bought four new very large cook pots that are in line with this new technology. Formerly we could spend almost UGX. 1,500,000 on charcoal for a month but now we spend UGX. 860,000 on firewood which takes us for two months. We appreciate the donation that was made to Lulwanda Children’s Home for the outdoor kitchen modifications.
In the month of May, Lulwanda was hit by a water crisis that lasted for almost a week. This was due to major repairs and replacement of water supply pipes operated by National Water and Sewerage Corporation. At one time I had to call in the fire brigade department who had to bring in 10,000 litres of water to alleviate the crisis. However, this was short term. Later John with help of his missionary friends was able to pump water from the borehole near the primary school into one the tanks so that it could be used for washing and cleaning purposes. We had to get one of the small tanks from the upper side and placed it near the borehole area. The problem was later fixed and the gravity flow went back to normal.
GICF President Rob Marshall and his wife Cathy visited Lulwanda on May 28th 2016 for 9 days and we were greatly blessed. They got ample time to interact with the children whom they had missed so much since it was still holiday time. They last visited Lulwanda in December 2014. They were able to see the 12 new children that we brought in last year. They also got to interact with the staff members that were on campus. Mr. Rob in particular was able to teach the older boys how to assemble a potato gun and how it works. There was a lot of excitement about the whole exercise, and potatoes were sent flying across the front yard and even over our beloved tree. They also did participate in our All Campus Bible studies; they were shown some of the improvements that have taken place at Lulwanda such as the painting of all the buildings at LCH, the grinding mill, the farm improvements at Namajje and the new kitchen stoves. Special thanks go to Mr. Rob and Ms. Cathy for the new very beautiful blue T-shirts that they brought for both the children and staff of Lulwanda. The climax of their visit was water balloons that attracted the attention of the children as well as the staff. The only people who survived the battles and games which consumed 900 water balloons were Mr. Rob, Ms Cathy and me — otherwise the rest of the people were left drenched in water. It was so exhilarating and full of fanfare. I must say the children greatly enjoyed this.
In His Name
MUSAGALA SIMON PETER