Berkshire Scouts to Uganda Aug'15
69 participants from Berkshire Scouts (x15 leaders; x 6 18–19 group; and x 48 Explorer Scouts) returned safely from Uganda on 20 August to a special welcome at London Heathrow by a large group of parents, relatives and supporters.
Following the flight to Uganda, via Dubai, and a night at the Nile River Camp, Jinja, participants moved on to the two project sites (Butagaya & Iwololo Primary Schools – north of Jinja). The participants camped and worked at both project sites – collecting water from the village bore holes (hand pumps) and using a limited electric power supply from solar panels purchased in the UK for the purpose.At Butagaya Primary School (1,000+ pupils) the participant started work by excavating the ground (no machinery) to prepare for the foundations for a replacement x3 classroom block. The participants were very active with a team of local builders in constructing the footings and backfilling the foundations as well as laying a concrete base for the floor – using only buckets and wheelbarrows! Bricks were made on a hand machine every day and some of these were laid on the new foundation before departing the project site. Project Africa has funded the completion of the building which is expected to be completed during September.
Work at the Iwololo Primary School (also 1,000+ pupils) was more diverse than Butagaya and included the building of a staff accommodation block (to ring beam level) as well as painting the exterior and interior of x7 classrooms (including some really good educational artwork on the classroom walls). Brick making was also undertaken at Iwololo. The project also paid for a new roof and ceiling for an existing staff accommodation block.
All Scouts had the opportunity to work on both school sites. At the end of the project work the schools held a ‘handover’ ceremony which was attended by school staff; school governors; local education and community officials; clergy; as well as parents and school children. Both head teachers gave touching speeches of thanks explaining what a substantial difference Berkshire Scouts had made to the local schools and local communities. The head teachers are convinced the lift to the schools will lead to better education and performance.
The final few days in Uganda were spent at Murchison Falls National Park in the NW of Uganda. The participants took part in a game drive as well as a river trip and walk by the falls. The final night was spent at the Enro Hotel in Mityana which also gave an opportunity to meet again with the staff of Bukeka Children’s Centre (one of the project sites from Uganda 2011 and still supported by Project Africa).
Feedback from Berkshire Scouts' Social Media sites
"Thanks to all involved in creating such a wonderful event that has changed so many young peoples lives on more than one continent."
"Thank you for a life changing experience for my son."
"A massive thank you to all the amazing leaders who looked after our loved ones for the last 24 days. You are all heroes in my eyes, and have changed the lives of many."
"The most incredible experience for my son, thank you!"
"A big thank you for organising such a fantastic trip, changing so many lives for the better and creating such incredible memories for all those who have taken part."
"Thank you to the entire leadership team and organisers who made this wonderful trip happen. Young people helping young people – amazing how everyone together made a big difference to children in Butagaya and Iwololo. Great job!"