It’s the time of year when we are all busy with preparations for Christmas with present buying, writing Christmas cards, preparing online Christmas services, and yet it’s also good to reflect on the past year, which we know hasn’t been easy for any of us. Many of us will have been affected by grief, ill health, loss of jobs and the uncertainty of what the future holds, but we thank God for His provision to sustain the charity going forward in this unstable season, and for all the support you have given to us to enable this work to continue. We cannot do this without you, and we are very grateful.
We send our thoughts and prayers to Steve, Helen and family as not only did Helen lose her father in July, but in August her mum passed away too. Both her parents were great supporters of Gulu Mission and were so supportive and proud of the work Helen had started. We send her our love.
Update on support for the elderly and vulnerable
During the past eight months 5,880 vulnerable people were supported, this equates to around 980 families with round 6 people in each family. The communities covered were Kabedopong, Kasubi. Oturuloya, Pabwo, Kulukeno, Rwotobilo, Teecwaa, Adak, Awoonyim, Pawel Angeny, Teeladwong, Pawel Akwii, Anyadwe and Omoti.
Support was also given via the Covid-19 task force who handed out maize flour, sugar and beans to around another 500 families.
Letter of thanks from Okwera Akijji
‘I am a resident of Pajji village and I have received help from Phoebe Ochan. Phoebe gave many people food items and I was one of the elderly who received this support. She said that GMI was giving these items to help those who were hungry in Gulu. I had not eaten or drinking for two months. I was becoming very weak and walking was difficult. An elderly neighbour who was much weaker than myself couldn’t reach the supplies being given out, so I shared mine with them. Thank you to GMI and Mama Phoebe’.
Letter of thanks from Lydia Angeyo
‘I live in Pugwinyi, and am 78 years old. I thank you for giving me food items like posho, sugar, oil and bars of soap. We had struggled for two weeks to feed the children and grandchildren, and they were becoming malnourished. My daughter-in-law had just given birth and needing to eat properly. The rains had ruined all our gardens. I am praying God will bless you and will continue giving you a heart to help us. Thank you to Mama Phoebe too’.
Update from Phoebe
Here is the latest update from our partner in Gulu, Phoebe Ochan …
Both Bethel primary and secondary schools re-opened on 15th October to public examination candidates only in line with government restrictions. The schools went through a rigorous process of preparation to meet the standard operating procedure and inspection, which they did successfully and were given certificates of compliance after passing all the requirements.
What has happened since then?
70 pupils have reported back to school, and are supported by 10 teachers and 6 non-teaching staff. All of these students have been registered with the Uganda National Examination Board to be able to sit their national exams. Teachers are obviously working hard to prepare the students for these exams.
Ronnie, the Headteacher took part in training in Kampala on how to do the registration of the pupils for their exams.
On 19th November the school was inspected by the district health inspector to check the compliance to Covid-19 requirements, and we are pleased to say the school passed by 97%.
99 pupils have reported back to school, and are being supported by 11 teaching staff and 7 non-teaching staff, and all have been registered to sit their national exams.
Again, the school was inspected and passed with 94% for Covid-19 compliance.
They have unfortunately have lost three members of staff due to differing circumstances, but have since found replacements.
The directors of GMI would like to acknowledge with gratitude the dedication of the staff and directors of the school throughout this time, in supporting pupils with home-learning during lockdown and getting ready for reopening.
A Level classrooms
Before lockdown the building work of the classrooms had started but not completed. The intention is to use the A level classroom block as a examination centre, but it needs to be completed to gain a centre number. We are hoping this can be finished by January 2021 for this to happen.
Vocational training centre
Our next venture is a vocational training centre which will cater for youth who have dropped out of school for a variety of reasons and for those who have never had an opportunity to go to school.
Tools With A Mission (TWAM) have already supplied us with a variety of gardening tools, sewing machines and other equipment to see this project started. The tools are being shipped from the UK, and hopefully will arrive the first quarter of 2021.
This centre will start off with three classrooms, and will need to be built in another community, as it isn’t possible to have on the same land as Bethel schools.
Please pray for the forthcoming elections in Uganda in February 2021 and for peace and stability in the country. There have already been outbreaks of unrest in Kampala with deaths, injuries and arrests.
We wish you all a blessed, peaceful and healthy Christmas and New Year.
See you in 2021!