The Mary Wood Trust Website
Oliver and Clare Ramsden travelled out to Uganda on July 1st 2019 for 18 days, with two grand-daughters
- Jess (18) and Emily (16), and what a success the trip was.
The girls raised the money to fund their airfares and visas and park fees.
Below is a reflection on Jess's visit.
Recently I embarked on a trip of a lifetime to Uganda. After 6 months of fundraising and balancing my A Levels I finally made it to the fundraising total! Through the work in youth voice and youth empowerment I have done, I wanted to go out there to make a real difference with the girls.
Honestly, it was incredible.
But I think I truly experienced a culture shock for the first time. Despite being quite well travelled, Uganda was worlds away from our life back home in the UK. From the shops, foods, attitudes and landscape- everything was so very different.
We were lucky enough to visit many people, through the Diocese and friends. So many people!
We visited Nyakatare health centre, went on a health outreach programme to Mygere, attended a service at St Peter’s Cathedral, Nyakatare, Ruth Memorial Nursery School and Nyakabungo Girls Secondary School.
The Nursery School has evolved so much since the charity has been involved. It is filled with joyful and happy children. We did lots of activities with them! From play dough to colouring and painting to butterfly making! They then showed us how to make dolls, balls and ropes out of banana leaves. It is safe to say I don’t quite have that skill!
On our second visit to the school we decided to brighten up their plain classroom walls. We painted a huge rainbow, alphabet tree, handprint tree and logo. For most of the children this was their first time using paint and they loved putting their handprints on the wall! Our hope is these new bright walls will create an even happier learning environment.
I then wanted to experience the life of a schoolgirl at NGSS. So I stayed the night at the school, going to the girls’ lessons and living life like they do for two days! Honestly, the lessons are complete worlds away from anything I have ever done in the UK. They are old fashioned parrot style lessons, where the teacher will read something out of a textbook and the students will copy it down. It was hard! But these girls take it all in their stride.
What was most incredible was seeing the real impact the Mary Wood Trust has made. I think we can sometimes forget that the charity is changing young women’s lives. The amount they have done at the school is immense and the effect it has on the girls there is clear. It allows them opportunities and an education and that is not something that can be taken for granted.
Whilst spending time with the girls I developed the I Stand project with them. Starting with a session around female empowerment and then developing a project where the girls are making bags and these bags are being sold on here in the UK to raise money for a music system. Check out the
page for more details!!
To conclude, this trip was a true eye opener into all the incredible work the charity does, every single penny goes towards benefitting the lives of real people and that is something that can’t be put into words.
A huge thank you to all those who continue to support the MWT, you are giving a voice, hope and change to hundreds of people.
I stand Video available here!
News from Clare and Oliver following their visit in March 2018
Oliver and I have recently returned from a 12 day visit to Kanungu District in S W Uganda. These annual trips are a wonderful chance to catch up with the various projects that the Mary Wood Trust is involved with, as well as showing our ongoing commitment to the Diocese and to the people that we are trying to help.
The Lights for Life project was a great success and it was a pleasure to be able to hand out personal solar lights to all the teachers at Nyakabungo Girls Secondary School, to the teachers at Ruth Memorial Nursery School, to some of the workers at Nyakatare Health Centre, to all the MWT Further Education students and graduates that we met up with and to many others whom we felt would benefit from this sustainable source of light. The hydro-electric power supply is intermittent and somewhat unreliable and so the solar lights allow for light at any time. We also left 4 integral lighting systems with the school and we hope that under the care of the Physics teacher, they will work well and benefit all the students. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed towards this.
NGSS is undergoing some changes at present, with a new head teacher recently appointed.
I met Molly Musinguzi the week before she took up her new position and feel sure that she
will work hard to make the school more cohesive and involve the local community more in the
It was great to see the students enjoying their Saturday afternoon football
(in their brightly coloured new strip) and we wish all the sports teams good luck as they start
participating in their various matches around the region.
The proposed new sewing room and male staff accommodation are now firmly on the plans for this year and we hope to bring good news of these very soon.
Our visit to Ruth Memorial Nursery School coincided with a very heavy downpour but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the children. They sang with gusto and tucked into the edible treats that we had taken- hard boiled eggs, biscuits, drinks and lollipops. The front of the nursery school is now secure with a fence to stop the children running in to the road. The new see saws and slide were proving very popular! The director, Ephraim Tumwesigye, continues to provide primary education for these needy children, with minimum income. It is good to be able to help where we can.
Nyakatare Health Centre and the Dental Clinic appear to be doing well. Peter, the dentist, is doing more outreaches, educating communities about oral health and prevention of dental caries. The new patient latrine and washing area is much appreciated and the water connection to the laboratory certainly makes a huge difference. The microscope that we provided some years ago needs some attention and possibly needs replacing.
Catching up with our various ex NGSS girls is always a pleasure and it is good to see a number of them studying at University, pursuing vocational courses, training to be midwives, being supportive wives, being educated mothers. This is surely what it is all about. Helping them to be able to be informed members of their communities, role models for their families and eventually being able to help others who need support, just as they have been helped.
It is a privilege to be part of their journey and we could not do this without your continued love and support. Thank you.