Uganda villagers say thank you to Harpenden residents

Harpenden Spotlight on Africa

Harpenden Spotlight on Africa - Credit: Archant

Harpenden residents have returned from a charity visit to Uganda with messages of thanks for the town.

Residents Wendy Howson and Caroline Swanson, along with Rory Scales and Joan Thomas from nearby Codicote, have recently come back from visiting a community in Mbale, Eastern Uganda on behalf of the Harpenden Spotlight on Africa charity.

The local development charity has been working in the deprived area of Uganda for almost 10 years. The project works to promote education, improve health, drive economic development and help to provide access to clean drinking water.

Charitable donations from residents, schools, businesses, churches and clubs around Harpenden have helped to fund the project. Their generosity has already facilitated the building of a school, and training for health workers in order to prevent common killers such as malaria, cholera and HIV/Aids.

Alice, a widow who received a goat from the charity, said: “I am very grateful that people so far away from Uganda are helping us. I had nothing when my husband died. But with my goats I have been able to send my children to school and I have also bought a cow.”

The project has additionally been working with Rothamsted Research to increase crop yields for farmers, using an environmentally friendly pest control system. So far, the scheme has dramatically improved the output of staple crops, while providing valuable feed for animals, and a pilot fish farm.

Caroline Swanson, one of the Harpenden Spotlight trustees, said: “Our overriding aim is to help people help themselves by giving them the means to earn a living. One of the most heart warming things we learnt was how people have been able to start their own savings schemes with the money they now earn.”

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She added: “It costs as little as £10 a month to feed and educate a child so were appealing to anyone who can make a regular donation. The money we receive makes a real difference to peoples lives but we could always do more.”

The project is currently entirely run by volunteers, and the four members who recently visitied Uganda paid for their own travel expenses. 95p of every pound donated to the scheme goes straight to Uganda where it is really making a difference to the local communities.

For more information on the Harpenden Spotlight on Africa Project, click here.