CALM Africa visit the UK

As we bring 2016 to a close, we reflect on the great work done across this year, the progress against our common goal of protecting children in Uganda, and the great friendships shared over many years through this.

Journalist, Hillary, met with the CALM Africa team following their visit to the UK in August this year. Now we hear from their own words, what it has meant to them.

Two members of the CALM Africa team are all smiles and tales after returning from a trip to United Kingdom. The duo is James Kimera Ssekiwanuka, the Director & Team Leader and Joseph Luganda, Programs Manager.

“The purpose of our visit was three-fold,” explained the Director. “Firstly, we were there to attend the wedding ceremony of our friend Dan Hope. Dan informed us as early as last year, that he will be tying the knot with his wife. By March this year, he had sent a formal invitation and travel tickets to enable the preparation for the journey.

On a soberly note, James missed the wedding ceremony due to travel delays with visa processing. Joseph, however, did attend. “It was a marvellous party, thanks a lot Dan. It was one of the highlights of the trip,” adds Joseph.

“Secondly, we were there to meet supporters and friends of CALM Africa and other organizations that have an interest in child welfare and, thirdly, to meet friends of CALM Africa and to interface with CFU Board.

During their stay, they visited agencies like Team Fostering Organization in Newcastle where they learnt and shared experiences on child fostering programs. They also visited Safe Children Organization in Leeds where more experiences were shared and notes compared.

“We also took days off to spend time with our host Dan in York,” adds James, with memories flashing on his face.

In London, the duo spent some days with Terry Goddard (CFU Director) & family and had a day with Tony Bateman (CFU Director) and family, with whom they discussed matters of great interest for the organisation. Tony is the Patron of CALM Africa and works very closely with James continuously, remotely from the UK and through regular visits to Uganda. This was also an opportunity to interact with sponsors of students of Jolly Mercy Learning Centre. Joseph had time off to visit Kingston University. The university pledged to work with CALM Africa, by sending volunteer student to visit the organization.

Another great benefit of the visit was for James and Joseph to attend the Annual General Meeting of Children First Uganda (CFU) board, who are currently the main funder of CALM Africa through their fundraising activities.

“We gave them updates, achievements made so far, challenges and the way forward in regard to CALM Africa’s work,” explains James. In the way forward, the duo reiterated that CALM Africa is contributing to Global Sustainable Development Goals which focus on people, planet, peace, prosperity and partnership.

While addressing the board, James is quoted saying, “thank you is never going to be enough. You have worked hard to support us: just enormous goodwill. CFU has done amazing work. We have no sentimentality, no self-pity, no regret in what has been achieved so far in this partnership. We have all tried to follow defined objectives based on our dignity, our hopes and our dreams; striving to reconcile our inner experiences with all that’s happening besides us. We thank CFU for the essentials which have made us consequential. Our potential without the essentials is inconsequential.”

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CFU were so pleased to hear of the progress made during the AGM, and we look forward to working together on further developments over coming years. On a recent visit by our Director in the opposite direction over to Uganda, it was fantastic to see these things in person, and so encouraging for continuing to make an impact.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!