Last week was our AGM, Suzanne, our Chair gives a personal update of the meeting…..
I flew out of Dundee last Friday in FlyBe’s purple Dornier propeller airplane, looking forward to attending Children First Uganda’s AGM the next day. I can’t quite believe that this will be our 8th AGM. However, I did know that this one would be rather special, as James Ssekiwanuka (Director CALM Africa) and Joseph Luganda (Programme Coordinator) were in the UK and would be attending the meeting.
The engineering consultants Elementa had kindly offered us a meeting room in their smart new offices in London at no cost. Everyone could make the meeting; it was great to see Tony (Bateman), Andrew (Drakeford), Natalie (Moore), Terry (Goddard), Dee and Paul (Winks). Then straight down to business.Children First Uganda’s principle aim is fundraising to support Calm Africa’s work (our sister charity) in Uganda. So it was great to hear Andrew reporting that we have sent over £34,000 to Calm Africa last year, whilst our total expenditure was only £150 (which were mostly admin and bank charges). Our other goal is to increase the profile and awareness of Children First Uganda and Calm Africa. Much of this work is championed by Natalie who is our ‘Media Lead & Fundraising Co-ordinator’. Natalie has done a great work managing our website and social media. The website blog offers great insights and heart-warming stories about the wide range of projects that we are involved in.
As I had anticipated, James and Joseph stole the show. It was a privilege to hear James describe how his team support some of the most vulnerable children in Kampala. He told us how the staff provide a safe and supportive school environment for the children in their care. James described his ambitious plan to pump clean water from their local well directly into the Jolly Mercy school. He closed by sharing his vision of building a healthcare centre for the local community. After lunch Joseph spoke about the grassroots community work that their team provides, and he explained more about the ground breaking foster care programme that he runs, which allows children to be cared for in their own community. It was good to meet Joseph, I had heard so much about Joseph but I had never met him.
What are my closing impressions of the day? I was encouraged that as a result of the regular giving of many Children First Uganda supporters, we are now able to send monthly donations to support the Calm Africa team. I am proud that nearly all the money we raise goes directly to support children that are in Calm Africa’s care. It is good to know that projects like the school sponsorship scheme are giving children hope. Every year I am struck by how far even a modest donation can go in Uganda.
As I climbed back on the Dornier plane at Stansted, my hope is that when the CFU team met in 2017, we may have helped turned some of James’s dreams into reality.
You can read a little more about our Chair, Suzanne, and the rest of the CFU team here: http://childrenfirstuganda.co.uk/who-we-are/cfu-board/