On our drive into Masindi I could see the Kamurasi school 'shining from the hill'. It was wonderful to see it like this for the first time. As you may remember the largest building of the school was painted last year. Thanks to Jan and Andy. It was such a great project as it not only benefits all the children, staff and parents at the school but also the local community as they benefit from the much smarter, cleaner, proud building.
On our arrival at school on Monday morning the first thing I noticed were the culverts that had been built. These have been paid for by the local council - transport and road department. Andy had suggested last year that culverts would help solve the problem of the road that divides the school building with the boarding hostel. When it rains heavily the top surface of the dirt road gets washed away and becomes uneven and more difficult to cross. Due to these culverts the road is now in a much better condition and safer to cross. The future plan is to build humps on the road outside where the children cross, this will help to slow the traffic down. The children are now also crossing the road at the narrowest point using a small gate to enter into the school site. We paid for this gate last year and Mohammed installed it.
Lynne taught some of the older boarding girls how to sew and repair their clothes. They can now also repair holes in their mosquito nets. We paid for and made up a sewing kit. The matron will add to their timetable at the weekend sewing activities to repair clothes and nets.
On Tuesday, a meeting at my request was arranged by Lillian the Head of the Kamurasi school to meet the Inspector of schools and the Local district director for school in Masindi. We all went together. Prior to our meeting Lillian and Joy (SENCO) had informed me that now the numbers of children have increased to just over 40. An additional specialistteacher who was able to sign was crucial in assisting the deaf children access their lessons. At this meeting we discussed the need of gaining another specialist teacher and how vital it was for the school and the children. The meeting was very positive and I heard from Lillian that a new signing teacher has now reported.
Lillian wishes to thank us and said that they are all overjoyed as this will make a huge difference to the whole special needs unit especially the deaf children.
We had two 1.5 metre mirrors made, one for the wall in the boarding hostel and one to be hung in the resource room, where the children access the vocational training. I was informed that many of the children rarely, if ever got the chance to see themselves in a mirror. The children's reaction, responses and interactions with the mirror was quite incredible. This is one of the reasons why the children like to see photos of themselves taken on a camera. A mirror for most families is a luxury item.
We placed in the corridor of the boarding hostel one of the empty cupboards from the area where the bunk beds are. We filled it with jigsaw puzzles, a bucket full of lego, a box full of duplo, a stationary box, a game of skittles, a box full of cars and a box full of sensory toys. We spent one afternoon showing Joy and Jane the Matron how to use the large plastic floor mats we had bought as a way of defining where groups of toys are managed. One mat for each activity. We showed and encouraged the children how to take the responsibility of setting up and tiding away.
Here are some of the other things we did/paid for during the week:
• The stove has been modified and it is now working really well.
• Guttering joints were replaced as water was escaping and not reaching the water butt or well.
• Transport and lunch for 12 members of staff from the Kamurasi school to visit the Masindi Centre for the Handicapped for the day.
• Lynne gave out many pairs of prescription glasses to children at the Masindi Centre for the Handicapped.
• A wooden first aid box with padlock was made for the children with special educational needs at the Kamurasi School.
• Bought 22 mosquito nets.
• Bought a trolley with drawers to store toys and learning resources.
• Installation of a large solar battery. This was for the boarding hostel.
• Bought 1 table, 6 benches, 22 mosquito net frames for the bunk beds, 12 beams for hooks to enable the children to hang clothing.
• Bought storage boxes, plates, cups, buckets, 10 dozen exercise books, 3 large floor mats for the children to play with toys/learning resources.
• Bought 3 maps, footballs, hoops and skipping ropes.
• Bought a long drum, 8 grass skirts, and material to make 6 ebigulya. These are garments to be worn at the music festival in July. The children in the vocational training will make them.
We also met up with John Kirungi who is a Doctor in the community. I gave him some magnification glasses, digital thermometers, re-hydration sachets, boxes of paracetamol and a blood pressure monitor.
Lynne and I also went out into the rural area surrounding Masindi. We went with Joy and Harriet who both work closely with families with disabled children. Many of these families are unable to send their children to school because of the severity of their disability. We distributed clothes, shoes, and toys.
The vocational training in tailoring and knitting is going from strength to strength and is making a profit. This profit is paying for material, threads and repairs for machines. It is also going to pay the wages of a student tailor. The profit from the knitting will pay for a blind teacher to teach blind children how to use the knitting machine.
Thank you to everyone for their help. It is all hugely appreciated and affecting peoples lives for the better.
Karen & the trustees.