If you follow us on social media, you will know that some volunteers recently made a trip to New Beginnings to complete many important tasks. We were delighted that the group had a highly productive visit, despite the short duration of their trip. The group returned to Northern Ireland in high spirits with lots of positive feedback from their trip and heart-warming stories of the children. Keep reading to find out what’s going on at New Beginnings and what our volunteers got up to there!
New Beginnings Primary School is continuing to run as one of the top performing schools in the Nakasongola District and we were overjoyed to find that results have improved even further for the last term. The children enjoyed a well-earned break after they sat their end of term exams. Many children went home to spend the holidays with their families, while others enjoyed spending time with the team and completing chores and hobbies around the village.
Upon each visit to New Beginnings, we are able to notice progress, most notably in education. Children who begged on the streets and went to sleep hungry are now studying for tests. Children who have lost parents and siblings through disease are now aspiring to be doctors and nurses. Children who once felt hopeless and without a future, are now becoming the future. We are extremely pleased with the New Beginnings children who now attend Bethel Royal High School. The students are working extremely hard in their studies and are showing promising results. The primary seven class of NB Primary School will be sitting their leaving examinations in November and hopefully will join the high school students in January.
Each child at New Beginnings radiates absolute gratitude and joy for their opportunity of education. We would like to pass on their sincere thanks to all of our sponsors who make it possible.
While the medical team at New Beginnings work tirelessly to care for the children, illnesses, unfortunately and inevitably, occur. As we mentioned last month, our little new-born, Jeremiah, was suffering from pneumonia and had to make regular trips to the hospital. However, we are delighted to inform you that Jeremiah has made a full recovery from his illness and is now living happily and healthily at New Beginnings.
A little girl, Georgina, is recovering from an uncommon skin condition. She is no longer feeling any pain from the disease and remains only with a little skin dryness and irritation.
If you have been following us over the past few months, you will know that last year, a young boy called Joseph was diagnosed with cancer. Joseph is still continuing with treatment which can leave him feeling sick for some time after. He is bravely overcoming the obstacles of his illness and we are happy to report that the tumours are reducing in size, due to his treatment. Joseph is very happy that the frequency of his treatment is becoming less.
The New Beginnings’ children with special needs are all growing up and progressing well. Most notably, Junior, Halima and Viola are becoming more independent and progressing positively in social relationships.
We are extremely thankful to our gracious God for keeping His hand upon these children in times when they have been made vulnerable through sickness – to Him be the glory!
Over the past few months, Gift and Harriet have been working hard to complete the school uniforms for primary school children. As these two talented girls now head the crafts team, they are brainstorming ideas for a new range of crafts which they will work on with help from other girls at the village– your suggestions are also very welcome!
A group of the older boys have been working on some lovely Christmas products which we are excited to bring to you soon.
Unfortunately, Nakasongola didn’t receive much rain this season so the harvest hasn’t been overly plentiful. Many of the children did spend their days off school at the farm, harvesting the maize that did grow.
The children are continuing to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables within the village, including oranges, tomatoes, jackfruit, cassava, apples and pumpkins. Even the young children are learning to care for their garden under the supervision of their houseparents.
The New Beginnings bakery is successfully running under the supervision of Ibra who is currently taking a course in hospitality. A few of the older girls, such as Mariam, Dido and Harriett, help Ibra by working in the bakery. The bakery team make their own fresh bread and have recently been able to provide it to other volunteer teams in the nearby area.
The bakery and restaurant teams were especially busy during the two weeks that the team visited the village – it’s hard to beat a fresh donut straight out of the oil!
The volunteers had a highly productive trip and returned home with a sense of accomplishment with the work they had achieved in such a short visit – A LOT can happen in a day at New Beginnings, never mind two weeks. Here’s a summary of what they got up to…
Neil spent a lot of time in the office as he assisted with the IT issues by fixing laptops and setting them up for office work. This was greatly appreciated by the Ugandan office staff – technology doesn’t always run smoothly at the best of times, and certainly not in Uganda. After tedious work with the computers, Neil met with the management team of the school and the village to address any organisational issues and find ways to improve upon these. The management teams were also a big help to Neil as he identified areas in the village and school that are most in need of fundraising.
As the sun goes down and the noise of school children disappears, evenings are generally quite relaxed at New Beginnings, but the work went on in different areas. Neil continued the work of the boy’s group, RISE, through Bible studies with the older boys. Many nights, the boys came to learn about their relationships with God and how they can live as righteous, Christian teenagers.
Robyn is our child sponsorship co-ordinator and social media co-ordinator so spent much of her time working with children and teachers in the school and also with the office staff. Robyn gathered many, many hundreds of letters for sponsor updates, and constantly battled the fear of losing them on the flights home! To continue the work of both sponsorship programmes, Robyn identified the children still in need of sponsorship then worked with the office staff to attain the children’s background information.
When the most important work was completed, Robyn taught and led the choir in a song which may or may not feature in our upcoming video… Robyn and Maggie worked closely to capture content for the purpose of updating our followers and promoting our sponsorship programmes.
Robyn set up the girl’s group, SHINE, 3 years ago and was delighted to return to continue the work through Biblical teaching with the older girls. Many nights you could find the SHINE girls in the top gazebo, worshipping God as friends and a sisterhood, through song, dance and prayer.
Maggie came on the trip with the primary role of a photographer but ended up doing many more side jobs – and we are eternally grateful for that! Maggie gathered updated photographs of the sponsored children so each sponsor can receive a photograph of their sponsor child. She also gathered photographs of the children in need of sponsorship which you will see on our ‘Sponsorship Sunday’ section of our Instagram page.
Most excitingly, Maggie shot a lot of video footage for a new video which is hopefully coming soon – (when we reach 700 followers on Instagram, so get sharing!).
Maggie spent many evenings assisting with the organisation of sponsorship material and taking part in SHINE.
Adele is our U.K. director, so we can trust that she finds plenty of tasks to complete on regular visits to Uganda and in the Kilkeel office – this trip was no different. Adele assisted the warden and resettlement officers with sourcing and recording backgrounds of children in need of sponsorship. Much work was carried out in the accounting and finance area as Adele worked closely with the finance officer and school staff to produce a school budget for the upcoming term. Adele also met with the bank manager to improve on the banking system.
Out of office, but still at work, Adele spent time meeting with the staff and houseparents to address any issues and identify solutions and methods of improvement. Adele also spent time with children who required some extra counselling.
In a nutshell, we all work together, and we all depend on one another. We are blessed with the team of devoted volunteers that God has granted New Beginnings.
- Safety of children and staff as there are many snakes at the minute
- Primary Seven students taking their leaving exams in November
- Health of all children, especially those recovering from sickness
Thank you for reading our update – until next time, stay up to date with our social media pages.
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