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Local Marple Charity raises One Million Pounds for Africa

Denise Ead

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CharityHUGSHelping Uganda SchoolsStockport Golf ClubMarple BridgeJoanna Bircher

A meal to celebrate the success of the charity HUGS (Helping Uganda Schools) in raising One Million Poundswas held recently at Stockport Golf Club. This was organised by Trustee, Bob Blundell and attended by supporters of the charity who enjoyed a delicious meal and were brought up to date with the charitys latest news. Trustee, Joanna Bircher gave a lively and interesting presentation.

She talked about how the charity started in Marple Bridge with the aim of helping 15 children. But, 21 years later, six schools have been built and over 2,000 young people are being sponsored. Many to higher education where they will study for the professions and become doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers. The aim is to enable youngsters to reach their potential and to stay and work in their own country with these new talents and skills.

Joanna went on to tell the story of Gabriel who missed out on education because his parents had died and there was no one to pay for him to go to school. HUGS heard about him and decided to help. He started school when he was 12 years old. Ten years later he is now qualified in agriculture and has secured a teaching position at one of the schools. Joanna and her husband Richard have recently been to Uganda and visited the Good Shepherd School’  one of the real success stories of the charity. This is the first school in western Uganda for children who have disabilities. Usually children who have learning or physical disabilities do not have the chance to go to school. This all changed in 2005 when Sister Theresa Abigaba met Peter Mount (The Chairman of HUGS) and explained the need. This school is now a centre of excellence, with happy children receiving a sound education.

An auction and raffle followed the talk which raised over £3,000 pounds towards finishing the Lira Girls School in Northern Uganda. The girls in this part of Uganda have missed out on education because of the war and their place in society. This school needs two extra classrooms to be completed. 

All the money raised goes straight to the schools in Uganda and Rwanda. Peter Mount said, The success stories we have had since we began are unbelievable and really push us on to do more. Also, the schools we have built are sustainable, meaning if we are no longer able to support them they will go on and survive. We have excellent partners in Africa and we work with them, we never tell anyone what to do. We see our charity as a partnership and we have learnt so much over the years. When we go to Uganda and Rwanda we are made very welcome.

If you would like to know more about the charity and help raise the second Million pounds then contact Peter Mount on 0161 427 1515 or see the charitys website www.helpingugandaschools.org