The Chellaston Academy Uganda Project, now in its fifth year has purchased, renovated and now maintains an Orphanage in Kampala for 83 former street children. It was named after ‘John Dickens’ a former assistant head of the school who was ‘deputy leader’ of the first trip in 2007. The property is entirely owned by the school’s board of governors and is maintained each year by the fundraising undertaken by the school’s pupils and partner companies such as Deloitte, Clerical Medical and the Bank of Scotland. The students in this house are mainly orphans or former street children, some suffering from AIDS. It is run on a daily basis by 6 volunteers who give their lives to help these children survive the harsh reality of East African life. In 2010, Chellaston school spent over £10,000 adding essential extra water supplies, laying a brand new ‘flood prevention’ drainage system, bringing the outside of the building into line with health and safety regulations, closing off an open sewer, paying for an extra 2o children to go to school and paying off bills on water and electricity for the next twelve months. Much needed food supplies for the two months following the trip were also given.
*In 2010, the academy also made a commitment to create and open a second orphanage in the Kasubi region of the city. This new building was renovated by three members of staff who travelled out to Uganda despite the dangerous political situation in July last year. Unfortunately, they could not be joined by any students as their trip had to be cancelled due to safeguarding concerns in connection with the July 11 th terrorist attacks in Kampala, but 7 adult volunteers flew out to support them. Around £5,000 was spent on kitting out the house, adding running water and electricity, as well as building a 7ft brick wall outside the house. Upon completion, the school officially handed over the purpose built orphanage to MYDEL, a local Non-Governmental Organisation who look after children in Uganda’s worst slum, Mengo. MYDEL now own and maintain the building independently and members of the Uganda Government and Royal Family were there to celebrate this momentous occasions for one of Uganda’s oldest volunteer organisations. Chellaston will continue to aide future redevelopment on this site but will not maintain the costs of the building or the daily welfare of the orphans. All money raised for welfare
The 2011 trip was the first trip to work with two teams on both sites. The Year 12 team worked at the John Dickens Home, developing a more efficient irrigation and draining system for water and rendering the security wall around the house. They all gave the house a very good repaint, part of the academy’s commitment to the upkeep of the building.
The Year 13 team worked at the Mydel House, the project they had been raising money for when there trip was so cruelly cut short. Despite a year off, their skills had not deserted them and they managed to build a brand new dorm for 18 girls (from scratch!!), knock down some very rotting and malaria ridden toilets, opened two new classrooms, and created an effective draining system by paving the entire front of the house.
In 2012, another 24 students went out to represent the academy, working primarily at the MYDEL site on the academy’s most adventurous project to date; a three floor ‘Jubilee Building’ that would include two first floor dormitories for boys, second floor classrooms and ICT and library facilities on the third floor. The purpose of this was to free up space in the main building (opened in 2010) which could then be opened as a Primary school for the children of the local community.
The ‘blue army’ of 2012 were an incredibly well drilled unit, completing their assigned dormitory project with half a day to spare. It was the first time in the project’s history that we would be adding an ‘upstairs’ and this meant that their work had to be very precise.
The links that we are building in Uganda are becoming vast. We now have a reputation as an academy who meet their promises and maintain their work, year upon year. For the third year running, the school paid the running costs for the John Dickens Home in full, three quarters of which was raised by the students of the academies ‘Uganda Junior Committee’. Mr Karran now heads a team of 20 teachers who all give up their time to make this project work and the academy is constantly buzzing with fundraising events.