14/05/14 – Ryamugwizi Primary School, Uganda
Vice Principal Mr N Megaw delivered a whole school assembly last week about his 9 day mission trip to Uganda during his Easter holidays. Mr Megaw travelled to the western district of Ibanda in Uganda with the REAP (Realise East African Potential) Project Team, which was working under the umbrella of local award-winning charity Fields of Life.
Since 1995 Fields of Life has been bringing about meaningful and real change in East African communities. The Fields of Life mission of providing sustainable development focuses on four main issues - the provision of quality education, the provision of clean water, health promotion and income generating projects. To date Fields of Life has constructed 110 schools providing education for more than 45,000 children but this is just the tip of the ice-berg. In addition, the charity has drilled 265 wells which are now providing approximately 250,000 villagers with clean, safe drinking water.
The REAP Project (established by 17 County Armagh men in 2012) set out to raise £35,000 in order to finance the construction of a new classroom block and a £3,600 well (which was later kindly donated by Markethill Livestock Sales Ltd) at Ryamugwizi Primary School. All REAP Members were responsible for running a number of fund-raising events. Mr Megaw contributed over £5,000 to the final total raised through the organisation of a charity football match in his home village of Richhill, a non-uniform day at Newtownhamilton High (see picture below), a Church barbecue, a coffee morning and also through various donations received from both individuals and local businesses. There were also a number of team fund-raising events which involved a 10 mile tractor pull through County Down, quiz nights, golf days, Ulster and Lions rugby breakfasts, coffee mornings, marathons, barbecues, a tag rugby tournament and even a bungee jump!
As a result of the commitment demonstrated by REAP Members and the generosity of the general public, the REAP project exceeded their initial target by actually raising a massive £60,000 which meant many additions such as a toilet block and new kitchen could be built at the school. Mr Megaw commented “I want to take this opportunity to thank the pupils, staff, parents and friends of Newtownhamilton High who supported me in recent fund raising events and also through prayer. A special mention goes to our Year 9 Home Economics pupils and teacher Mrs C Alexander who baked tray bakes for a successful coffee morning which I recently held at my home. The generosity that I received from the Newtownhamilton community was overwhelming and I can assure everyone that the 223 pupils at Ryamugwizi Primary School are much better off as a result of this support”.
During the trip, the REAP team used their time to complete the construction of the new school building, paint 3 classrooms in the old school building, oversee vital teacher training (the team contained 5 teachers), deliver Bible classes to pupils, run a sports camp for pupils and build a small football pitch for community members.
Mr Megaw concluded “Our REAP team members simply believe that the vast majority of people here in Northern Ireland are blessed with a free education and a comfortable lifestyle. We wanted to show the children of Ryamugwizi that people do care and that there is hope for a better future. I am confident that our time at Ryamugwizi will bring about positive and long-term change that will hopefully see this poverty stricken community REAP the rewards”.