In February, Rita is planning to start school. This has been made possible by people like you, who have supported the work of a little bit of HOPE. You may well have already heard Rita’s story, but please read on, because as we look back at 2012, and look ahead to 2013, the story of a little bit of HOPE is personified by her.
Until this year Rita had spent her entire life on the side-lines. Unable to straighten her legs she couldn’t walk; this prevented her from collecting water, working on the land, playing with her siblings, attending school, and consequently her life was characterised by a lack of hope. Towards the end of 2011 we found people in the UK who wanted to give Rita hope. They paid for her to have the hospital treatment she needed. Then, during 2012 we have continued to support her by providing her with first a walking frame and then crutches, we’ve taken her for check-up appointments at the hospital and ensured that she’s been doing exercises to build up the muscles in her legs.
I rarely shed a tear, but I have shed at least two this year; one when I saw a photo of Rita walking with her friends, and another when I saw a photo of Rita smiling. In the past, Rita was a shy and sullen girl, but as her legs have strengthened, as she has gradually overcome her hurdle that was preventing her from reaching her full potential, she has flourished. As hope flooded into her life, as she begins to look into a future with options, she is becoming increasingly confident and chatty.
As Rita has gone from strength to strength, so has the work of a little bit of HOPE. This year, we set out to raise £6,000. We had a crazy dream that we might be able to raise £12,000. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we raised over £16,000!
This money has enabled us to help three schools start farms, buy text books for Busolwe Library, and kick-start a programme of IT training. It meant we could fund a programme of basic sanitation education, buy beds for a community run orphanage (as well as provide training for the staff and management team) and have fixed four boreholes. It allowed us to employ a project coordinator, provide capital to a small loan scheme, chicken rearing project, jewellery making project, soap making project, tailoring school and to a woman’s group to make sanitary towels. The money also enabled us to organise an Olympic fun run, provide sports equipment for schools, give Christmas hampers to 50 widows, and much more! Our Annual Report, with full details of our income and expenditure, will be available in March.
Rita was hoping to start school last Easter; that didn’t happen. Over the past year we have learnt that things usually take longer than we think they are going to! Sometimes this is simply a frustration that we have to live with, on other occasions we are learning that slow and steady is usually the best way – especially when seeking to make a lasting difference. As she has learnt to walk, Rita has faced many challenges. During 2012, a little bit of HOPE, both in the UK and Uganda, has been learning to walk – and has experienced rapid growth at the same time (Just imagine learning how to walk while simultaneously going through adolescence!). However, thanks to the hard work and wisdom of a great team of people, we have overcome many of the obstacles we have faced.
This year, as Rita does finally start school, a little bit of HOPE (Uganda) has many exciting projects in the pipeline. In terms of projects it will be about sustaining and developing existing ones, while funding new and innovative projects that will help people overcome the hurdles they face. Thanks to a grant we have received from Bethesda Baptist Church (Ipswich) we will be embarking on a programme of latrine building, we will be working with the widows in the village of Bugosa to see how we can best support them to support themselves, and there are plans to initiate the, ‘a little bit of HOPE entrepreneur of the year’ award. Behind the scenes, we’ll be continuing to work on our organisational structure to ensure that we’re ready for 2014 – a year that will probably see us employing more staff in Uganda, needing to move into a larger office, and rolling out our school farms programme throughout the Butaleja District.
Meanwhile, in the UK we need to increase our fundraising efforts to ensure that we keep apace with all the exciting opportunities that are open to a little bit of HOPE (Uganda). We have a plan as to how to do this, which will be revealed over the next few months, but we need your help. In order to enlarge our supporter base, we first need to be able to connect with a wider audience. Therefore, would you help us spread the word? Could you tell your family, friends, work colleagues, youth group, or church about how they could get involved with the work of a little bit of HOPE? If you would like to help us in this way, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org), as we will be able to provide you with a range of resources.
Thank you for your support over the past year – whether that’s been through reading our newsletters, giving money, offering advice, praying, or telling others about our work – it’s been greatly appreciated and has enabled us to achieve so much. In 2013, in order to do everything we would like to, we need to increase our annual regular giving by £5,000 and we need to receive £6,000 through one-off donations. If you already support a little bit of HOPEfinancially, then I just want to say a big, heartfelt, thank you. However, if you don’t, please do consider supporting our work by giving to it and enabling some of the world’s poorest people to reach their full potential.
Chair of Trustees