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Our Latest News!

Here is our newsletter from May 2023.

A very warm hello from the Lara, David and the Craft Aid UK family! It’s been a very busy start to the year with lots going on in Uganda and a fair amount of change in the Craft Aid UK household, not only for the children themselves but for the house too. The whole roof of the Craft Aid house was needing to be replaced and so for a month in April everyone had to move into temporary accomodation, we’re back home now with lots of cleaning to be done.

Back at the beginning of the year we were very lucky to spend our festive season in Uganda, and were able to enjoy both Christmas and New Year with the Craft Aid kids. This also meant that we were able to give out the Christmas shoeboxes that many of you generously donated in person – as many of you will know, we run the shoebox appeal every year and it's so lovely to see the joy that these boxes bring to the children that live in the community around our home in Kampala.

During our time in Uganda we were able to enjoy a number of activities together with the children, which included:

  • Book shopping - all of our children love to read, and thanks to a generous one-off donation, we were able to afford a trip to a bookshop to buy them books of their choice. Due to our budget limitations, we are normally only able to afford to buy the text books they need for school, so it was a delight to take them to a book shop and let them choose two books of whatever genre they wanted to read.

Our kids with their new books
  • Cinema – Lara's Mum came with us to Uganda, and kindly paid to take all the children to the cinema on Christmas Eve. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they chose to see the very latest release: Avatar 2: The Way of the Water. Going to the cinema is a real treat, especially as most of our kids have only been twice before, and to see a brand-new film in 3D was mind blowing for them.

Our family at Avatar: The Way of the Water
  • Recreational Camp, Jinja – It's really important that our kids have the opportunity to bond with each other through shared experience, and that they don’t exist purely to attend school. Not being blood siblings means that times can occasionally be challenging at home, so being able enjoy the occasional overnight recrational trip is key to keeping them bonded, is great for team work and helps them return refreshed to their studies. Thanks to the same, generous one off donation which facilitated the bookstore strip, we were able to revisit Jinja, and the Nile River Camp, where we hired kayaks and paddleboards, as well as enjoying the rope swing and the pool. The children had to work together on the kayaks, and even had mount a mini “rescue” mission, as the kayakers had to tow their paddle boarding counterparts back to shore when tiredness saw them stuck in a current on the river!

  • Quad biking – On New Year’s Day, we gave the children the choice of what activity they would like to do as a treat from us, and they chose quad biking. It was only slightly terrifying for us as “parents” overseeing 9 young people who have never been on a quad (or indeed driven any sort of vehicle) before but everyone did really well… and we only had 3 crashes! Nobody was hurt, which was the main thing, and our kids learnt a valuable lesson in taking a slow and considered approach to new things, whilst working up to proficiency, rather than diving in at full throttle and ending up in a ditch!

Our kids quad biking
  • Introducing the newest member of the Craft Aid UK family, Lucky – Lucky was found in a bin by Lara, after a quick trip to the vet we found out she was likely only a week old, after lots of love and attention from the Craft Aid UK family, Lucky is growing fast and loves all of the chidren.

Lucky the Cat
  • Whilst we were in Uganda we made time one-on-one with all of our children to discuss the upcoming year and what it has in store for them. There are lots of change in store:

    • Dan – has just finished his training at culinary school which included a 3 month internship at the Onomo hotel in central Kampala, he is now on the hunt for a job in a kitchen which is not an easy task with unemployment in Uganda at a record high. We’re hoping in the next few months that he will find employment and we will be able to support his transition on from the Craft Aid home.

    • David – started his final year of A levels at Old Kampala Secondary school, studying Biology, Chemistry and Maths.

    • Diego – has started his GCSE’s at Old Kampala Secondary school. When he finishes this, he will transfer to college to study Business Entrepreneurship for two years.

    • Mike – has started technical college where he will study computer design for two years.

    • Nazifah – is nearly half way through Primary 6 at Mengo Primary school, this is her penultimate year of primary before she transitions to secondary school.

    • Noreen – will start a midwifery course in the summer for two years, this course does not start until July. Unfortunately her endemetriosis has flared up and she had to undergo another major operation at the start of the year which she is still recovering from. Her delayed start has meant that she has been able to rest and when able she has continued to study horticulture with her free time, and to cultivate vegetables and flowers in our home plot.

    • Nsumba – is in full time training with a professional football team, he was chosen to attend the under 21’s Ugandan football camp at the start of the year. He very much wants to be a professional football player and his coaches are reassuring us that he has the talent so we are supporting his playing this year to hopefully get him into a full time professional football team.

    • Rashid – has started the first year of his A levels, he is studying Maths, Chemistry and Physics.

    We’d like to end this update with a heart felt thank you to one of our long standing and incredible sponsors: Betty Sprenger. Betty sadly passed away in the early part of last year, and much to our surprise and delight she named Craft Aid UK as one of the beneficiaries of her will. We wanted to remember Betty as a great supporter of Craft Aid, and have planted a garden at our house in Uganda in her memory. Noreen has been in charge of plotting and planting the garden – something she is very excited to do as she continues to learn about growing plants and vegetables.

Betty Sprenger

As always, if you have any questions, please do get in touch, and thank you for all of your continued support. We simply could not do this without our monthly sponsors and Craft Aid UK supporters. We would like to ask each and every one of you to help spread the word of Craft Aid UK – over the last few years, the cost of living in Uganda has dramatically increased as well as huge increases in school and college fees. At the moment we are relying on two significant one-off donations that were made at the end of last year, but our financial reserves are rapidly diminishing.

Our projected expenditure for this year is £25,000 which works out at £260 per month per child, sponsorship is currently only covering a third of these costs and, since the beginning of 2023 sadly three full-time sponsors have had to withdraw their support due to financial strain. Without more monthly sponsors we simply won’t make ends meet. We do appreciate times are tough for so many of us at the moment, but if you do know anyone who might like to support us then please spread the word; or if you’re fortunate enough to feel you might be able to increase your financial support it will really help us to ensure the futures of our kids. Lastly please also take a look at our updated online shop, we brought back lots of new stock from Uganda which is now on there

Thank you for your ongoing love and support. We truly appreciate it, and our kids do too!

Love Lara and David

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