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Monday, 25 January 2016

Ray of Hope in the Village

Did you know that Milford on Sea has a charity which is helping children many miles from our comfortable lives here in the UK?

Steve Jennings and local
Ray of Hope School children
Friends of Ray of Hope Uganda is a small charity that came into being after local resident Steve Jennings, and his wife Liz returned from a month’s visit to Kampala, the Ugandan capital, in the summer of 2007.

Since then, Steve, Liz and a small group of local trustees have been raising funds to help one particular school and its children.

One regular event held is the Saturday Coffee Morning with cakes and scones - In aid of Friends of Ray of Hope, which is hosted by new trustee Sue Forward. 

The Saturday Coffee Morning takes place from 10am to 12noon on the first Saturday in every month at 33 Whitby Road, Milford on Sea, SO41 0NE. Don't be shy, everyone is invited and gets a warm welcome, and you are not pestered to donate. The Friends of Ray of Hope are happy that the price of a cup of coffee really helps their work.

So, go along as this is a great place to meet new people, have a chat with old friends, and for the price of a cuppa help some kids a long way away.

Steve and his team will also be at Food Week 2016. The local Ugandan village hand-make a range of colourful woven bowls which Steve bring home to sell to raise funds. You will be able to choose your favourite at the CakeFest! in the Community Centre on Saturday 2nd April 2016.

If you would like to make a donation, sell some bowls, get involved in this worthwhile cause, or simply want to find out more, please contact Steve:

Friends of Ray of Hope - Steve Jennings


More About Friends of Ray of Hope 

Mission Statement: To advance the education of the pupils at the Ray of Hope School, Uganda, by providing and assisting in the provision of facilities (not required to be provided by the local education authority) for education at the school and to assist in such ways as the charity trustees think fit for the public benefit.

We went there wanting to be ‘useful’ but not knowing what we were letting ourselves in for. We met Emily, a Ugandan lady, who in 2000 saw the need for the children of the slums to be educated. Emily gave up her job teaching in the State school system and began by teaching just eight children in her own home.

The Ray of Hope project has grown since then, going through many tough times and now has a school that caters for over 100 junior school age children. A further 150+ older children are sponsored to enter the State school system.

Liz Jennings and local Ugandan children
We returned home inspired by the vision and commitment of Emily and her staff, and totally captivated by the children and horrified by their plight. We had to do something!

We didn’t set out to run a charity, but rather just returned home determined to help Emily as best we could. We took every opportunity we were given to speak about our experiences at Ray of Hope – and still do! – and it wasn’t long before family and then friends and others became involved.

In our first full year of 2008 we were, through the generosity of our friends, able to send £6,000 to the project. In 2009 that sum increased to £8,000. Friends support of the project has now reached a point where it is absolutely crucial to the ongoing work of Ray of Hope. This is sobering, because there can be no going back. We must double and re-double our efforts – so many now depend on it.

The needs of the poor world-wide are too great to consider, but Ray of Hope gives a focus to a small part of that need and at a scale that we can address. The children of the slums have so little and are so appreciative for what Ray of Hope can offer them.

In February 2010 Friends began to finance a feeding programme, giving the children a meal during their school day, as most are undernourished. This is a major undertaking but we are committed to meeting the challenge of raising the £250 a month needed.

We Friends have found that being part of Ray of Hope, albeit only providing the means by which others deliver the benefits to the needy, is such a blessing. If you would like to play a part please get in touch for more information.

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