Black Santa helping children in Uganda to get an education.

An education is something that most of us take for granted but it is a dream that is out of reach for some people. Neville Jones, the Assistant Director of Abaana Ministries that is based in Bangor, describes how the charity has made it their life’s work to help children achieve their dream of going to school.

“Abanna exists to provide help and support to children living in poverty in Africa to give them a genuine hope of a better future and we do this through providing access to education. To this end, we build primary schools, we provide support to enable children to attend school and we work with children who are living rough on the streets of Kampala (the capital city of Uganda).”

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For more than 20 years, Abaana has been working in Africa where they have built 16 primary schools. Not only do they provide sponsorship to around 1,800 children to enable them to attend classes, but they also work with children living rough on the streets of Kampala, some of whom are only 6 years old.

Their latest primary school, which was completed in July this year, was part funded by the proceeds from last year’s Black Santa Sit-Out appeal. Located in Eastern Uganda, the new building is called Atukubui and provides the students with 7 new classrooms, an administrative building and 2 new latrine blocks.

“Prior to this, the children were having their lessons in the open or in a building with mud walls, a corrugated iron roof which was supported by wooden branches and that provided no support or shelter from the elements.”

On a practical level, it was difficult for the children to pay attention in class whenever it rained because they had no desks and were forced to sit on the ground. The state of the old building was so bad that the locals in the surrounding areas referred to it as “The Village of Fools”.

Abaana intends to use any grants they may receive from this year’s appeal to continue their work with children in Uganda. Describing the impact that the donations have had, Neville says: “Through the generosity of the sit-out appeal, you’ve made a genuine and amazing difference to the life of these children.”