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Partnership between Our Lady of Lourdes Church and Buyamba, Uganda

Buyamba is a village of 2,000 inhabitants which lies 120 miles southwest of Kampala and west of Lake Victoria.

The plight of Buyamba was brought to the attention of Our Lady of Lourdes parish in 2001 when the village priest visited us. A consensus was reached to raise funds for the most urgent village needs. Since then the parish has supported a number of projects to improve the infrastructure of the village and the needs of the villagers.

The community of Buyamba are grateful of the support of the parish and we at Thames Ditton are their only contact with the outside world.

Father Herman and the elders of the village ensure that aid is provided to all villagers irrespective of religion, beliefs and tribes.

To read more about Buyamba and the projects which we have supported please click on the links at the bottom of the page.

The story below is an illustration of how the community is benefitting from the projects initiated with the support of our parish.

Buyamba - some facts

Buyamba, a village of 2,000 inhabitants lies 120 miles southwest of Kampala and west of Lake Victoria

Many families originate from Rwanda and came as refugees to settle in Buyamba

HIV Aids and malaria are the major killers in Uganda with a high mortality rate in Buyamba (HIV Aids is still 12%)

St.Francis primary school has 660 children of which 10% are orphans with another 21% having only one surviving parent

The people are so desperately poor that two thirds of the parents and guardians cannot afford the cost of a school meal

About 98% of the people live from home grown crops such as beans, cassava, potatos, maize and bananas

Families sell whatever they can afford to spare in return for very little money or goods

A family in Buyamba has on average 8 children with a disposable income of Ushs 1,000 = £0.35 per day, with no financial help from the government

Employment is more or less nonexistent and vocational training for school leavers is not provided by government in the Buyamba area

This lack of education and employment opportunity is one of the main reasons that the village suffers from such poverty with no real hope of improving their standard of living

The poor quality of villagers' housing means that poisonous snakes and rats easily gain access

Half of the village population have no shoes, with foot infections caused by worm parasites being common

Healthcare is an unaffordable luxury, the sick are frequently turned away by medical staff if they are not able to pay for treatment

The average life expectancy for men is 39 and for women 40

Buyamba has no electricity or water supply

Villagers must either gather rainwater or walk 5 miles to collect water from a lake

The closest drinking water well is 15 miles away.

Parish Support for Buyamba

Since 2001 the following projects in Buyamba have received support from Our Lady of Lourdes

A roof, a new floor and a public address system
have all been provided for their church "Mary Mother of God"

A maize mill so that women no longer have to walk, carrying 30-40 kg of maize, the six miles to the nearest grinding mill station

Latrines for St.Francis school and church to improve the hygiene

4,000 mosquito nets have been distributed to combat the frequent mosquito plagues

Over 1,000 pairs of shoes were provided for children to protect them from injuries, worm parasites and snake bites

A project to install a water plant, financed by a parishioner, is nearing completion. This important installation will soon provide drinking water for about 4,000 people leading to an improvement in health and hygiene

In February 2007 a parishioner set up a training workshop for
tailoring which is attended by 42 trainees who learn practical skills
as the basis for a better future

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The local clinic received additional beds and essential instruments for their maternity ward

Buyamba has suffered over the past years a drought which resulted in 90% of the maize harvest failing
and half of the banana trees have died. In order to combat the resultant famine some of our parishioners
raised money so that the children of St.Francis school can receive a bowl of porridge every day.

Furniture for the pupils and teachers of St.Francis school who currently sit on clay floors.

Prototypes of the furniture have already been made.

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A motorcycle has also been purchased to allow the priests and catechists
to cover the large sometimes hilly area serving the 14 outstations that belong to
Fr.Herman's parish which cannot be reached by car.

180 primary school children were until recently educated under a tree. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish raised £688
to pay for timber and roofing which has allowed the villagers to build a shelter for the children. Although the construction
still requires timber cladding this new facility provides some protection from rain so that the education can continue
during the rainy seasons.

The photographs below show the tree under which the education took place before the shelter was built and the new shelter.

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