Warwick School has a long tradition of supporting local and national charities. In recent years we are proud to have built links with Ridgway School in Warwick, and also supported Falcon Camps, Kissing it Better, and Cord. In 2014/15 Warwick School raised over £11,000 for Brass for Africa. Our charity for 2015/16 is the Dominic Community Foundation.
A few weeks before Christmas 2012 a Warwick School parent, Graham Smith, told me about a project in Uganda, teaching music to street children, AIDS victims and orphans. I immediately thought of the plastic trombones invented by Old Warwickian, Huw Rashleigh which are brightly coloured, light and virtually indestructible; perfect for Africa. A two line email to his company resulted in the generous offer of thirty trombones; they also asked if I would deliver the instruments and act as an un-official ambassador.
On December 28th 2013 I returned to Uganda with a party of thirteen musicians from Warwick School, spending ten days working with children in four orphanages in the slums of Kampala, including two homes exclusively for the mentally and physically handicapped: This was one of the most powerful and humbling experiences of my life. Uganda is amongst the poorest countries on earth; furthermore, as a result of AIDS and recent conflicts, 60% of children in Kampala are orphans. Despite abject poverty the orphanages are happy places and the children are proud, confident and totally inspiring.
Once the children have learned a few notes they can join the band, playing throughout Kampala at weddings and church parades. For them music is not just a recreation, it is a means of making a small amount of money to pay for life’s essentials. The orphanages open an account for every child, to provide a nest egg when the time comes for students to leave. The only requirement is that they give back a portion of their gift to help those less fortunate than themselves.
Amongst the young people we met was Tadeo, a 14 year old boy whose mother left him asleep with a paraffin lamp burning for light. The lamp fell over engulfing their hut in flames; Tadeo lost both arms and legs. Despite terrible injuries he leads a relatively normal life and has learned to play the trombone.
There was Desire, a hunchback boy, too sickly to play an instrument, but always laughing and smiling. Thanks to Brass for Africa Desire is currently undergoing life changing surgery in America and Sabine, a boy born with no arms and his pelvis back to front, yet determined to play music.
I am delighted that the Warwick School community has shown such emotional and financial support to this worthy project. If you are looking for a project for your Gap Year, then Uganda might prove the perfect destination.
Warwick Schoool was proud to support the Dominic Community Foundation during 2015/16.
Dominic Community Foundation's location is around 25 miles NW of Kampala, in the rural village setting of Malube-Nalubugo. The 1.3 acre plot of land will provide ample space for our clinic, school, community meeting hall and enough land to offer our project a degree of self-sufficiency through a programme of food production. Managed by an elected body of local parents, village councillors and other respected elders, they will deal with the educational and health related issues at a local level. Our only Ugandan representative, Nicholas Ssewanyana, will chair this committee, but encourage separate sub-committees to take responsibility of its daily operation. The UK Board of Trustees will manage the Foundation's longer term development.
Our Charity's Pledge is to provide this poverty-stricken community with a chance for its children to receive a full-time education, following Uganda's national curriculum, taught by qualified professional teachers in a safe nurturing setting, conducive to learning.Equally, DCF will be providing a clinic, staffed by a professionally qualified nurse, offering basic treatment for minor injuries, pain relief, diagnosis of more serious medical conditions, a programme of community health education and hygiene awareness. Our charity's level of medical provision will be increased to include overnight stays for observation and maternity care when our facilities can support these services.