The Water Weekend at Almondbury Methodist Church, to raise money for Uganda Water Appeal
Water Weekend - 29th & 30th June 2013

On Saturday 29th June, we hosted a special Water Weekend to support a Methodist Relief Development Fund Project in Uganda. Our aim was to raise enough money to buy a water tank for a school in Uganda and in doing so attract further funding to buy an additional four water tanks for another four schools in Uganda.

As part of this Water Weekend, we invited a number of local organisations in Almondbury to create a display in Church, based on a water theme. After visiting each of the displays, visitors were then invited to a mini gala which took place in the Wesley Centre, to enjoy a cream tea, together with a raffle, bottle tombola, hook-a-duck, cakes, books, plants and an ice cream stall.

We would like to thank everyone who was involved with the water weekend - organisers, community groups, helpers in the kitchen serving tea, coffee and cream-teas and those who attended and donated throughout the weekend. It represented a great launch for our overseas support project with MRDF in Uganda and thanks to your generosity we raised over 700, which has enabled us to purchase a water tank for a School in Uganda. In addition MRDF will be donating a further 2590 to the funds, so all the effort was well worth it.

The photographs and information below have been reproduced from the MRDF website and tells us more the problems people in Uganda face and how we can help.

  An old water source

This pond was used by hundreds of people - mainly children and women - to fetch water. The pond water is dirty and to access the pond people had to carry jerry cans up and down a steep track. Once at the pond there was great difficulty in being able to fill the jerry cans, so children used to walk across some logs placed over the pond (like a make-shift bridge) to reach into the water. This was dangerous and children did occasionally fall in. Children had to queue at the pond at peak times in the morning and around 4pm and some children were delayed in getting to school.

  New shallow well under construction

A new shallow well was constructed so people no longer needed to collect water from the pond. A shallow well is just one technology VAD use. There were two masons on site digging and pumping out water as they worked and the community was actively encouraged to get involved with tasks such as building the upper part of the well, shifting building materials and making sure children were safe around the work site.

Emmanuel (pictured) has been a mason for four years: He says: 'I decided when I was at school that I would work construction, but then there were no opportunities. After school I became a farmer. Then five years ago VAD came to my village and they started to train me so I could be a mason. The best bit about my work is working hand in hand with the local communities to see our goal reached. Our goal is clean water and to improve the hygiene. I feel proud to do these projects.'

  Imaam Nawawi Primary School

The school is an Islamic Primary School in Mende Parish offering education for children aged four and above. Before VAD worked with the school there were no toilets and had to collect their own water. The head teacher also mentioned that as the children are Muslim it is an important part of their prayers to wash with clean water. Some were missing huge chunks of learning in order to fetch water.

VAD have built the school toilets with separate areas for boys and girls, hand washing facilities and a water tank to provide clean running water for hand-washing. They have also trained staff and children in maintenance of the facilities and good hygiene.

  Alice Ndagire

At the time this photo was taken Alice was 90 years old. VAD provided Alice with a new toilet and a water jar, so she could access clean water just outside her home.

She said: 'I like to have a cup of tea but I could not go and fetch water because I walk with a stick and it was far. I sometimes did not get my cup of tea for breakfast as I had to wait for my grandson or a neighbour. Sometimes I got thirsty. Now I can use the water on my own to get a cup of tea and some breakfast. The toilet is so good too.'

  Kava Island, Bussi, Uganda

This is one of the areas VAD is working in to improve access to safe water and hygienic facilities. Kava Island is hard to reach, very densely populated and very poor, and most people here accessed water from a dirty water source such as a pond, stream or Lake Victoria before VAD began working here. With no safe toilet facilities, people were using dangerous pit latrines and safe sewage disposal was a major problem. Over the next three years VAD will be working with local people to enable them to construct safe water sources, toilets and safe, hygienic washing facilities, which will greatly reduce disease in the communities where VAD is working.

  Elizabeth Nalumansi

Elizabeth Nalumansi attended a VAD training session and was taught about hygiene and shown how to build a dish rack, bath shelter and simple hand-washing facility. Since constructing these facilities in her home she has seen a big improvement in her family's health.

She says: 'My family's lives have changed since l put into practice what l had been taught. My children always wash their hands after using the toilet and before they are going to eat anything. We now have a place to bathe that is not a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so is much safer. My husband and I are able to spend more time cultivating our land than before as we are no longer caring for sick children all the time. We now live a happy and hopeful life. This miracle has come about because of this training.'

  Children using a new water pump, Bussi, Uganda

This water pump was constructed in 2012 by local people with training and support from VAD and is now providing clean, safe water for the local community. Safe water facilities such as this mean that people, especially children, will not have to travel so far to collect water and can spend more time at school or work as a result.

See below some photographs taken over the weekend of the various displays produced by local groups and organisations in Almondbury:

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