In spite of the outstanding results being achieved at House of Joy and the excellent support we already receive from so many, at the current time there is insufficient funding to run the charity in a way that maximises support for the region.
We have calculated that if we can secure the financial support of 400 people willing to commit just £12.75 pence per month, House of Joy would move to a position of financial stability and be in a position to develop the excellent work already being carried out. Whilst we appreciate that £12.75 is a significant amount of funding for so many of us here in the UK, it equates to a coffee a week in a high street chain. What’s certain is it’s virtually unattainable for those in living in this region of Uganda so please join us in the 1275 Challenge and help us grow House of Joy even further.
Under the leadership of Headteacher, Agnes , our school at House of Joy now provides a safe and happy learning environment for more than 350 local children. We provide for Nursery, Infant and Junior aged children up to and including the all important Primary Learning Exam. Through careful assessment of their current educational ability, children are placed in the correct classes to maximise their learning thereby ensuring that every child is given the best opportunity to succeed and achieve their life goals. We are committed to a sustainable approach to education and to this end, all of our employed teaching staff are Ugandan.
At House of Joy the rights of children are of paramount importance. To ensure that this is both understood and furthered, we run a pioneering programme where suitably identified children are trained to understand the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child. Our trained children are then encouraged to act as both Advocates and Advisors for other children. This is a best practice model recognised by Crane Network (Child at Risk).
In addition to our Child Ambassadors we also utilise the help of Child Advocates. These are adults in the community who are also trained to be advocates for children thus furthering the effectiveness of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child in the local area. In her position as the only Registered Child Advocate, Joy Maund is in a position to bring criminal charges against anyone found abusing children.
Sustainable Permaculture farming plays an essential role at House of Joy and the last few years have seen a rapid expansion in this method. Among other things, permaculture directs precious rain water to where it is most needed and ensures that it penetrates into the ground to sustain plants and crops during the drought season. In addition, complementary crops are grown side by side to maximise a healthy and strong yield. We are working hard to become self sufficient food producers with the aim of providing everyone at House of Joy with a healthy, balanced diet.
Future plans include the expansion of our animal farming and using our expertise to provide training for others within our local community. This will help others to effectively utilise their land for food production too. Our commitment to sustainability means that all of our employed farmers are from Uganda and the surrounding area.
Another way in which we demonstrate a commitment to sustainability is our Pig Project. In partnership with CRANE (Children at Risk Action Network) we envision local people to work in partnership, investing their time, effort and finance to provide for themselves. In essence, groups of people purchase and maintain pigs. To assist this process, House of Joy sells pig food at an affordable price thereby allowing the group to then sell the pigs with enough of a profit margin to reap a financial benefit for each member and have enough to purchase more pigs and so repeat the process.
The Mushroom Project is another way in which we demonstrate a commitment to sustainability by encouraging mothers to contribute to their children’s education. They are provided with resources to grow mushrooms in bags containing cotton husks in a corner of their homes. The ripe mushroom crop is sold back to House of Joy and then sold on to a local hotel. The profits made are credited against the children’s school fees.
In the West, water is something that many of us take for granted. We turn on taps and expect hot and cold running water on demand. In Uganda the situation is somewhat different and in our local community water is truly a precious commodity. The installation of a bore hole at House of Joy and another in the local community help to ensure that everyone has access to clean, fresh water. In addition, rain water is also collected at the school in a number of large water storage tanks.
Our efforts to date have helped to reduce water borne sickness such as Typhoid. With the help of Rotary Club International and a private donor, we are currently seeking to develop our water provision for both House of Joy and the local community via the installation of a number of standpipes and a solar powered water pumping system to direct the water to where it is most needed.
Broken Arrows – Shalom House
Most children in the locality live in severe poverty with many families having small incomes and little means of surviving. This situation can be exacerbated where families have also had to take in vulnerable or orphaned children. On occasions, this leads to children being severely neglected, perhaps being kept in appalling living conditions, on the brink of starvation or being denied urgent medical care.
One such case involved child F who came to Ron and Joy’s attention during a home visit. F was so malnourished that he only weighed 10kg (approximately one and a half stone). He truly was a ‘broken arrow’. Although Uganda does not have the benefit of a National Health Service, Ron and Joy immediately took F to a local hospital. Incredulously, they were turned away even though the hospital accepted that the child was on the brink of death. Despite the fact that it would stretch their already limited resources and create risk to themselves, Ron and Joy knew that their only option was to take F into their own home.
With much love, prayer, good nutrition and subsequent medical aid, F made a dramatic recovery. He now needed a safe Ugandan environment to allow him to grow and flourish. As a result the vision for Shalom House was born. Set within the grounds of House of Joy, Shalom House is a small family home where such ‘broken arrows’ who are under eight years old can be cared for under the watchful eye and love of one of our House Mothers.
F is now a walking, talking happy boy who shows little sign of his horrendous start in life and, in short, is a walking miracle.
In addition to their normal schooling at House of Joy, the Esther House provides boarding and rehabilitation for girls aged between nine and fifteen years of age. These girls have been rescued from a variety of situations and we aim to provide a safe environment where they can be both helped to deal with the trauma they have experienced and encouraged to continue with their education.
Each girl is given a small locker that contains new underwear, toothpaste, toothbrush, bathing soap and sponge. They have their own bed complete with mattress bedding and mosquito net.
Under the care of the House Mother, the children begin to live with dignity as we help them rebuild their young lives.
With the help of a German surveyor we have almost completed the construction of Joseph House, which is our residential unit for boys aged between nine and fifteen years of age, who, as with the Esther House girls, have been rescued from differing situations.
In addition to their normal schooling at House of Joy, under the care of a House Father, the boys living in Joseph House will be taught life skills and principles which will help them to lead productive lives in the community. By the acquisition of practical and vocational skills the boys will also be better equipped to support themselves and a family and live with dignity.
Potter’s House is a Creative Learning Centre for girls between 9 and 17 years of age who have dropped out of education through no fault of their own. These girls have often been robbed of their childhood and without the intervention of House of Joy would be subject to a life of poverty with no escape.
In partnership with CRANE (Children at Risk Action Network) and DFID (Department for International Development) House of Joy runs a pioneering 6 month programme which allowing such girls to return to education, offering them an opportunity to catch up with their schooling and learn new vocational skills. Although the scheme is currently running in eleven schools, House of Joy is considered a Best Practice Model for the scheme.