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Happy New Year…

Saturday, February 13, 2010- The New Year 2010 started off well for the self sufficiency project at St. Denis as we received a substantial amount of funding! Funds will be used for our existing dairy and matooke business as well as help to establish two new projects - a school supplies shop and canteen as well as a posho mill. Truly a great start to the New Year!

Before the start of term I travelled to Kenya to visit another TAMTF project in Ondati near Kisumu. The project, the area’s first all girls school, aims to provide quality education for underprivileged girls. The project is quite different from St. Denis as the school has been set up at the same time as the businesses were started. Thanks to Mary, Ondati’s project officer, the school has the right structures in place whereas it still lacks many infrastructure necessities. St. Denis on the other hand has the infrastructure needed but required much work on internal structures to deal with businesses. Therefore there was much to learn from Mary’s project, and we are hoping that Kenya – Uganda exchanges can become a regular part of both projects in the future.

 

In the meanwhile here at St. Denis School has started and as students are returning we are busy preparing for the next months. We have been planning and budgeting for our first finance transfer and over the next six weeks we have ambitious plans with those funds: We will construct a school canteen which is planned to open for business around Easter. We will renovate the cow shelter and construct a much needed fence around the cow paddock. The students will help us to plant Calliandra as nutritious food supplement for our cows. Through purchasing desperately needed equipment for our Matooke plantation we also want to include the students more in the day to day running of the plantation – which will also help to improve the quality of our bananas.

Although both, our computer business centre and dairy business have registered a small profit last month, we are convinced to be able to improve the businesses performance. In case of the dairy business we hope to achieve this through focusing even more on the cow’s nutrition. In case of the computer business we are currently checking the possibility of relocating the business to Kyamucama, a nearby village which is easier accessible for our customers than the school.

Our partner NGO, Into Your Hands, has over the Christmas holidays relocated their office from Makondo to Kyamucama where they are now enjoying electricity and internet which improved operations enormously.

 Thanks to Into Your Hands, the school’s library is now equipped with bookshelves – so the only thing lacking now is…books! Books though are on their way, in the next 5 months we are expecting book donations from Into Your Hands, Book Aid and READ. The boy’s dormitory, also funded by Into Your Hands is also nearly finished. In the past week electricity has been installed and windows and doors have been fitted.

And finally, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our new Entrepreneur Teacher at St. Denis. S3 students at St. Denis will from this year on have a new Entrepreneurship Course to introduce them to principles and practice of Business Management. TAMTF has prepared lesson plans to supplement the national curriculum to ensure the students will benefit as much as possible from the new subject.


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