This project was set up in 1998 to support Fields of Life (FOL), which was a small church based charity building schools in poverty stricken areas of Uganda. After fund-raising efforts, St. Finnian’s sent out a team of men in 1999, who, along with Ballywalter and Kilkeel parishes, completed the building of a primary school. In the same year the church partially funded the building of another school.
Over the years, while continuing to build schools, FOL has also built four small hospitals / clinics in Uganda. In addition to volunteer workers and ongoing financial support, St Finnian’s has sent out four containers packed with supplies to equip both schools and hospitals.
FOL has now expanded its work into surrounding countries, including Burundi, Rwanda, D.R.Congo, Kenya and South Sudan.
In keeping with the original vision, the Parish continues to support FOL and this includes its wider work in East Africa. Consequently, in 2009, the Parish and the Bishop’s Appeal jointly funded the building of a school in Burundi, which was named ‘St. Finnian’s’.
It is for banking purposes only now that the name remains “St Finnian’s Uganda Project”.
The Parish continues to be involved in school building, school health, hospitals and child sponsorship projects. In 2015 we supported the ‘Crisis’ appeals in South Sudan and Burundi. Towards the end of the year a donation was also sent to drill further wells in impoverished and volatile Northern Uganda.
Could you help?
There are many opportunities to help in this work, not least in prayer, supporting fund raising events or giving personal donations. Many have also arranged legacies, given donations in memory or celebration of loved ones, or in lieu of flowers.
New helpers are always welcome in St Finnian’s “Helping Hands for Uganda” teams. These teams either serve or provide sandwiches and tray bakes at funeral teas held in the church hall. The income is given to the Project.
FOL welcomes volunteers to help on its projects in East Africa. In addition to having a resident building team in Uganda, each year FOL sends out a construction team of volunteers from Northern Ireland for a period of two weeks. A number of our parishioners, supported by the Parish, have gone out to Uganda with this team (Hope Builders). Building skills are not essential, although a fit and healthy disposition is required for this type of work.
Volunteers are also needed in FOL teaching, healthcare and care of orphans projects for periods of two weeks or longer. Would you consider going?
Fields of Life Update – December 2017
Fields of Life (FOL) continues its Christian work with the poor in East Africa.
All schools, where necessary, are being updated with better kitchens, water supplies and the installation of the ‘WASH’ programme. This includes clean water, proper sanitation and health education for the pupils and surrounding villages. The charity has now drilled over 650 wells in East Africa.
Thanks to supporters in the USA, plans are well advanced for the erection of a large Vocational Training College in Northern Uganda. FOL has partnered with Stranmillis College and The South Eastern Regional College in Northern Ireland to assist with the curriculum and other areas of expertise. These will include Agriculture, Engineering, Carpentry etc. There will be boarding facilities available and students will be accepted from Uganda and surrounding countries.
In addition, a Teacher Training College will also be built in the near future to ensure a high quality of education in FOL schools. FOL is working with the U.N. and other NGOs in the Bidi- Bidi Refugee Camp in Northern Uganda. This has become the largest refugee camp in the world, where over 272,000 people have fled from the fighting and famine in South Sudan.
FOL is drilling wells in the host villages and in the camp itself to try and provide clean drinking water for the refugee families. They are also supplying cooking utensils and other necessities. Although a poor country itself, (Northern) Uganda has seen a total influx of 1.2 million refugees from surrounding famine afflicted countries in recent times.
The charity is also assisting clergy in the South Sudan Anglican Church to cope with ever increasing numbers of displaced people. Families are gravitating to the churches for help and safety from the violence and famine in their region.
FOL do not normally get involved in ‘Emergency Crisis’ situations, preferring to work with the root cause of poverty and deprivation. However, when surrounded by so much hunger and illness, the Christian charity felt it must respond to help relieve the suffering. In these situations the children are particularly vulnerable.
FOL is currently constructing an 8 classroom secondary school in Southwest Sudan. Due to the conflict, this work is fraught with difficulties. There is little infrastructure in the area and most materials are sourced from Uganda. These supplies have to be transported via DR Congo, as the road up from Northern Uganda is unsafe. To date FOL have drilled 12 wells in South Sudan.
In November, St. Finnian’s Uganda Committee sent £7,500 to FOL. This will be used to furnish and equip the above school. We are able to do this because of the support of our parishioners and particularly due to the ongoing financial support of our ‘Helping Hands’ catering ladies. We sincerely appreciate your willing help over the past 19 years!
We would also like to thank all who helped with the car parking, catering etc. at our recent ‘Live Issue’ concert, when we raised £1800 for our FOL projects – “Changing Lives, Building Hope” We are privileged to have been part of the FOL family since 1998 and their Christian work with the poor. J.D.
Uganda Project Committee Members:
Main Contact: John Downey (Coordinator) Tel: 028 9044 8757
Hon. Secretary: Alison Kennedy
Hon. Treasurer: Stephen Geoghegan
Committee Members: Barbara Carlisle, Geoff Harman and Rev. Raymond Kettyle