The road to Masaka…

Thanks to your generous support, the projects at KAASO for the teachers and staff are underway and going well. So far, they have constructed a goat house and a piggery, and are growing watermelon in the gardens.

While some COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Uganda, the lockdown of schools remains. These projects have been an immense help to the teachers and staff at KAASO to learn new skills and generate an income while the school is closed.

Staff projects at KAASO

From top left clockwise: The goat house under construction and teachers working in the gardens. Prima (one of Dominic and Rose’s daughters) helping with the farm work and the brick/block making project.

A warm welcome to new subscribers

It is fantastic to see Unity is Strength growing; thank you so much for your interest and support. We officially became a UK-registered charity in January 2020.

For anyone who is new to learning about St Paul KAASO, it is a unique community project in Uganda that provides education and mentorship to orphans and disadvantaged children in one of the areas hardest-hit by the HIV/AIDS crisis.

KAASO (Kabira Adult Attention & School for Orphans) was started by two Ugandan teachers, Dominic and Rose Mukwaya, when they opened their home as a school in 1999.

Dominic and Rose Mukwaya

Dominic and Rose Mukwaya, October 2017

The road to Masaka

The road to Masaka is one of Dominic’s favourite stories to tell. It is a powerful way to explain the sheer determination instilled in the students and teachers at KAASO, and the wider community. Here’s how it goes (extract taken from Between Two Worlds by Emma Outteridge*):

‘If you were to say to me, “How should I get to Masaka?”, what would I reply?’ Dominic asked.

One of the children in the audience stood and explained: ‘You turn right out of the KAASO gates and continue until you reach the main road. From there you again branch to the right and you follow the main road to Masaka.’

‘Ah ha! Yes, you are correct – this is the direct way. But is there another way?’ he asked, a small smile playing on his lips. ‘What if I was to turn left at the KAASO gates?’

I stared at him. Left took you to the shore of the lake – a dead end. Our only way in and out of the village was to turn right and follow the dirt road towards the main Masaka Road.

‘What if I told you that you could turn left, travel until you reach the lake shore, board a boat to the Ssese Islands, cross those islands, board the ferry, and then when you come to the land you take a matatu, a taxi, and you will reach Masaka. Is that not so?’ Bewildered faces stared at him from the crowd, wondering where their Director was going with this tale. ‘It is not the most direct way, true, but you will still reach. That is the point. Me, I was not lucky enough to take a direct route, but still, I made it. I got my degree when I was an old man – a jajja! I was 38 years old but ah! I was not the oldest in my class; there were people there with grey in their hair!’ He rubbed his shaved head, and the students laughed.

‘You see, not everyone is able to take the direct route to Masaka, but even those who take the back roads, they can still make it. And they can reach not just Masaka but even Kampala! Yes, it will take some time. It will not be easy, you will face challenges along the way. But if you know what you want, if you work hard, if you believe, if you are focused, you will reach.’

*Emma Outteridge is the Volunteer Coordinator at KAASO and has recently published a book about her time spent in Uganda, and how she has found a beautiful way to balance that with her life in the sailing world.

Shopping online is a great way to support Unity is Strength!

Unity is Strength is registered on Give as you Live, which means you can raise free donations while you shop online. 

Give as you Live - Double your donation

It’s a particularly good week for this as from 16th-22nd August, donations are being doubled! 

The full list of Double Donations Week retailers will be revealed on Monday 16th August – but if you’re thinking of booking a getaway, sprucing up your home, or bagging a treat, why not do it from tomorrow to raise DOUBLE the donation for Unity is Strength.

If shopping online isn’t your thing, we’re always extremely grateful to receive one-off or regular donations to support our work.  Thank you.