A BLAENAVON musical director has organised a charity concert to finance the build of a secondary school in Uganda, on behalf of a cause which is said to have been “life-changing” for him and his wife.
Gareth and Kath Whitcombe are trustees of the ALLHIM Charity, which was first set up to support a primary school for orphaned children in the remote village of Mukoko.
But having raised hundreds of thousands of pounds since 2008 – making Mother Janet Primary School among the best in the Kalungu District – it now wants to progress a plan for a 16-acre secondary school where pupils can continue their education.
The site will accommodate 700 students and include classrooms, dormitories, teacher accommodation, and vocational training areas for animal husbandry, agriculture and other vocational skills.
Mr Whitcombe, the director of Blaenavon Male Voice Choir, said the aim was to give them “self-sustaining skills”.
“We want them to be able to improve their own lives, and benefit from our help, not be dependent on it,” he said.
“Mother Janet Primary School was founded in 1991 by Reverend John Byanyimba and his wife, Margaret, to care for and educate the orphans in the community. Their daughter, Rebecca, moved to Blaenavon after marrying Roger Elver from Pontypool and they invited to join the charity they set up.
“The charity now has sponsors for over 170 of the children, but more are urgently needed. There are currently 450 children at the school, the vast majority of them orphans.”
The charity also has a significant outreach programme, and has built several houses for the most vulnerable families, and also a toilet block in a remote village, which previously only had one toilet for more than 1000 people.
“The work has been life changing for us and for those we are able to help,” added Mr Whitcombe, who is the deputy head teacher of Caldicot Comprehensive School.
The couple are due to visit Uganda later this year, to witness the work the charity is doing first hand, a trip they make regularly.
They have organised a concert at Blaenavon Workmen’s Hall on March 22 featuring current British Open Champions Tredegar Town Band and Blaenavon Male Voice Choir.
Tickets are available from the hall, and choir members, or by calling 07769872037.
Information is also available for anyone interested in sponsoring a child – this costs £8 per month at primary school age and £15 per month for secondary school students.
For more on the charity see http://www.allhimcharity.org/