18th March, 2022

Dear friends,

At the beginning of 2021 we were all, of course, still living under the shadow of the COVID pandemic. Some of our boys were staying with their families in the villages, not only to keep them safe, but also so that they could be out of Kampala at the time of the January elections.  The older boys who had been resettled in independent living in November were fine but finding it difficult to obtain work. The schools, colleges and churches were still closed, but by the end of February final year students returned to school and college.  This was a difficult time as staff were unable to travel.  The warden and security staff managed to stay on site, but the boys were in the home 24/7 which was challenging for them and for us.  We arranged for a teacher from the boys’ school to attend three days a week to start homeschooling. We also arranged for an art class and for someone to teach local handicrafts. Denis, one of our older boys in Senior 4,  helped with the boy’s education and those who received tuition during this time made significant progress.

We sadly lost our dear friend Betty Mdoe, who died in early January from COVID.  (Betty’s husband, Ken, is on our management committee.)

By March the boys were back playing football and those in vocational training returned to college. But it was to be a false dawn. Although schools re-opened in April, everything closed again in June for the rest of the year.

Throughout 2021 we helped other organizations in various ways.  These included paying medical fees for an operation on a young lad’s leg and school fees for twins. We also provided food supplies and support for a children’s home.  With many people in Kampala struggling to make ends meet, the boys distributed food to our neighbours after the local councillor helped identify families in real need. I am happy to say that our own staff were paid full wages during the lockdowns.  In one other piece of news from the last year, Anton continued growing crops on his land and built a pit latrine and bathroom. He also managed to purchase a piglet.

I returned to Uganda at the beginning of October and I am still here. By the start of November, life was gradually returning to normal, with people travelling around the capital. However, churches, schools and colleges remained closed. We had only one Management Meeting, early in December, and Mr Ian Wardle joined the committee.

We give thanks to the Lord that the work at George’s Place continued despite all the setbacks and closures. The boys and their families remained healthy and three new boys joined us in November.  We have Court Orders in place for these boys and we had found the families of two of them by the end of the year.  Two joined vocational training in January 2022 and the younger boy is now in school.

Looking forward in 2022, we have to re-register as a non-governmental organization (NGO) very soon, as our five-year permit runs out in March.  Thankfully we are still registered to operate a Children’s Home until November 2024. One notable ambition for the coming year is that we are considering relocating George’s Place outside of Kampala. We would like to find a new site, with more space and places for outside activities.

The Lord has been guiding and providing for us during these difficult times and we trust in Him for the future.