Children’s Learning & Development Centre
masindi ~ uganda

A chance meeting

The idea of setting up a charitable organis­ation to support under-privileged and disabled children arose from a chance meet­ing in 2005. When visiting the Masindi area, David Duddell happened to meet Jimmy Obonyo, headmaster of Bulima Primary School, and heard about the problems facing local under-privileged children, many of whom were unable to attend school or receive any medical care.

Returning home to Oxford, David placed collecting boxes in shops and cafes and, for some years, sent these meagre funds (augmented occasionally by personal donations) to Jimmy in Masindi. Jimmy set up the CLDC Board of parents and local councillors to scrutinize and approve all expend­iture. The money received paid for uniforms and writing materials for a number of children so that they could attend school. It also paid for two nurses at a monthly clinic in a room at the school where children received medical treatment.

A working farm

Ten years later, accrued funds were sufficient to buy ten acres of land from a neighbouring farmer with the long-term aim of developing a working farm where children could be given agricultural training and learn about animal husbandry. This knowledge helps them to improve the productivity of their land at home and provide additional support for their families

cattle grazing near Bulima school
cattle grazing near Bulima school

A very successful interim development has been gifting a child a small animal — a goat or piglet — or a chicken to rear, breed from, and help their family income. For example, one boy with Down’s syndrome started with one chicken. After hatching eggs and rearing the chicks he had 18 birds. He sold ten of them, bought a goat, and now has the means to support a basic livelihood.

Second-hand bookstall

David Duddell at the Oxford bookstall
David Duddell at CLDC’s Saturday bookstall in Oxford

In 2017, Dr. Denis O’Leary of the Health Development Trust in Oxford set up a Saturday second-hand bookstall in Headington, Oxford, sharing the proceeds from book sales between a number of charities including CLDC. From the very start, CLDC regularly particip­ated in this venture, helping to man the stall on Saturdays, and collect and sort donated books during the week. When Denis passed away in 2018, HDT agreed that the venture should be taken over in its entirety by CLDC.
At present, the bookstall is CLDC’s major and regular source of income, allowing projects to be planned and budgeted in advance.

CLDC Management

CLDC Uganda has no paid officers or paid board members; all CLDC staff in Uganda and in the UK give their services freely and voluntarily.
In Masindi, a board of school parents and helpers under the chairmanship of Jimmy Obonyo, former headmaster of Bulima Primary School, scrutinizes and approves all expenditure, and initiates new projects in the community. The Board’s financial controller, Sylivia Nganjani, joined CLDC early in 2022. Sylivia has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration-Accounting and manages all our money matters in Masindi. With her IT skills, she also has a brief to maintain and develop our website.

Jimmy Obonyo (fourth from right) with CLDC Board members in 2019
Jimmy Obonyo (fourth from right) with CLDC Board members in 2019

In the UK, the Saturday second-hand bookstall in Oxford, CLDC’s major fundraising source, is run by a small, dedicated team of unpaid volunteers.

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page updated  08-04-2023