After a two-week break over Christmas and New Year Signpost International is back up and running for a new year. We come into this year with great excitement as we begin new ventures at home and abroad. At home we are moving closer to the opening of the Centre for Global Learning in our building in Whitfield, Dundee. Abroad we will begin working in a new area in Uganda as we start working alongside a new partner – ARUWE – in North West Uganda. As well as this we will be creating a new project in North East Uganda.
We look forward to sharing updates with you on these projects throughout the coming year.
Now that Christmas has been and gone for another year it is very easy to feel a little flat in the month of January. But there is good news to be had and we have three good news stories that we would like to share with you to lift your spirits on a cold and dark January day.
1: Dundee Partnership’s North East Community Regeneration fund
3: Pupils Out of School Care Club (Largs)
1: Just before Christmas we received the good news that we had been granted funding from Dundee Partnership’s North East Community Regeneration Fund. The grant of £9,140 is for the refurbishment of the toilets in the Signpost centre. The money will be used to undertake necessary refurbishments to our male, female, and disabled toilet facilities as we journey towards transforming our building into the Centre for Global Learning.
With the increased footfall we are expected to see in the Centre, it is a prerequisite that we refurbish our toilet facilities. These facilities will not only support the work of our proposed Centre for Global Learning. It will also benefit the other organisations that use our centre.
The Centre for Global Learning will become a hub for local schools and youth groups to learn about local and global issues of poverty; and, more importantly, what actions they can take to challenge this. Our vision is that the Centre for Global Learning will be the vehicle through which young people will act as the drivers of change in their local and global community.
(Drawing of proposed ground floor for the Centre for Global Learning)
2: Also in December we received the great news that we had been awarded a grant from the British and Foreign School Society (BFFS) to begin an exciting new project in the Napak district of Uganda. The new project will see the construction of a three-classroom block with a library at St Paul’s Lomokori Community School, in the Napak district of Uganda. This district is one of the poorest in the country due to decades of conflict, insecurity and extreme weather. As a result there has been severe under-investment in services and infrastructure which has resulted in many children having to walk up to 6km a day to access education. In response to this in 2013, the community of Lomokori founded an informal school beneath trees in the village. Latterly the local community erected semi-permanent classrooms made of thatch for pupils to be taught in. However, during the rainy season in November 2019 the classrooms collapsed.
(Image of the collapsed classrooms in November 2019)
The fundraising from BFSS to begin this project and create classrooms will provide safe and secure accommodation for pupils to receive their lessons uninterrupted throughout the year. The classes will be equipped with desks and blackboards and an adjoining library furnished with contextually appropriate textbooks. Through working with local partners the creation of the three-classroom block providing educational materials and resources will give children in the Napak district the opportunity to be drivers of their own change.
3: Towards the end of 2019 Pupils Out of School Care Club, an after-school club for primary school age pupils in the North Ayrshire town of Largs, contacted Signpost International. They got in touch asking if they could receive Signpost materials and resources as they wanted to raise money to support the work of Signpost. They wanted to partner with us as we walk alongside disadvantaged communities to see a world free from poverty and its effects. The children began creating items which they could then sell to family and friends. They designed hot chocolate mugs, keyrings, candles, Christmas tree decorations, and baked cakes. Once the items were created they began selling in the month of December. As well as selling the crafts to family and friends they also had a stall at the Largs Primary School Christmas Fayre. The children worked extremely hard on this project for a number of months and just last week we heard that they had raised £250 for Signpost. The money raised will go towards our work as we strive to redress the balance in an unjust world through our four strands of work which harness the power of education. At the end of January our Communications Officer, Peter McEleny, will be visiting the children at Pupils Out of School Care Club in Largs to thank them for all their hard work and to share more with them about the work of Signpost.
(Some of the children from Pupils Out of School Care Club at their Christmas stall for Signpost)
We have been greatly encouraged by these stories and wanted to share them with you. We would like to thank all three groups, Dundee Partnership’s North East Community Regeneration fund, BFSS and Pupils Out of School Care Club for partnering with us as we strive for an equitable world where poverty and injustice are eliminated people thrive and communities flourish.