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Roscrea Comhaltas fundraiser for Uganda and Breast Cancer projects

Friday, 22nd February, 2019 3:57pm
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Roscrea Comhaltas fundraiser for Uganda and Breast Cancer projects

Sr Mona and Sr Eileen with Coloma school staff members in Uganda.

Roscrea Comhaltas fundraiser for Uganda and Breast Cancer projects

Sr Mona and Sr Eileen with Coloma school staff members in Uganda.

On Sunday, March 10th, at 5pm, Roscrea Comhaltas will present an evening of music, song and dance, performed by local artists in the Racket Hall Hotel Roscrea.

All proceeds on the night are in aid of Breast Cancer Ireland and the Sr Mona Maher Uganda School Project. Throughout the years, fundraisers such as this, as well as individual and group sponsorship from people of Roscrea, Birr and beyond, have transformed the lives of the children attending Coloma School in Uganda.

Coloma School first opened its doors in 2010 and has been progressing well ever since. From the outset, the school’s priority was to give an educational opportunity to orphans and children from vulnerable homes. To date, 140 pupils have gone on to receive their secondary education.

The number of teachers has increased from just three in 2010 to 16 in 2018. They also have 50 support staff, which includes farm and plantation workers to meet the needs of over 300 children. During 2018 Coloma school offered full sponsorship to 87 children and partial sponsorship to 16.  

For this latter group, all families fell into financial difficulty sometime during the academic year and without some assistance, intended to move their children out of the school. This is always painful for all involved but thanks to sponsorship, Coloma had been able to offer help to top up what parents could afford.  

While the students maintain a very good academic standard in all classes, the school aims for a holistic education by including lessons in craft and agriculture in their timetable. In 2018, Coloma had been blessed to be able to offer a variety of extra-curricular activities to the students.

The children love sport, which is timetabled twice per week. Football matches are played every weekend between the school staff and local teams. The school were delighted to be gifted a set of red jerseys from Ireland and the team wear them with immense pride.

The children also enjoy a variety of music. Nicholas, a very dedicated musician, teaches choral and church music and also trains the girls in professional traditional dance. The children are taught how to play traditional musical instruments with Edward and they also learn the keyboard, recorder, guitar and melodica.

The children study hard as they know the only way out of poverty for them is through education. Below are comments from a small number of students on their experiences while attending school in Coloma. These students are extremely grateful to Sisters Mona, Eileen and sponsors, as without them, receiving an education would just not be possible. Next week we will give an update on new developments at Coloma.

Isabella, Head girl: “I like Coloma because the teachers are friendly and helpful. We play a lot of sports and have a big, flat playing field. I am very good at netball. We had no water shortage this year in Coloma because we got a new borehole in 2017.”

Denise, P6: “I came as a new pupil to P5. I was made very welcome by the other girls. The first thing I noticed was craft activities, every class participated. Since then I have made a bag, an apron, a sweater and a doll.”

Allen, P6: “We play football. Our men’s team of teachers and support staff is very good and beat the local teams. We get good food daily and for important days, we get meat and fruit.”

Clara, P6: “I like Coloma because the teachers are available even after class. Some of the teachers come from places other than Uganda and speak very good English.”

Mary Lynic: “I like Coloma because in P5, I discovered I liked and was good at music. I began to learn keyboard this year. I played the keyboard for the carol concert. I hope that I can continue with music when I go to secondary school.”

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