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Christmas Charity Appeal Update

When we first launched our Christmas charity appeal in September 2009 Sensei Kidby was confident of raising a thousand pounds but had hopes of doubling that initial target. In fact, as of January 12th, not all the money raised has yet come in so still a final figure cannot be announced. However an amount of £775 was banked on behalf of “One Step at a Time” before Christmas to enable them to give the kids and families they help a better and happier Christmas.

At this moment in time it looks like we have potentially raised a further £4,000. We sincerely hope this is the case. If it is so, when one adds to it the money given to the charity before Christmas and with the help of the gift aid paid by government, the total benefit to “One Step” will be in excess of £6,000.

Many thanks must go to each and every CFTS student that helped and for the generosity of them and their families. A note of gratitude was received by email by Sensei Kidby from Mrs. Sandra Murphy, the charity’s director, for all to read.

"I was delighted today when you revealed the amount of money that you and your team have raised and that money is still coming in. We are all constantly impressed with your members commitment to One Step at a Time and their generous attitudes and kind hearts. It is great to see the true ethos of karate in both physical and spiritual coming together in your members.

The first part of your money was given over to buying a chicken for each family and a gift for each child. We are currently putting together our development plan for 2010 and we have a couple of projects where the remainder of the donation can be used well. I will come back to you following our trustees meeting at the end of January.

In many parts of Uganda, and in particular our families who are poorer, they survive on beans and posho, a cereal made from ground maize corn. Actually, the majority, living in the countryside, survive on what they can grow on their land. Those living in town with no land have to buy everything from little money they can make. As I have reported recently 2 harvests have failed and families are starving. Some of the children's sponsorship had to be spent on food and income generation last year and we are discussing the idea of income generation to work alongside the farming. Several families have decided that they could successfully rear pigs or goats or keep chickens for eggs and breeding. So we are raising funds to support that idea.

You will understand that meat is a luxury for our families and many children in the bush cannot remember eating meat. Christmas is a very important part of their religious year as their faith is what enables them to keep going and so these gifts made Christmas a very memorable time for all of them. Despite their struggles they never stop thanking God for what he has given them. We could learn so much from these people.

Each family received a chicken for their Christmas dinner, larger families received 2 to ensure everyone had good protein on this special day. Families who had no other food received a small financial package to buy some rice and vegetables to compliment their meal. Each child also received a gift which varied from child to child depending upon their age and desires. Some received clothing, toiletries, novels, watches, beads, bags, colouring books and crayons and many of the older boys received fashionable belts. All children received sweets and smearing oil or moisturising cream which is a real treat. Thank you again for your kindness.

Since last year Christmas we have located many relatives of the children in our care. Some had surviving parents some more distant relatives with whom they were to spend Christmas. The children collected their chickens, paid for by you and your members, from the office and chose from the 67 chickens running in our compound, others were carried African style on the motor bike to others and some were bought locally where the journey would have been to distressing for the animal. Every child and parent was so shocked and grateful for such a gift. They cost the equivalent of £3 which is out of their financial reach and they send their thanks and asked us to say God Bless you all for thinking of them. The children will send some thank you letters when they return to the office over the next few weeks.

It has been a very busy time in Uganda as we now have 60 children reunited with their families and in full time training or education. It was a wonderful feeling for us to be able to close the office over the Christmas period knowing that every one of our children, many who had been living on the street, were spending Christmas with their families. One boy Kenneth never knew his father and when his mother died spent several months with an uncle who abused and beat him. He believed he had no other family and so there was no option but to live on the streets of the town. He came to us and we researched his background to confirm his story.

Sadly it was true so we found a sponsor and she agreed to fund him for boarding school where he achieved the 6th place in his year of 130 children. Imagine that after just a year in education. Kenneth had lost his front teeth due to a gum disorder but he has now got 2 false front teeth and is looking very handsome. Lastly we needed to find him a family. Staff rode into the bush to meet his clan and found a step uncle. After discussions Kenneth was taken to stay with the family for a holiday and they agreed to take him into their care. He has had two successful stays with them and just before Christmas the uncle called a meeting with the village leaders to introduce him as their son. This now gives him rights to some of the family land. What a wonderful life change in just 18 months.

These kinds of changes are all due to people like you giving time and money and caring about others. For this we thank you greatly on behalf of the trustees, staff and mostly those children we are helping now and those we will help in the future because of your help.

God bless you all.




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