Can you help bring education to young people in Uganda and Rwanda?

HUGS has been working in Uganda and Rwanda since 1995 and has focused on bringing education to children and young people at school, college, and university. We believe that it is only through education that so many of Africa’s and the World’s problems can be solved. All donor money goes to the schools, the children and related support. Like every charity we do have costs for administration and other things such as travel. These are not paid for by normal donor money but by separate donations made by trustees or by non donor sources.

"Education is the great engine of personal development"

 - Nelson Mandela

About Us

Helping Uganda Schools started in 1995 with the aim of helping to pay for the education of 15 children who lived in a very rural area of Uganda.

The ideas grew and local support and enthusiasm of villagers and parents got us thinking that maybe we could help to fund the purchase of land and the building of a primary school so than many more could be educated.

This was successful and St Zoes opened in 2001. In 2007 we were asked if we could fund a secondary school and this opened in 2010.

And also in 2007 we were asked if we could help fund a school for children with learning disabilities. This cause was enthusiastically supported by our donors and Good Shepherd School opened in 2009.

Since them we have funded other schools, an orphanage, and many scholarships. More details below.

We raise money from personal donations and from events and make sure that all donor money goes to the schools and the children and others who we are helping.

 If you would like to see details of the Charity including details of the trust deed, trustees, and accounts please look at the UK charity commission web site which holds up to date information.

The Charity Helping Uganda Schools (HUGS) recognises its responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within the legal framework of the Children Act 1989 and 2004. Because our schools are in Uganda and Rwanda they would come under the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child. The Charity also recognises its responsibility to safeguard vulnerable adults.

 We are aware that children, young people and vulnerable adults can be the victims of different kinds of abuse and everyone has a responsibility to safeguard against this happening.

 The charity HUGS works in the UK as a registered Charity and has no day to day direct contact with the children we support who live in Uganda and Rwanda. However, we do endeavour to make sure our partners in East Africa are aware of our responsibility (and their responsibility) and this is clearly demonstrated by the information we provide on the Charity’s website.

 We will endeavour by our work to make clear that  -

 *Children and young people are listened to, valued and respected.

 *Vulnerable adults are treated with care and respect.

 *Staff at the projects we support are aware of the need to be alert to the signs of   abuse and know what to do with their concerns.

  *Any paid and unpaid staff are subject to rigorous recruitment procedures.

  *Any paid and unpaid staff are given appropriate support and training.

 The Charity, Helping Uganda Schools is committed to providing excellent education to all the children who attend our schools in Africa. We are also committed to providing the children with as safe an environment as is possible. As Chairman and Trustees of the charity our main role is to raise funds to enable the schools to be built and run. However, we also have a moral and ethical duty to make as sure as possible that the schools we build are safe places and that the children have an enriching experience. We have informed our schools that we are expected to carry out our work legally and in accordance with the U.K. Charity Commission rules and expectations. We expect our partners to work within the framework of this statement.

The child protection book is here;


"That's Manchester" Video- Interview

That's Manchester with Richard and Peter

Our Projects

Pre school and Orphanage at Lira

Even now, many years after the war lord Joseph Kony is believed to have left Uganda the damage he did to communities is still there.

Sr. Demmy runs a wonderful orphanage in Lira which gives up to 50 children the bestbpractical start in life and in learning.

In 2016 we joined forces with Bury Action charity to build St. Gabriel's House, an orphanage for up to 20 children at Fort Portal.

Pre school and Orphanage at Lira


St Zoe's is the first project which we helped to start in 2000. St Zoes Primary has achieved some really great results which are normally in the top 6 for achievements out of about 450 schools in the region.

During 2014 the Gogonya Sisters took over running the schools. The big annual Primary 7 National Exam results once more puts St Zoes in the top 10% of Uganda Schools.
Results at the Good Shepherd School for Special Needs Children have been quite outstanding putting the school in the very highest category for all 11500 Ugandan Primary Schools.

We have also funded primary education at Rukira, Rwanda, and at Little Shepherd at Ntunguro. The picture shows the latest 2 classrooms built in 2016.

Good Shepherd Special School

Children with learning disabilities often get no education at all or if they do then it can be very stressful for them. The pictures show the school, a tug of war and the school fish farm.

Disability does not mean Inability and Good Shepherd now has 6 classes and 120 day school pupils. There is a high teacher ratio and thanks to some good friends an outreach programme was started in 2012.

Sr. Theresa, The Director was the inspiration for the school and she  decided that some of the children might be able to take the Primary 7 National Exams at the end of 2014. 9 took them and 5 got the very highest grade 1 scores. This is truly wonderful for a school teaching children with learning difficulties and other disabilities. This is a far better result than is achieved by 95% of Ugandan Primary Schools.


With the near completion of St Zoe's we decided to focus on the creation of a secondary school for girls at Lira in northern Uganda.

Our big current project is to continue the development of the Asili secondary school for girls in Lira, northern Uganda. By early 2017 we will have Senior Years 1,2, and 3 with about 150 girls attending, many of whom are boarders in a fine new accommodation block that was completed in 2016.

The school is being built and the first class opened in February 2015. Girls get very little chance of secondary education in much of Africa and this new project is addressing this very serious social division. We believe that girls should have choice in life and their careers just as boys do.

Like all our schools it is self sustaining with HUGS only providing capital for buildings and equipment and teacher training.

The lower picture is the Asili Primary School which is very close to the new school.  

Vocational School

Wood work,Building, agriculture, knitting and garment making are key skills for children to learn.

We believe that young people need to be able to create a job, not just apply for one.

There are small vocational programmes at Good Shepherd and at Rukira. Both are able to generate funds for the schools as well as giving the children really valuable skills.

The big project is to establish one for secondary and hopefully for adults at St Zoes in the future. This has suffered many delays and we had hoped to start it nearly 3 years ago.In 2016 this project started to take get moving with agriculture, hairdressing, garment making, and woodwork being the first subjects to get started.


Rwanda had some dreadful recent history and so much infrastructure was destroyed as were the lives of several hundred thousand people. Our friends the Banyatereza Sisters are working to create a really excellent primary school, about an hour from Kigali.

This school is aimed at integrating all tribal groups and different faith groups and hopes to be important part of the healing after the genocide of 1995

We finished the school in 2014 and there are now nearly 300 children attending.

HUGS helped to start this new school in 2011 and a very generous Dutch charity paid for the first classrooms. 
In addition to the school Trustee Matt Houghton has funded and manages a sport programme both at Rukira and at Good Shepherd at Fort Portal

What we do

HUGS started in 1995 when a group of friends living near Stockport England got together to see if we could fund the primary school education of 15 orphaned children. Two years later seeing how keen people were to help us the idea grew that perhaps we could support the local villagers, who lived in a rural area about 4 hours from Kampala, to build their own school and teach many more children.

Since then the first school has been really successful and now over 450 children are attending the school. Examination results have been among the best in the region. Since 2003 we have been able to fund a secondary and vocational school at St Zoes Zoe’s, a primary school at Rukira Rwanda, a special needs school and orphanage at Fort Portal and we are about a third of the way through a girl’s secondary school at Lira.

This is our largest current project and will take another 4 to 5 years to complete. We also fund over 60 students at school or university.In addition we are helping to build a Primary School called Little Shepherd at Ntungamo in the mountainous south west of Uganda. Jointly with Bury Orphans Charity we have built St Gabriel’s Orphanage at Good Shepherd, and are helping several disabled young people supported by the Organisation for Parents of Disabled Children at Jinja.

How many have been helped

Over the years since 1995 we estimate that up to 2000 children have benefitted from the HUGS programmes. In addition several of our sponsored students have now graduated and are working.


Over the years we have worked with some great charities. In this section we say a little about them. 


Bury African Outreach is a Marple charity which has been helping orphans in Uganda to obtain education.

Improving Chances is a health and education focused charity which works in Fort Portal and takes a lead in health assessment and related work for the special needs children at Good Shepherd School. They are funding outreach work and the development of health resources. www.

Birth Aid is a charity which was started by a group of consultants from St Mary's Hospital in Manchester. Teams visit Fort Portal each year to run a surgical camp and to train local doctors and nurses in child related problems.

OPDC was formed in Jinja Uganda in 2013 to assist parents with deaf children but has now widened it brief to include other disable children. HUGS has been supporting some of their work.

HUGS Trustee Matt Houghton formed HQ Coaching and brings sport training to our schools in Rwanda and Uganda and runs special courses in South Africa.
Matt is also supporting HYPE a Merseyside not for profit programme offering opportunities for people of all ages.

Trustee Denise Ead prepared this on line teaching programme to help young children understand Africa, it people, geography and wild life.

A lovely illustrated children book about Christmas in Uganda 

Buy on Kindle Books and download for your computer or tablet. For details and to purchase a hard copy

HUGS Trustees  6 The Ceal, Compstall, Stockport  Greater Manchester SK6 5LQ

Registered Charity Nos.
1098176, Charity Unique Code QAQ87ZG

Peter W Mount CBE (chair), Denise E Ead, Dr. Joanna T Bircher, Robert Blundell, Christopher Bishop, Dr. Richard Bircher, Helen Taylor O’Brien

Contact us...

If you would like to help please contact us. Email:

But we only work with our existing projects in Uganda and Rwanda and through our local representatives so please dont write asking for money. Sorry.