Club Dinner 24th October – A Ugandan Evening

24 October is of course an important date in the Rotary calendar – World Polio Day – and our meeting opened with reference to this and we were reminded in our “thought for the day” that it is also United Nations Day.  

When Winchester Rotary agreed to sponsor Thomas Bwambale to spend a few months as an intern at Tools for Self Reliance (TFSR) I don’t think they fully realised what a wonderful investment they were making! I had some idea, having known Thomas for some three years but the depth of his commitment and the passion he gives everything has proved to be pretty incredible in the short time he has spent in the UK. 

Most of you will be familiar with the Visa story and the fact that the eight months he was supposed to be here has now been reduced to just over 3 months. 

Thomas threw himself into letting us all know about his background and what he has been doing with Great Lakes Peace Centre in Kasese and set the tone by doing his presentation in national Ugandan dress. He took great effort to tell us about his family of whom he is clearly very proud and the way in which he met Luke and I at the 2019 Peace Conference which eventually led to him volunteering for GLPC and becoming a member of Kasese Rotaract. He told us with great enthusiasm about the various Projects that GLPC is involved in, ranging from Education in Schools to Hepatitis, Covid and Educating pregnant mothers and then Microfinance for Women’s groups and building Toilets for Schools and helping young girls power through their periods with advice and practical help. He told us about the links between Rotaract and GLPC and in turn Rotary Clubs in his area.

We were also treated to an explanation of the work he has been doing at TFSR and the skills he has acquired in refurbishing second-hand tools and how he was going to take that back to his home town and work alongside GLPC. However not only did Thomas learn the skills they were able to teach him, but he went above and beyond and ran the Clarendon Marathon in aid of TFSR and raised over £1500 for their funds and he explained what this has also done for him personally. We learnt about the broad and packed programme of activities he has completed during his brief stay here from cultural to sport to church attendances to service activities with Rotary to presentations to Rotary Clubs and District Conferences. A truly packed programme out of which he has squeezed every ounce of experience he can and is now looking at his future – possibly following a degree path here in the UK. This young man has plenty of potential and I think the audience on Monday agreed – watch this space!!

It will not be long however before Thomas will see some of us again as a brief resume followed of the intended trip of 8 members in January 2023 explaining how we hope to raise £10,000 to spend on 3 Projects – furniture for the library of a primary school, microfinance for 3 women’s groups and educating pregnant mothers on Nutrition. We will then tour around the various projects over the 10 days we are in Kasese.

For photos click here: Thomas Bwambale presentation

Nick Bell

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top