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

HUGS is a no overhead charity which has developed a range of programmes to bring education and skills development to the very youngest and to mature students in Uganda and Rwanda. We believe that it is only through education that so many of Africa and the World's problems can be solved.

"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 causse was enthusiastically supported by our donors and Good Shepherd School opened in 2009.

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;


Our Scholarship Schemes 

We accept applications for scholarships for Primary, Secondary and Further Education in Uganda and Rwanda although the number is limited. Applications must be supported by one of our trusted representatives and the scholarship eligibility is in the attached document.

Please do not send applications unless you are one of our Trusted Representatives.

Applications for 2016 on are now closed.


Primary level application form is below;


Secondary level application form is below;


University and Further Education and Vocational Form is below;


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 best practical start in life and in learning.

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

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 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.

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 2015 project is to continue the development of the Asili secondary school for girls in Lira, northern Uganda.

The school is being built and the first class opens in February 2015. We hope to have a sanitary block and dormitory complete by June. The school is being built close the the primary school which our Uganda partners have built.

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.

This is the existing Lira Primary School and we have already built the first two buildings of the new Secondary School. By February 2016 we hope to have 4 buildings complete.

Vocational School

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

Although are small vocational programmes at Good Shepherd and at Rukira.  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. But hopefully it will commence in February 2015.


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
We are piloting a business enterprise idea run by the school to raise money for better food for the children.

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 there own school and teach many more children. Since then the first school has been really successful and now over 450 children are attending the 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, 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 girls secondary school at Lira. We also fund 49 students at school or university

How many have been helped

Over the years since 1995 we estimate that up to 2000 children have benefitted from the HUGS programmes.



Where it is located

We support the Lira Babies Home in the North of Uganda where up to 50 abandoned or orphaned children are given a safe and loving home . They are place with relatives or other families when they reach the age of about 4.

What is costs

It costs £14000 per year to run the Lira babies Home and this works out at about £3 per child per week. Donors may wish to tell us to direct their contributions to this cause specifically.


Primary Education
St Zoes grew from a child sponsorship idea and local parents and villagers played a major part in building the school.

Where it is located

St Zoes Day and Boarding Primary School opened in 2001 and teaches 370 pupils with two thirds of them boarders. It has been achieving some of the very highest results of all the schools in the region
The school is in the south of Uganda.

What is costs

It costs about £3 per week during term time for a day pupil to attend St Zoes. They are provided with school meals and help with uniform costs. This covers all teaching and meals and other costs.


Secondary Education
The Primary and Secondary Schools employ over 50 staff and have created income for nearly 600 people. This includes teaching and non teaching staff (50) and many other who work on the large farm or whose livelihood comes in part from having a role in the school or its supply chain. 

Where it is located

St Zoes Secondary School started in 2008 in response to requests from the village and tribal leaders. With only one very poor secondary school in the area we found that nearly 600 children were competing for 100 places in secondary school.
St Zoes now has 140 children attending. It is in the south of Uganda.

What is costs

School costs are about £120 per year for day pupils and a further £240 per year if they are boarding.


Vocational Education
Phase one is for secondary school aged children

Where it is located

St Zoes Vocational School will add a range of practical skills to the curriculum of the secondary school. Skills will include building, wood work, garment making, tropical agriculture and sport.

What is costs

Budgets for this project which should start in the autumn are now being developed.

Over time we hope this may give us the knowledge and experience to extend the project to adult skills development.


Children with Learning disabilities
Good Shepherd gives a lot of attention to practical and vocational skills including woodwork, garment making and basket making.

Where it is located

Children with disabilities such as learning problems rarely get any educational help in Uganda. Parents see now reason to try. If the children to get to a primary school which often has 100 children in a class they get bullied and ignored.

Good Shepherd School for children with learning disabilities has been funded by HUGS and now teaches 120 children. An outreach programme supported by friends now brings opportunities to children who could not normally get to Good Shepherd.

What is costs

The school opened in 2009 and as its reputation has grown more and ore parents are finding ways to help pay the costs. But we need to subsidise and support the running costs each year although the main building programmes have now been completed


Further Education
A scholarship scheme will open opportunities for many to go on to relevant further education.

Where it is located

"G" is a nun has now completed her Medical Degree Course funded by HIGS and is now working in a major hospital in Kampala.
"M" is a young man living in Rwanda who starts at University in September 2012 to study business and finance.
"D" is a student lawyer living in Fort Portal for whom we were able to assist with University fees.
We have 6 undergraduate and 10 secondary scholarship holders as we enter 2015.

What is costs

Univerity fees range from about £500 to £1200 per year. On top of this the cost of books, accomodation and meals adds a further £500 to £700 per year depending in the course being taken.
A year at Medical School cost about £2000 per year all included.


Land Buildings and Agriculture

What it includes

Over the years since 1995 we have given a great deal of attention to providing the land and buildings to allow St Zoes and Good Shepherd and now St Theresa's to develop. St Zoes has over 100 acres of land to allow the children to be fed. There are cows, goats, pigs, a fish farm, and crops such as maize, cassava, potatoes, beans, hens etc.

What is costs

Feeding the children is an important part of school life and many children would get very little at home. Running farms of over 100 acres and finding water can be real challenges particularly at St Zoes which is in a dry belt of Uganda. 

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

Registered Charity Nos.
1098176, Charity Unique Code QAQ87ZG

Peter W Mount CBE, Denise Ead, Dr Joanna Bircher, Robert Blundell, Christopher Bishop, Charlotte Percy, Matt Houghton

Contact us...

If you would like to help please contact us.
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.
We'll be in touch with you soon.