We started Kathy’s Fund in memory of our late co-founder Kathy Smedley, who died in August 2014. With this money we are building our first community health and education facility, Kathy’s Centre. Please help us raise the final few thousand pounds to reach our target and donate here.
What is Kathy’s Centre?
Built on a 3-acre plot close to Mayuge Town, South Eastern Uganda, Kathy’s Centre will be up and running from September 2017. It will provide the vulnerable women and children of the district with a kindergarten, youth club, and community education centre with HIV testing & counselling facilities.
The Centre will draw together all the issues that mattered most to Kathy under one roof. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate her life.
The kindergarten will deliver early years education to disadvantaged 3-5 year olds; and women attending the community centre will receive information and training sessions on gender equality, women’s rights, sexual health, animal husbandry and agricultural skills. Regular HIV & STI testing clinics and counselling sessions will take place for the whole community.
The surrounding land will be developed as a goat farm to enable us to train the local community in best practice for animal husbandry and basic veterinary skills. This will also provide an income to sustain our HEAL project, which reaches the end of its UKAID funding this year. An eco-friendly brick-making machine will help provide an income for Kathy’s Centre itself, ensuring it continues to have a positive impact on local lives for years to come.
We partnered with Engineers for Overseas Development (EfOD), a charity run by young professionals from the construction industry, to ensure Kathy’s Centre was built sustainably and to a high-quality standard. Together we developed an eco-friendly design for the building, complete with solar panels and modern EcoSan toilets with disabled access. Construction commenced on 4th August 2016 and, thanks to the fantastic work of EfOD volunteers, the shell of the Centre was completed in January 2017! Click here to read the fortnightly newsletter documenting their progress.
Why does Mayuge need Kathy’s Centre?
Gender inequality in rural Uganda is entrenched:
• Poverty, gender bias, and teenage marriage and/or pregnancy contribute to just 40% of girls attending primary school, and only 15% completing their secondary education.
• High rates of teenage pregnancy lead to unsafe abortions and death in childbirth for girls simply too young to bear children.
• Women are too often denied the confidence, knowledge, or power to demand safe-sex practice from their partners.
• Poverty and lack of opportunity forces many girls into the sex-work industry, or lures them into harmful relationships with older men promising money or gifts.
• These inequalities mean women constitute 2/3 of those living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kathy’s Centre, with its combined health and education facilities, aims to break the mother-to-child cycles of poverty, ill-health, inequality, and lack of opportunity that condemn local families.
How can you help?
We have big plans for Kathy’s Centre, but we still desperately need your donations to complete the internal fit-out of the building, fully equip the Centre and recruit and train staff. With your help we can provide:
• educational resources and equipment for the kindergarten
• landscaping and equipment for the playground
• audio-visual equipment, pool table, table football etc. for the youth club
• furniture and resources for the testing and counselling rooms
Please head to our official Kathy’s Fund page and help us make Kathy’s Centre a reality for the people of Mayuge District, Uganda.