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It was a night of entertainment and song, a celebration of international relations between the UK and Uganda. The Portsmouth Grammar School staged an event titled Sing for Uganda, to acknowledge their partnership with Kikaaya College School in Bulenga. We were invited to the event to witness the talent on offer from students and the Portsmouth Gospel Choir.

Kikaaya College is situated in Bulenga, Uganda, not too far away from Kampala, the country’s Capital. It is a mixed day and boarding school, established in 1992. It offers both academic and vocational courses and aims to inspire students to be both creative and innovative.

We got the opportunity to speak to the organiser of the event, Fiona Nicholson. As a Teacher of Geography at The Portsmouth Grammar School, she manages the links with the Ugandan school.

This is Five Minutes with Fiona Nicholson.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would those words be and why?

Passionate, Inspired and Hopeful.

This event is to celebrate the links between The Portsmouth Grammar School and Kikaaya College. When were these links first established?

In October, 2007.

The event this evening is ticketed and money is being raised for Kikaaya College. What projects are you hoping to work on with this money?

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We’ll be looking at trying to reduce absentees from school through tackling the core, fundamental issues that are stopping people from getting an education. We’ll be looking at water provision, malaria prevention and we’ll be looking at providing long-term solutions for sanitary products for girls.

We’ve heard a variety of different performances this evening, what was your personal favourite?

It’s very hard to name one! I think they all gave in a different ways so I’m going to sit on the fence on that one.

Whist efforts are being made to fight it, malaria is still a huge issue in Uganda. Do you know what preventative measures are being made in Bulenga, where the school is situated?

There are some nets there, but not many, there’s not many at the school. People can go and get tested once they think they’ve got a problem but really very little is happening directly.

There is a trip to Kikaaya College this summer with The Portsmouth Grammar School, what projects will you be hoping to undertake then?

We are looking at adding more to a vocational classroom that we started four years ago, so maybe putting in windows and doors. We’re want to link PGS to KCS digitally by providing them with a projector and a computer to run it from so that we can be partners in learning in practice. We’re developing a vegetable plot to try and help them in times of food shortage which comes about through the droughts. We’ll be painting a few classrooms, we’ll be having a cultural exchange – lot’s of singing and dancing, of course. And, we’ll be setting up a new library system. We’re going to provide them with both digital and paper-based library systems so that they can access their learning more easily.

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Fiona Nicholson, thank you very much. We also got the opportunity to speak with Ingrid who is one of the singers in the Portsmouth Gospel Choir, here’s what she said she said when we spoke to her.

Ingrid, you were born and raised in Uganda, what are your favourite things about the country?

I love the simplicity of live. Whenever I go back to Uganda, I am always humbled to appreciate the beauty in the little things.

Do you have any personal experiences with malaria?

Yes, as a kid. I was born and grew up in Uganda tit the age of 10 and then moved to England  so I did get malaria on a few occasions. Of course as they say, it’s not great – you’re very ill. I was really weak and tired and think I had hallucinations as well.

Ingrid, thank you very much. That was Fiona Nicholson and Ingrid.

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