WINCHESTER Rotarians have been in Uganda to help village schools.

They were part of a team that visited last week to distribute books.

Winchester Rotary gained an International Grant worth over £35,000. Starting with a bequest from former Winchester Rotarian, Martin Fayers, it attracted funding from Rotary Clubs in Jersey, France, Germany, and Calcutta and the USA.

The money will put books and libraries into 20 primary schools in the Kasese District of rural western Uganda.

Winchester Rotary sent a training team of six professionals to Uganda. This comprises ex-headteachers and officers from Hampshire, including and led by Winchester Rotarians.

Project director, Rotarian John Wilkinson, former assistant Director of Education in Hampshire, has just returned home.

He said: “The Books for Schools project has made an amazing and successful start. During last week, the first six schools received their books and first planning meeting from the joint team of Rotarians and to great excitement.

“One of the schools visited on Wednesday February 19 was Railway Primary School in Kasese who are twinned with All Saints Primary School in Compton, where I am a governor.

“They also sent funds, raised by pupils and parents, to help buy books, library equipment and chalk for children’s slates. In return, Railway School sent letters from children and staff as well as gifts of large wooden African animals, which the school has now received.”

Four of the training team, led by Rotarian Ian Knights, are staying in Kasese until March 23. They will train the other 14 schools in the project and visit all 20 schools to support them with practical action, including teaching some reading techniques.

Mr Wilkinson added: “This has become a very successful and powerful project which will help raise academic standards and help raise families out of poverty.”

Key working partners in the project include the Rotary Club of Kasese and the Hampshire-based charity Education Uganda.