Onialeku Primary School is found along a dirt track, two kilometres from the main road in Arua, West Nile, Northern Uganda. The main road in Arua was built by the Chinese to provide infrastructure for exporting and importing goods. The dirt track is lined by small businesses: subsistence farms, hair salons, ironmongers, clothes makers and butchers, without refrigeration! The people smiled and waved as I drove along the dirt track to the school last summer. I couldn’t help thinking that business brings prosperity in different ways.
Further along the dirt road I arrived at Onduparaka FC, a Ugandan Football Club currently playing in the Uganda Premier League. When I visited the Greenlight Stadium I found a field filled with grazing sheep and goats…definitely not Old Trafford! Sport and resources around sport can bring prosperity in many different and surprising ways…including feeding the local sheep!
Onialeku Primary School has engaged me, my church, friends and work colleagues for over 5 years: building two school buildings, a UHY cycling team raising money to build a fence to keep the children safe, building a water well in the school grounds and supporting over 50 children by providing bursaries to cover the cost of their school fees. For those who can’t afford the very small fees education does not become a reality. Onialeku is now educating over 500 children on a budget of less than £40,000 per annum…a community in significant financial poverty…yet they make those Ugandan Shillings go far, with their frugal ways. Despite their financial poverty, I had never seen such a happy, smiling and joy filled group of children. Prosperity can be brought through philanthropy, construction, engineering and education.
UHY’s strap line is ‘Helping you Prosper’. But what does it really mean to prosper?
Prosperity often encompasses wealth but my experience in Onialeku Primary School and the community in Arua, Uganda showed that prosperity can include factors which are independent of wealth to varying degrees. Indeed economic notions of prosperity often compete or interact negatively with happiness and other aspects of prosperity.
How can we help you prosper?
This is the start of a series of blogs exploring the idea of prosperity. I am off to Onialeku in July 2018 with a team of 24 from the UK looking for some new inspiration!
UHY Hacker Young Fitch work with many charities and not for profit organisations. From helping to set up a charity, advising on appropriate corporate structures, obtaining Charity Commission Registration, opening bank accounts, providing Governance Advice: fiduciary, strategic and generative, setting up accounting and internal control systems, advising on investment strategies, acting as auditors, independent examiners and accountants, advising on financial reporting: FRS 102 Statement of Recommended Practice for Charities, providing tax advice including VAT, and payroll taxes, providing bookkeeping, payroll services, tax compliance services and company secretarial support.