SEDCU – Supporting the Education of Disadvantaged Children in Uganda


Jan and Ben Herdan, new members of the Rotary Club of Hexham, recently gave a briefing to the Club about the charity they had founded seven years ago. They went to Uganda in 2011, armed with contacts from a friend working with a conservation charity. They had the opportunity to visit schools, hospitals, orphanages and community groups in the far South West corner of Uganda and came home determined to do something to improve the lives of children suffering, disability, poverty and emotional abuse.  This translated into their decision to sponsor the education of a few children, and when friends and colleagues heard what they were doing, some asked if they could become involved too.  They registered SEDCU as a charity in 2012 to enable such broader support, and have been back to Uganda in 2013, 2015 and 2017.  SEDCU is a small charity but Ben and Jan have demonstrated it is changing some young lives for the better and enabling sponsored children to realise their potential in ways that would not have been possible without the support from SEDCU.

There are now 28 children being sponsored through SEDCU, and it is also funding a number of projects to enhance school facilities, support teacher personal development, and give children fresh experiences to broaden their horizons and to gain fresh skills.  SEDCU’s income last year was around £18,000 and this was all sent to Uganda as the charity has negligible costs in the UK, basically just bank charges and printing. SEDCU’s spend is split roughly 50:50 between sponsorship and projects.

SEDCU is mainly active in two primary schools.  One is a state school in Kisoro town with a special unit for disabled children. The other is a private school in an impoverished rural area at Mgahinga, some 20 miles from Kisoro and on the boundary with a National Park which borders on Rwanda and DRC. SEDCU supports children and projects at both schools and is also involved in supporting children who have passed their leaving exams and progressed to secondary school, vocational college or university. 

roofDuring their presentation to the Rotary Club, Ben and Jan described some of the projects which had been funded at the two schools including both ‘bricks and mortar’ construction work and the educational experiences also given to children to broaden their horizons.
In the former category they spoke, for example, about funding thetank roof for a new classroom block at the school in Mgahinga as well as a huge water tank to store water collected from the new roof.


In the latter category they explained that for three years SEDCU has made it possible for a group of disabled children from the school in Kisoro to participate in National and indeed International Scouting Jamborees where they have won top awards for their category of participant, demonstrating the truth of the school motto ‘Disability is not Inability’.

Jan and Ben also briefed Rotarians about seven of the individual children sponsored through SEDCU, each telling a story of children from very poor and often tragic home backgrounds who are now in
school or college and being enabled to realise their potential in a variety of different ways.