Pictured: The approach to the infamous beast - a steep incline - that runners encounter as they complete the Uganda International Marathon
Every year The Brun Bear Foundation seeks to undertake an epic challenge. In 2018 we went to Uganda...
In 2015 I set up a charity in memory of my father called The Brun Bear Foundation. We resolved to support three categories of causes that we felt my father would approve of and to fundraise for these causes in four distinct ways: through the sale of a series of children’s books I have written and proceeds from associated merchandise and activities; community events; supper clubs and an annual epic challenge.
The fourth fundraising activity – the annual epic challenge – means I am always looking for, well, epic challenges. And when I learnt about the Uganda Marathon it certainly met the bill!
Ahead of the Epic Adventure I connected with Anouk who runs the project ‘Knowledge for Children’ in Uganda.
Pictured: Anouk (seated in blue) with her fantastic team
Anouk and her team were magnificent. They arranged for me to go on a reading tour with our book of eight schools across three days and to meet with children of varying ages and stages and the hardworking school staff.
Knowledge for Children runs an innovative scheme to promote reading in schools. Essentially books are rotated between participating schools on an initial three year basis. The schools contribute to the programmes on a sliding scale. In the first year, the schools pay 15% of the schemes cost. In year two, 30%. In year three, 50%.
This co-investment model makes sense in the Ugandan context. The average school with 300 students lacks the resources to fund even one book between two students. Often it's one book between five students. As well as creating a sustainable model for the schools Knowledge for Children provides Train-the-Teacher programmes and leadership training.
Snapshots from the eight schools visited
All-in-all it was a magical, memorable and even moving experience. Happily, we were able to donate copies of our first book and book bags to the schools through Knowledge for Children. And we have committed to donate copies of our next book when published too.
The Brun Bear Foundation donated books and bags - and has committed to donate copies of our second book
My trip culminated in Race Day. I opted for the 21K option. The organisation, support and atmosphere was impressive. My time was not! And thank goodness there was some cloud cover on the day! I was pleased to complete the course – but my hat goes off to everyone who took part which means the runners, the organisers, those behind the scenes and of course the wonderful people who lined the route cheering us on and giving every support.
Approaching the infamous Beast... no guts no glory!
Naturally, there were a lot of good memories. The favourite element is the people I met – whether organising team, participant or local.
Overall £2,409 (pre Gift Aid) was raised which has been split between projects in Uganda and other Brun Bear Foundation projects.
Stay tuned for more news on the projects we supported and details of our next Epic Adventure! You can follow our progress here, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and via our brand new Giving Wall.
And as always everyone's invited!