Forres trio bound for Africa to fill school library with books

Three women from Forres are making a trip to Uganda to continue work on a school project which has grown massively over the last ten years.

Marlyn Somers, who works in Maclachlan Opticians in Forres High Street, has been visiting the African country for more than ten years, and has helped the local community in Bunono build an educational establishment that has grown from 60 children to more than 700.

She explained: “We have 18 classrooms, a nursery block, two dormitories that house 200 people, flushing toilets, and it’s really beginning to look special.”

“Two of the children in Primary 7 in 2018 were the top two children in Uganda.”

Marlyn started the Uganda Aid Person to Person charity after she visited Africa with Vision Aid Overseas to provide glasses for the community. She saw first hand how children struggled with schooling and decided she wanted to help them by improving their education facilities and set about raising money to build a school.

Over the years, Marlyn’s charity has provided funds to build a school with a dormitory, nursery, flushing toilets and most recently a library.

This year, she is accompanied by friends Tanya McLaren and Charlotte Gilbert, both of whom have projects of their own to complete in Bunono. The trio will visit the Ugandan capital Kampala and buy thousands of books to fill the library.

Tanya said: “The library is now completed, so I’m going out this year to create a children’s corner. A place where children can sit down and have a story read to them. These children have nothing and playing is a bit of an alien concept to them. They play in the dust in their bare feet with a stick.”

Charlotte is addressing the increasing problem of period poverty. She will teach girls and women about their monthly cycle, and show them how to make reusable sanitary pads.

She said: “I’ll be giving the girls a short lesson about what periods are, so they can go to school without worrying. They would often use leaves, or bits of old cloth or mattress. Sometimes girls drop out of class because they’re embarrassed, so something as little as a sanitary pad can empower a young girl to proceed with her education.”

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