Brick by brick .. Ugandan orphan Naome Anykukire (7), whose parents died when she was 3, stands on some of the bricks that will be used to build a new school for orphans. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

“Time is of the essence” to build a school for orphans in Uganda, and the people and businesses of the Waitaki district can help, Lindsay Walker says.

Mr Walker supports the Orphanage of Hope in Kabale, through his and wife Dalaine’s charity Make My Name Count. He said it was crucial they started building the 10-classroom school they have planned before the rainy season hit in September.

been working with the orphanage since travelling there together in 2018. Mr Walker was due to return last year, but could not due to Covid.

The orphanage cared for 172 orphans, who were being “home schooled” in one classroom due to lockdown.

He described the situation as “impossible”.

“Especially as the children had had to remain inside for 16 months because of close to martial law [Covid-19] restrictions.”

Mr Walker said the charity was looking to raise $12,000 so the first stage of the build could begin.

This stage involved building the foundation and laying 43,500 heavy concrete and mud bricks to a height of about 2.5m.

“The current dry season represents a three-month window of opportunity before heavy monsoonal rain rolls through,” he said.

Donations were being sought from individuals, with close to 27,000 of the 20kg handmade bricks still required. Each brick cost about $5.

Mr Walker also thought companies, especially those in the building and construction trade, could consider “adopting a worker” for the 80 days to mid-September.

There were three levels of worker, so businesses could pay $2800, $1200 or $640. The lower-level workers were paid $8 a day, and worked 11-hour days digging and carrying bricks by hand, he said.

Because Kabale was close to the border with Rwanda, where it was believed Covid-19 entered Uganda, the situation was even more volatile, and “everyday life is a struggle to survive”.

“Starvation and suicide are killing more than the Covid pandemic,” Mr Walker said.

A new strict lockdown, imposed on Monday, which included the closure of all educational institutions, meant things would be much harder, and security guards could even enter the orphanage to ensure the children were not being schooled, Mr Walker said.

“Just when things were starting to gain momentum this happens,” he said.

generosity even more important . and more urgent.”

The Make My Name Count charity was also responsible for building a community bakery in another region, Kakuuto, which had continued to supply bread and other goods during the pandemic, saving countless lives, Mr Walker said.

The Walkers welcomed any donations, large or small, through