Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Carol and the community of TUSC – Transport for Ugandan Sick Children

An article to raise awareness of a fantastic charity which deserves the publicity. TUSC is a small charity working at a community level in Uganda to provide transport to those who essentially need it . It is on further reading about the charity that it can be realised that the focus is not just transport, not at all, but helping people move forward - not only from illness and injury, but also away from a lack of self-belief and towards a much brighter outlook. It is in contributing to a local charity which is how this brightness can continue outwards and inspire. Thank you.

Carol with children and 'Billy Bus'
In her  day job, Carol Mitchell is a nurse,  continuing care for the ill and infirm across Lancashire. Yet it seems that her generosity is not only within local limits. A  keen traveller, Carol   has paid a number of visits to the Jinja region of Uganda, Africa – where, as a mother of three children herself, she was deeply moved by the plight of sick children and their despairing families.  Uganda is the second-most densely populated landlocked country in the Africa, and has faced a number of humanitarian crises in recent years including civil war, resulting in wide-spread poverty.

The poverty faced by people on a daily basis is truly shocking. Carol alludes to her dismay ‘that sick children were not able to get to healthcare because there was no money to get them there ..... families often have to choose between eating or treatment .’ Whilst we have the NHS to turn to in moments of crisis, some Ugandan families have no one. Why open an article with such a personal anecdote? Because charity CAN be and is importantly personal – involving compassion and care. For example, Carol was determined to  get the wheels turning to ensure that families in this region of Uganda were not alone in times of trouble – literally.

Things in motion for the families of Uganda

It was with the help and guidance of local man Weere Yakub and cooperation with local hospitals that Carol came up with the idea of providing a vehicle to visit villages on a planned basis so  that  vulnerable people unable to make the journey themselves, such as  sick children and pregnant women,  can be transported to healthcare facilities. Unlike Carol’s freedom to travel and administer care in Rossendale, the people of Uganda face highly limited mobile healthcare services and transport links which are often inadequate to take them to hospital in the case of emergency. This is especially dangerous for children. It was with this in mind that Carol continued forward with the establishment  of what is now called TUSC – Transport for Ugandan Sick Children. They can ve visited at
Weere Yakub, The TUSC project manager based in Uganda and 'Billy Bus'

TUSC not only seeks to provide transport to and from hospital for vulnerable people, but is also a free service, therefore making healthcare much more accessible for those who would have once been daunted by the financial implications of going to hospital. This accessibility is furthered in that TUSC also aims to provide ‘outreach’ support – teaching communities in Uganda basic health care, potentially empowering families.  This can involve helping the  disabled in the community and increasing awareness rather than ostracising. Such care and power began under the inspiration of one woman from Bacup, Lancashire and now, although based in the UK, TUSC has a permanent presence in Uganda also.

Best time with Billy Bus

This presence is perhaps best seen in the smiling faces of the children and the TUSC ‘Billy Bus’  - the transport vehicle for the charity which was bought in 2012 through public support. TUSC is a small but extremely hard-working charity, and Carol pledges ‘We are totally dependent upon the good will of our supporters and every penny we receive is used to run our vehicle and provide mosquito nets.’ It is in contributing to TUSC, even by the smallest amount,  people potential, like Carol, to make a really significant difference. It is a case of families here supporting families there – a brilliant network. And this support really can be seen and felt – you can follow TUSC on Facebook, or "Givingabit", where your online shopping can benefit us without it costing you extra... and as we face growing fuel costs a regular donation of any amount would be amazingly valued."

 You can be part of this and in supporting such an active charity  acting first-hand with the Ugandan
community.  After all, small charities can still address critical issues as well as being potentially flexible to changing circumstances. What is so crucial about the work of TUSC is that it seeks to  actively better the lives of Ugandan people, encouraging and enabling them to make the most of the resources they have, as far as possible. This may be from allowing a mother the security of giving birth in a hospital, to the prospect of families having access to treatments for a vulnerable or disabled relative. That people might be otherwise left alone in such circumstances is deeply upsetting.

 By supporting  a small, locally-based charity like TUSC this year, you are avoiding big draining corporate measures and instead contributing to the people as directly as possible. In light of recent American figures, as well  as the statistics that Uganda is rated among countries perceived as very corrupt by Transparency International, at a scale of 29 – with  0 being most corrupt and 100 clean) – this may  well be an important way for charity to develop; directly connecting with the people, just as it works to connect people with the right health care. TUSC provides attentive, honest and compassionate care for those communities who need it. 

For more information on this brilliant charity, visit - and follow them on Twitter 

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