POVERTY-stricken youngsters in Uganda are being given hope for the future thanks to the support of people like Plumley-resident Tony Gabbott.

Tony is part of UgandAid, a ministry of Altrincham Baptist Church, which sponsors vocational training at an institute located at the source of the River Nile.

UgandAid sponsors students at the Nile Vocational Institute, and the team visits the establishment every year to meet students and work on community projects.

Tony works in Knutsford as a certified financial planner and lives in Plumley.

He was part of the team which took part in this year’s visit, during which they revamped a kitchen at an orphanage and helped to build brick and mud houses.

Tony’s wife Paula also made the trip, and helped educate mothers on health and safety issues and practical skills such as knitting.

“What we do at UgandAid changes lives fundamentally and unbelievably, and the youngsters we help think they have won the lottery because of the training they receive through the institute,” said Tony.

“They are so grateful and appreciative, and cannot stop smiling.

“UgandAid is a huge part of my life now, and there is great satisfaction in seeing the hundreds of lives we have changed for the better.

“I hope that UgandAid will continue to grow and we sponsor more children to become more confident, successful young people.”

The Nile Vocational Institute is situated near the town of Jinja, 50 miles from the Ugandan capital Kampala.

UgandAid sponsors poor, vulnerable youngsters through three years of vocational training at the institute, youngsters who otherwise would be resigned to a hand to mouth existence on farms or life in the slums.

Skills taught at the institute includes electrical installation, motor mechanics, hairdressing and cookery, and the overwhelming majority of young people who undertake training through UgandAid obtain employment.

Sponsorship is obtained through companies, individuals or fundraising.

“UgandAid’s sponsors 125 students at present, and has sent more than £500,000 to NVI in student fees,” said Tony.

“More than 90 per cent of NVI graduates are employed or self-employed, and NVI qualifications are highly regarded in Uganda.”