Network of Peace Initiatives Uganda.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Network of Peace Initiatives Uganda.  

Dear Don, You should be wondering why I have been somewhat silent. I cant explain sufficiently the business. As we approach the close of the year, am finding it too demanding to meet all these deadlines.

I, however, thought it good to break the lull.   I will send the updates on achievements as advised by you for the web as soon as immediately.   The Peacemania, was out successfully and we have circulated it in various participating schools. The response is indeed overwhelming. Our biggest challenge has been the resources but the future now looks promising.

We thought it better to host it differently and link it to the NPI site. I have talked to various individuals in that field and  I was wondering if you could be in the know of some volunteer to do the designing such that we can do the hosting. It is the designing we have found demanding since there are few web designers here. I have already discussed with various service providers and the rates of up to 2 GB space are not that overwhelming.

I thought I could have sent you the electronic version of the newsletter but my information technician has been away and he had not yet converted it to PDF for easy file attachment.   I will keep you updated and thanks for all the efforts to build peace in this world.    


Ulster Star Northern Ireland.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Kabbubu Uganda

Kabbubu Uganda

Our thanks to GMAC RFC for their substantial  support towards the Kabbubu Library Community Project, Uganda.

Day 1 of Way of Peace, Belfast

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

His Holiness The Dalai Lama
20 November 2005.

 Day 1 of Way of Peace, Belfast
( report back to Georgetown University US)


As our first day in Belfast draws to a late close, I am still absorbing the impressions of the first day of the Way of Peace.  Our day began only hours after landing in Belfast, and after a hearty Irish breakfast, we commenced with the preparation of the day's first event. 

The Dalai Lama arrived in the hotel at roughly 10:15 am, hand in hand with Fr. Laurence, gracefully climbing the mezzanine steps.  He was greeted by the Ray of Hope Choir, a group of talented Irish youth, affiliated with UNESCO, who welcomed His Holiness with a series of songs and a Celtic blessing ringing of hope, faith, and a call for reconciliation in a land troubled by years of strife. 

His Holiness displayed his characteristic glee and unconditional happiness with a shining smile that never hinted of jet lag.  As I struggled to fight my waves of tiredness, I couldn't help but be awed by the Dalai Lama's freedom from such an ordinary human complaint.  After sharing a few words with the enchanted children of the choir, he listened intently to a few speakers from the group, who presented gifts and warm welcomes to the Tibetan visitor.  The event was a simple yet powerful opening to this three-day "Way of Peace" initiative, an artistic demonstration of the themes of dialogue, peace, and reconciliation that will pervade these next few days.

His Holiness, The Dalai Lama.

His Holiness, The Dalai Lama.


Sunday was a very special day for A Ray of Hope having been bestowed the unique honour of being in the presence of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. The choir performed twice for The Dalai Lama, he was then welcomed and presented with peace lilies, prayers and writings, and a small dossier on our friends in the Metta Centre, Nepal. The choir performed a final time as he left their company. The Dalai Lama's serenity and aura enveloped all in his presence and few could not have experienced the inner warmth that emanates from him.  


BBC News


The Dalai Lama is set to address a Community Relations Council event at Belfast's Waterfront Hall on the second day of his Northern Ireland visit. It is the second visit to NI for the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader following his first trip in 2000. The 70-year-old will also officially open the headquarters of Mediation Northern Ireland in south Belfast. He was welcomed to the city at the start of his three-day visit on Sunday by the Ray of Hope school choir.


Irish News


...... but before that he was serenaded by the Ray of Hope choir made up of children from a number of Northern Ireland Schools. The Dalai Lama was presented with gifts, which he returned by blessing white Tibetan scarves called katas and giving them to the children.  

more to follow

The Times of Tibet

 The Times of Tibet


Welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama after the musical presentations, Don McBurney, Director of A Ray of Hope, said,  Then as always we are at the command of His Holiness who may or may not speak to others. All I will advise is that you allow the presence of His Holiness and his serenity to embrace you. A Ray of Hope is a UNESCO affiliated youth NGO that aims to profess the belief in the international development of a culture of peace.

Later in the day, His Holiness visited the Corrymeela Centre.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

His Holiness The Dalai Lama.  

His Holiness The Dalai Lama bestowed a unique honour today on A Ray of Hope by allowing the children and teachers to be in his presence. Many more photographs to follow and a full report on our experiences. In the photograph members of the choir present to His Holiness lilies of peace as an acknowledgement of a shared ethos.

Moldova and Romania

Moldova and Romania

Today a substantial amount of medical and pharmaceutical supplies for example crutches, Zimmer frames, toiletries and sanitary items left for Moldova and Romania. The photograph shows pupils from Largymore Primary School assisting to load the lorry with the items collected.

Reverend Simon Reynolds

Friday, November 18, 2005

Reverend Simon Reynolds St. Paul's Cathedral  

Dear Don, "It was tremendous having A Ray of Hope here in St. Paul's, and I shall wear your sweat top with pride. It will remind me of a very happy and inspiring day. Do keep in touch and I hope it will not be long before we can welcome you all here again. with every blessing Simon

Schools Congratulated

Schools Congratulated Following London Service. Northern Ireland  

Lisburn City Council is to send a letter of congratulations to local schools involved with A Ray of Hope choir. This was proposed at the October meeting after the Mayor Councillor Jonathan Craig described the recent event in St. Paul's Cathedral to mark the 60th anniversary of United Nations. Mr. Craig said the local youngsters had "done our city proud". He also explained that as well as singing one of the Lisburn pupils, Matthew Cooper, had spoken in front of the huge congregation which included the Queen as well as dignitaries from abroad. " For a boy of 10 he did Lisburn proud"



William Stukeley Church of England Primary School and A Ray of Hope   

Dear Don, Thank you very much for all your help with our project for helping the school in India. Your parcel arrived here safely on Monday and we have written a letter and enclosed photos and sent it on it's way. I am so grateful for all your help and encouragement with this project and I will certainly be recommending to my school that we continue to work on an occasional basis with A Ray of Hope. All the best for the future,              Margaret  

6th October, 2005 ( Hi there. We had a super service in our local church and collected £100 from the parents in the collection. We would now like to use this money through the goods you can provide to help the school I described to you. What would be our next step? I know it's not a huge amount, but of course anything's better than nothing and we can aim to build on that amount in the future. Thanks for your help in all of this    Margaret)

His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Ray of Hope , UNESCO Youth Ambassador for the Culture of Peace.  

Following the recent performance of A Ray of Hope in St. Paul's Cathedral when the choir sang for Her Majesty the Queen : they  have been asked to perform this weekend for His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

"A Ray of Hope" Jewellery Range

"A Ray of Hope" Jewellery Range  

Today Farhana finished the design on the first piece of "A Ray of Hope" jewellery range. This is not a profit making venture but more a promotion of our ethos which Farhana has kindly agreed to assist with. Mobile telephone charms and more to follow.


London Rt Hon Michael Howard QC MP  

Best wishes and thanks received from Michael Howard - Leader of the Conservative Party.

“Teachers Talking (about ICT)”

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

“Teachers Talking (about ICT)”
An anniversary.
A Ray of Hope
UNESCO Youth Ambassador for the Culture of Peace




On Saturday November 19th a group of teachers in rural Nigeria will be joining in an unusual celebration.  The occasion is the first annual reunion of the Teachers Talking (about ICT) Group


Most of the teachers come from schools without electricity and with few books or resources of any kind. Despite this, in 2004, they asked the Fantsuam Foundation (FF) Community Learning Centre (CLC) for a training course so that they could “Know Computer”. FF director John Dada turned to A Ray of Hope’s Pamela McLean, to design and deliver the Teachers Talking (TT) course. The course was held

in November last year Teachers wanted a follow up course, but funds have not permitted that. The reunion is to assure the teachers that they have not been forgotten and to help them maintain their ICT knowledge and confidence. 



TT was built around modules now known as the “No-computer computer course” (NC3) – featuring work relevant for teachers to do back in their schools. The teachers also had practical experience of using computers, which included joining the TT online group – hence an online element to the reunion.  The TT online group was set up before the course started. Thismeant that when the rural teachers went on the Internet, they discovered they were part of a small, but vibrant, international online learning community - a community which came online to welcome and support them – and to learn from their experiences.



The reunion will be led by David Mutua, CAWDnet coordinator in Nigeria. (CAWD details ). New and old friends of the project will be affirming their continuing links with the teachers. Pam, who lives in the UK, is looking forward to going online during the reunion. (Pam’s email is  Omo Olaiya -  an expert in Free and Open Source Software – will be making a first visit to Fantsuam to meet the teachers and explore what ongoing support he and his students can offer. A Ray of Hope will be announcing an art competition for children, which could lead to ongoing support for local schools.  


This event is not a high-tech leading-edge technology demonstration. It is a reunion, simply celebrating people’s ability to collaborate and communicate through available ICTs. It will be a flurry of yahoo emails as course participants log on to ancient refurbished computers. Greetings will flow. Fleetingly these rural teachers will be in contact with friends and colleagues across the digital divide – friends who, in various ways, are working with the teachers, and for them. Once again, briefly on November 19th , the rural teachers will be actively included in a “connected community” on the Internet. 


UK National Commision

Saturday, November 12, 2005

UK National Commission for UNESCO.


    The UK National Commission website is now online at It has a wealth of history, culture, education, science and much more. If you have a UNESCO event we will forward it to London for inclusion in their diary of events. Don



Drawings from our Princesses in the Metta Centre Nepal. Although the drawings are delightful it pleases us even more to know that in school they are excelling. 4 are first in their class, 2 or in the first division, 1 is second, one fourth and two fifth. We - I look forward to their next reports the way any father would.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Miscellaneous. International

Today was one of a few new contacts being made all of which will add somewhat to what we are already attempting to achieve. On a more concrete base.


Educational posters, resource material, teachers' lesson plans now begin their journey to India


The money that was guaranteed for the refurbishment of the classroom in Romania is on its first banking leg.


Similar finances now on the slightly longer journey to Nepal to assist with the upkeep of the Metta Centre for "our princesses.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Romania - I wish this to be published not to appeal for your assistance but to enlighten you about the thoughts and conditions that some of our friends have to endure. We will of course assist and we have the resources to do that already. I had heard about this young boy after he gave away one of his coats to a child who had none. His home has been visited and all he states is correct. For now we will name this young lad "Hope" and in the near future we will allow some of his Christmas wishes to come true.

PS ............ and yes I had a tear in my eye



Kiss your hands , sweet dear Mrs Laura Ionescu ,

I didn’t think that a simple letter for Santa Claus will bring me so many gifts from you , from your friend from Unesco and from the others .Reading what other members wrote on our forum ,I just wrote there what I would like to receive just as a symbol without guessing what will be next .

Huraaaaaaaaaay ! Santa will come to me full of gifts too ...

Every single child wish to receive many but all I would like to receive is a schoolbag(rucsac )and a pear of warming boots for this winter , a pear of boots so I can walk without getting my feet wet because the snow or rain , and a warming jacket .My mom bought a jacket from a Second Hand Shop but none of them is good for winter and I m feeling cold with them .

I m going to school very clean and nobody from there even guess my financial situation andI would not like them to find because some children and teachers are mean and would laugh about me .

As you already know , my mother has diabetes and she needs a special diet , special food to eat .To buy her what she needs i started to work after hours for a neighbour , to clean his house and yard , to paint his walls .To paint his kitchen and bathroom he was giving me 500 000 lei ( 16$ ) but I caught a strong cold and i had high fever so my mother didn’t let me go for few days .She was against working from the first place because she said I’m just a child and children not suppose to work .She said I m just a child and I would have all my life to work.

So i thank you very very much because thanks to you and your friend i will receive something from Santa Claus too as every other normal child .

I wish you all the best in the world and many many health .

 (name removed by Don


Dear Laura Ionescu ,
Excuse my late answer to your second letter but I just arrived to that internet coffee where I am allowed to stay because once in awhile I make cleaning .
I was thinking again and again how and what can I write you and to the others who implied to help me and my mother .Thank you very much because you were thinking about us and want to offer me and my mother some more beautiful winter celebrations than the other years .I read on the forum that you and other few ladies want to bake some cakes for us .You can not believe how happy u make me because my mother didn’t eat a cake from long long time ago .
What can i tell you about my mother?Only that is very very ill , she has many diseas and she s losing weight everyday.The doctors cant explain why she has so many problems as she has and they said that the illness she had doesn’t justify this thing .On the left side, face , hand , arm , are swollen and under her arm appeared something very strange and painful to her ( tumour).From what i understood from my mother and my grandmother s discusions , I think is very very bad .She could make medical investigation to find once for all what she has but , as you know already , this cost a lot and we don’t have money .I would do anything possible to help my mother but not to give interviews or appear on tv because I am too shy and I would lose myself .
What my mother needs? Health !!!This is all i want for my mom .She is a very modest person and she never wanted something special for her , she wears modest clothes but clean ones.I wish i could take her to a good hospital and make all the medical tests she needs to make .I wish I could buy a pear of nice boots to put them under the Christmas Tree but you know , I am afraid that she would not have enough time to wear .
Is so much pain in my soul but is more in my grandmother's soul because my mom is her only child who survived till now .She had other two sons who died and my mother is the only child she has now and is very ill her too .
I was heard about Unesco and Rays of Hope but i didnt know what it is in fact so i searched on Google .It is very big .
Please , can you send my greetings to Mr.Don and thousand of thanks because he was impressed by my story and he wants to help me .I m not good in saying or writing nice words and i think that are too less anyway to show what i feel now .Can you talk in my place , please?I dont know you face to face or personally but I already feel you close and i am sure you have a good feeling soul .A lot of flowers for you !

Yours , (name removed by Don)

A Ray of Hope.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Our thanks to Joanne for this wonderful photograph taken by her over Belfast and epitomising A Ray of Hope.

A few extra photos from St. Paul's Cathedral.

1. St. Paul's Cathedral

2. Matthew and Stephen eye up Her Majesty The Queen's and Duke of Edinburgh's chair for size.

3. Sir Patrick Cormack addresses those present in the Crypt of St. Paul's

4. David Wardrop demonstrating the fit of his new sweat top - pleased with his membership of A Ray of Hope

Ethiopia, AHEAD.

Today we welcome into the fold  of A Ray of Hope Elfneh, Chairperson and members of "AHEAD". I am convinced that we will be of mutual benefit in assisting the children and adults that they care so much about. Shortly plans will be made to see how we can journey together to help those who need it our help.  


Who are Action for Health, Education and Development (Ahead)?

Ahead is a UK-based charity devoted to research, raising funds and initiating projects aimed at combating poverty, reducing health, education and development inequalities in southern Ethiopia, particularly in Gujii Zone.


  • Ahead was formed in November 2004 by the request of the Gujii people and their leaders to address their marginalisation and disadvantages. <o:p></o:p>
  • The charity is registered as a company limited by guarantee No. 5320294 in England and Wales. Ahead’s registration as a charity is underway.
  • The organisation is managed by trustees including a chairperson, secretary, treasurer and members of the executive committee.


Monday, November 07, 2005

    Today we were quite successful in our endeavours.  

1. Large quantity of fleeces and related clothing sent to Jordan.

2. Basic educational supplies on its way to Serbia.

3. Small finances to Nigeria for the purchase of art supplies.

4. Toiletries to Romania.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Father Tony Senno

Sierra Leone



Today I had the privilege of meeting Father Tony Senno. A very dedicated man who cares enormously about the education and conditions in Sierra Leone. Tony has been quite a prolific writer on the cultures, moral values, beliefs and aspirations of the people he has ministered to, particularly Sierra Leone and the Philippines. I am convinced that we will be able to assist him in his endeavours. Tony is being supported by Dessie Pedon in Northern Ireland and it will be through Dessie we will be able to supply Tony’s communities with educational and medical supplies.

Welcoming a new affiliate.

Farhana's Jewellery United Kingdom.  


Each day A Ray of Hope seems to take on a new aspect, partner or affiliate and today is no different. Today Farhana's jewellery company have affiliated for friendship though she will have a surprise for the female members of A Ray of Hope shortly. More information to follow. Link to jewellery on our home page.

The Ulster Star

Northern Ireland's Ulster Star
Carries A Ray of Hope's story in pictures.
Our thanks to the Editor David Fletcher and his Staff for their support.

Thanks received.

10, Downing Street
  Thanks and best wishes received from the Prime Minister and Mrs. Blair

Current Projects and Status.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Current Projects and Status:



1. Nepal


 Finances required for the welfare of “our princesses in the Metta Centre.  (4 months   requirements now sent)  Piya


2. Romania.


Fleeces needed for school.  (Sent today)   Laura


3. Romania.


Finances needed for refurbishment of a classroom. (Guaranteed)  Laura


4.  Serbia.


Basic educational supplies – pencils, erasers, rulers needed.  (Obtainable)  Melanie 


5. Uganda


Finances needed to produce new scenery for the Carrier Pigeons  Dance/Drama/Music group.  (75% achieved)  Vickie.


6. Sierra Leone.


Awaiting word, will be updated soon. Aminatta


7. India.


Educational posters required.  –Obtained- (To be packaged and posted to England for  onward delivery)


8. Jordan


Fleeces and similar needs for 60 children.  (75% achieved)  Paige.


9. Belarus.


Cameras needed for the schools to display and promote their work in the School for Art and Music and School for Diagnostics and Development. (Guaranteed)  Don.


Dance and Music supplies needed for School of Art and Music.  – Obtained- (Will be hand delivered in March/April.)    Don


10. Nigeria.


 Trophies and Medals for school competitions.   (New Today)  Pamela.

Charity for African Welfare and Development

Pamela McClean, CAWD, Nigeria.
Charity for African Welfare and Development.


It is a great pleasure to welcome CAWD ( pronounced Card ) into the fold of A Ray of Hope and also that Pamela McClean has agreed to be our liaison and advisor for Nigeria.

CAWD brings together local knowledge of problems of African Welfare and Development with knowledge and resources from the wider community. It uses the Internet to bring the two together to enable change. CAWD's vision and strategies spring from the challenges and opportunities of this century. 

·      The Internet

·      Digital technologies - computers, phones, TV, radio, cameras and suchlike 

·      Inequalities of provision and opportunity  

·      Media channels enabling the rich to know more about the poor and the poor to know more about the rich

·      New opportunites for communication and collaboration - across continents and across cultures

·      The need for new approaches and solutions to the problems of African Welfare and Development 


Already planning has commenced to organise educational supplies deliveries, art and sporting competitions.


Jordan sends Thanks

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Paige Kimberley


Thank you so much. I have attached the letter for Heaton's Ireland. The school and the children will be absolutely delighted. One of the most remarkable things that they said was, how could their own country ignore them when another country wanted to help. This is such an important time when different religious groups are trying to widen the gap between the East and the West, to show that we all do care and can all work to a common goal.Don, I have now two people in Jordan that are helping facilitate this work.

Take care and thanks again,


Fleeces for Romania and Jordan.

Thank you to Ms Carol McAleese Heatons Lurgan and Heaton's

On behalf of the children in Romania and Jordan and A Ray of Hope could I thank Heaton's, Lurgan and Heaton's Ireland for their continuing support. Due to their generosity many children in Romania and Jordan will be a little warmed this forthcoming cold winter. Photo 1 Ms. Carol McAleese General Manager Heaton's Lurgan Photo 2 Fleeces for Jordan. Photo 3 Fleeces for Romania Photo 4 Heaton's Store Lurgan. Don