Meltham Mustard Seed Charity


In 2022 it will be 40 years since the Meltham connections have been supporting the children of Kyema, Uganda. The late John Bakanoba MBE, began to help the village he had grown up in, and started the Kyema Water project. Its aim was to sink a bore hole to give fresh water to the village as they were having to walk 4 miles to get water from a small pond that was contaminated.

After many years enough money had been raised to sink the bore hole, in 1992 the fresh water flowed into the pump, it was officially opened and visitors were there to see this project come to fruition. It was then that it was talked about to build a Community Hall that could be multi-purpose building for the village. The Rev Gerald Barraclough, who had been a minister in Meltham and Ebbw Vale, undertook the raising of funds for this, and the building started in 1995. In 1996 a large group of supporters along with John Bakanoba were present at the grand opening. During this visit some of the party, on their way back from a day’s exploring called at a small project in Hoima to visit a Baby Home. They found a group of orphans who were being cared for by a young girl and it was being supported by a group of people from Kyema. Their plight moved a lady called Jackie Gee and some others. They talked about what they could do to help the orphans. On their return to the UK they got together and as the Baby Home was called The Mustard Seed Baby Home, they took the title of Mustard Seed and formed The Meltham Mustard Seed Project. Instead of the children being in an orphanage they organised people in Kyema to become foster parents. People, who would, on a regular monthly basis support the families in Kyema, were found in Meltham. It was decided to not only to pay the foster parents to bring up the children, but to pay for their education and health issues up until the end of primary education at the age of about 14. This they did and in late 1996, 12 children were placed into their foster homes. The Community Hall became such a popular venue that there was too little room for the expanding nursery held within it. Therefore Meltham was approached to help fund a purpose built nursery a small distance away from the Hall. In 2002 a small group went from Meltham to officially open the nursery. During this visit some of the older Mustard Seed orphans were looking for private sponsorship to continue their education into further and university education. From this the Mustard Seed constitution was changed to extend support to all children until the end of further education. In 2006, in order to qualify for local government funding the nursery needed to be upgraded. Electricity was installed, it needed to be properly fenced to keep the children safe and also required toilet facilities and a kitchen. Additional roof guttering and a subsequent water storage tank meant it was possible to have incredible flush toilets! A group of 10 men from Meltham went to Kyema and alongside men from Masindi completed this work. The nursery had room for 50 children. The Project can now support up to 50 orphaned children from the parish of Kyema. It has been decided that all the applicants must be from the parish of Kyema to keep the project viable.

In 2010 John Bakanoba died and his son Emmanuel became the Chief of the Clan in Kyema, he has taken on the mantle of the leader of the project, and two of our original orphans are now part of the management committee. Many of our original orphans have taken advantage of further education. Some have been to university or college, others followed vocational training. Many now hold good positions in the area and in Kampala. We have teachers, tradesmen, accountants, local and national government officers, all of whom owe their opportunities to this wonderful initiative.

What of the future? We now have our youngest ever child, he is only nine months old, we have a rolling number of children who need our support and love. We also need to build two new classrooms for the school. The work of Mustard Seed goes on thanks to people like YOU.

Reg. Charity No.1126741 We have NO paid employees, and NO administration costs.

The original water well funded by Meltham people through John Bakanoba, (from Meltham Methodist church).  Constructed in 1996 in John’s family home town, Kyema.

A visit in 2019 by Jane Collins and Linda Tinson to discuss the future of MMS. Many of the Mustard seed family, orphans and kindred foster carers. 

The young adults committee, who were fostered at primary level, now spearheading the future sustainability.

Fred Nyakana, graduate in Agriculture, leading the sugar growing project.

Fred in an early planted sugar field.

 Orphaned children and their aunt foster mum.

This grandma has 5 orphans in her care.

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