Jon Isbell

Thank you! January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! It seems like months ago now – but I just wanted to once again say an absolutely MASSIVE thank you for sponsoring me to run the London Marathon. In case you hadn’t realised I made it round in one piece! It was an amazing experience – there were people lining the entire course and the crowd was so enthusiastic. All the pain was definitely worth it!

At the end of the London Marathon

What I really wanted to tell you about was the trip to Uganda. This year we were in a village called Kimaruli. During our time there we were able to visit a nursery (Nangalwe Nursery), three primary schools (St Michael Primary School, Nalondo Primary School, Ikaali Primary School) and a secondary school (Kimaruli High School). Yet again we were overwhelmed by the extreme poverty in the area: children arriving to school with worn out clothes; almost no teaching materials; no signs of water or food at school; extremely dilapidated buildings. Basically the worst possible conditions to learn in.

On our arrival to the schools many of the children came charging out of the classrooms and surrounded us! One classroom was jam-packed with about 100 little children who were so excited to see us that we had to cover our ears because it was so loud!

In total £1903.75 was raised! Thank you! Eighty percent of the money was split evenly between the five schools. The money allowed us to buy teacher’s curriculum books, pupil text books, stationery, sports equipment and even a printer for the secondary school. The remaining 20% went to Aid International to support their work with children in Guatemala and Zambia (they provided me with the marathon place).

We also visited the sites planned for the wells – there will be six in total. Our Ugandan NGO paper work is now complete and just before Christmas our first well was drilled in the village of Lwanjusi!

Rather unusually for the region Kimaruli High School had a class room containing 10 old computers which mostly worked. They also had an internet connection – although it had never been used because the network switch was broken. We were able to bring another one down from Kampala and get them up and running!

Children at Nalondo Primary School

Your support has made an overwhelming difference to the lives of the children at those schools. The teachers are now better equipped to teach the children and the children have the resources to learn. Without you it wouldn’t have been possible to touch those children! So thank you! You made a difference!

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Categories: Uganda

Water from a ditch April 1, 2014

The London marathon is now only a few weeks away, which means less training so my body can recover and more bowls of pasta so I’ve got lots of energy! You can see how its going at


I thought you might like to hear a story from my last trip to Uganda. As you can imagine it’s quite a bit hotter than it is in the UK! This means it’s important to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. We can’t drink the well water because our stomachs aren’t used to it – we drink bottled water instead.

We had got to about the middle of our time in Manafwa and had amassed quite a collection of empty water bottles on our bus. One of the local children spotted our bottles and really wanted one. The children are so lovely it’s hard to say ‘no’. So we caved in and gave him a bottle. It wasn’t long before there were lots of kids who wanted bottles too! Word gets out fast!

To us it was just a plastic water bottle, that we’d throw away! But they were all incredibly excited! It meant they could take their own water to school! In the villages, in Manafwa, there are no taps. You have to walk maybe 3 miles to get to the nearest well. That means in many cases the children will spend the whole day at school without anything to drink (or eat) in really hot temperatures. I’m sure you can imagine that makes it quite hard to stay awake, never mind learn!


The day after the water bottle episode I was walking up a dirt track in the area that we were working in and spotted a group of children we’d given bottles to. I went over to say hello and as I got closer I was horrified to see they were filling their bottles with dirty water from a ditch in the track!

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post this year we are taking teaching resources for schools and starting the process of drilling wells. Both of these will help the children get better education and help break the poverty cycle. I’d be incredibly grateful for your support and I know the children in Manfwa would too!

If you’d like to, you can donate at



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Categories: Uganda

Running the London Marathon for Uganda March 20, 2014

You probably know that I’ve been running for the past few years, but this year I’ve taken the plunge and signed up for the London Marathon (its only a few weeks away – April 13th). If I’m honest the training has been pretty tough!

Why am I putting myself through all this pain?! For the last six years I’ve been travelling to the Manafwa district in Eastern Uganda (on the border with Kenya, 250km from Kampala). It’s a remote rural area where poverty is rife and hunger is the norm. We’ve been able to work within the community building up personal relationships and making a lasting difference. Many children eat only a single meal a day (that’s the lucky ones) and have to walk several miles to school often barefoot. Once they get there they are crammed inside a small room with as many as 100 other pupils, a single teacher and maybe a few textbooks – no food and no water.


Each year I’ve visited, with a group from my Church, we’ve taken teaching resources and sports equipment for schools, cooking equipment, blankets and even building materials that people like you have paid for. When we speak to people in the community they are always so overwhelmed that people like you, that they’ve never met, are willing to support them!

Being in Uganda I’m always struck by the stark contrast between England, its like a different world. I always wish we were able to do more, so I’d be massively grateful for your support! This year we are taking resources for schools and we will be starting the process of drilling wells!

Please donate at

Thank you so much!

Jon :)

Ps. Aid International kindly provided me with a spot in the London Marathon. For the last 13 years they’ve been supporting Fountain of Life Church in Lusaka, Zambia to build schools and Gifts of Love International in Brito, Guatemala to house abused children. 20% of the funds raised will go to support those projects.

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Categories: Uganda