Tiffany is Organising ‘Raise the Roof’ Party for Ugandan School

Get ready for an evening of entertainment all in the name of a good cause at the upcoming ‘Raise the Roof’ party on Friday 24 May at Oaken Grove Vineyard. Hosted by Tiffany Bowles, the fundraising event aims to support the construction of a roof for the Emily Collins School in Kisoro, Uganda.

The Emily Collins School, founded by Ugandan social worker Martin Duhimbaze, was set up to help vulnerable and orphaned children to escape poverty by providing an education. Martin’s vision is to create a school which also acts as a community hub, offering apprenticeships for school leavers, a medical unit, and access for adults to use the library. The school is named after an English friend of Martin’s, who died of cancer in 2017 at age 26.

Henley resident Tiffany first discovered Martin through a Facebook post shared by her cousin. She recalled, “My cousin Beckie promoted his post about a young girl called Sarah who needed a sponsor, and I have been sponsoring her for the last 6 years.”

Tiffany and Sarah

Tiffany was born in Uganda, but having left when she was 1, has no memory of her time there. It became a bucket list goal to visit the country of her birth, which she finally ticked off in February with her son Robin. It was on this trip that she arranged to meet Martin and Sarah, and was taken to see the school under construction. Currently, the building only has a temporary roof.

Struck by the amazing work that Martin is doing, she came up with the idea of the Raise the Roof fundraising party. She said, “When my son, Robin, and I visited it in February, we were blown away by the amount that they can do with so little, so we want to help them raise the roof, put a roof on it so more children can benefit. This is the first of hopefully many fundraisers we are going to do. It’s to raise money, of course, for the school, but more than that it is to raise awareness.”

Tiffany continued, “It struck me that there are a lot of very generous people, very kind people, in Henley. This is a journey for Robin and I, and actually a lot of people want to come on this journey with us and help somewhere where they know where the money is going and they can see the difference it makes. It’s a celebration of what has been achieved so far.”

Tiffany’s sons have played integral roles in organising the event. Robin, an event manager, will oversee the party, Alex, a Marketing Manager, is leading the marketing campaign, and Dan, training to be an accountant, is assisting with finances. Tiffany expressed gratitude for their voluntary involvement, stating, “It’s been a real family affair, which has been lovely because I didn’t ask them to, but they really wanted to be involved.”

With a venue like Oaken Grove Vineyard, of course there will be plenty of wines (and other beverages) on the night. Tickets also include a two course authentic African meal (including vegetarian and vegan options). There will be live music from local band Limpopo Group and their support act, Blue Magoos. To top it off, there will be an awareness-raising presentation, an auction of promises, a raffle and other fundraising activities so people have ample opportunity to help Raise the Roof!

Tiffany said, “We are looking forward to celebrating, sharing a bit of our African journey, and introducing people to the school and the charity if they want to get involved. And if they don’t, that’s okay – they can just party!”

Tickets to the Raise the Roof party are selling fast, with options to purchase individual tickets or tables for groups of six (priced at £50 per ticket). Each table purchased will include a bottle of Oaken Grove wine. 100% of the profits will go to the Emily Collins School. To purchase your ticket, click here. If you cannot attend but would still like to donate to the school, you can do so directly here. You can find out more about the event on Facebook.

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