Visa problems halt Ugandans’ North Devon visit

Richard Kibuuka, director of operations in Uganda and Titus Okello, project coordinator at Kira Farm

Richard Kibuuka, director of operations in Uganda and Titus Okello, project coordinator at Kira Farm. - Credit: Archant

Barnstaple charity says it is ‘very disappointed’ after two Ugandan workers have been refused visas.

A NORTH Devon charity feels it has been disappointed by the UK government after two of its Ugandan workers were refused visas into the country.

Amigos Worldwide, which runs Kira Farm Training Centre and a child sponsorship scheme in Uganda, had planned for two of its key staff to travel to the UK this month.

Titus Okello, project coordinator at Kira Farm, and Richard Kibuuka, director of operations, had been given free return flights from the charity’s sponsor, British Airways, to arrive on September 21.

But the pair’s packed schedule has had to be put on hold after the UK Border Agency turned down Richard and Titus’ visa applications twice.

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Phil Pugsley, CEO of Amigos, said: “We feel very let down by the government – they say they want to help development charities and we’re ticking all their boxes.

“Yet they are holding small charities like us back. I’m sure if it had been a bigger organisation there would be no problem.

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“They have turned them down because they are two single men with very little money in their bank accounts; they haven’t really looked into the bigger picture - they are development workers.

“We planned to visit schools all around North Devon; Ilfracombe and South Molton Rotary Clubs; Grosvenor and Trinity churches.We’d planned a gala dinner and a volunteer’s evening as well as undertaking ecological research.

“All that will have to be cancelled now while we try to get them visas for later in the year.”

The charity is working with lawyers to appeal the decision, and if successful hopes Titus and Richard may be able to make it to the UK in November.

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