MBEs have been awarded to a couple for services to the community of Kabubbu, Uganda; a rural village they have served for 25 years and where the villagers called themselves the ‘forgotten people’.

Geoff & Geraldine Booker, who have lived in Cowbeech near Hailsham and then Eastbourne, recently moved at the end of 2023, to Pangbourne in West Berkshire. They have each been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to the community of Kabubbu, a rural Ugandan village located 25 miles north of the capital, Kampala which they first visited with friends in 1999.

Now in their mid-70s they have visited Kabubbu regularly over the past 25 years spending a total of 4½ years of their lives living and working with the villagers developing a wide range of infrastructure and resources. They helped found the Kabubbu Development Project [KDP], an NGO (a Ugandan Non-governmental organisation). They committed themselves by giving up paid employment and working 24/7 to bring love and support to Kabubbu.

Kabubbu is a village, then filled with death, destitution and disease, at the end of a 5km mud track off the main road,. Among the population of 1,800 were 400 orphans. Some were orphaned when a parent died from AIDs, malaria or other tropical diseases or when a mother in labour walked 10 km to the nearest health facility to give birth. Most families survived on “less than a $1 a day” as subsistence farmers or worked in a local quarry and lived in tumble-down mud houses. No health care, education, clean water, electricity and little food – without so many things that are the basics of living in the UK. The community asked for help for the orphan children in their extended families.

Geoff and Geraldine agreed to tell their story back in the UK, promising to send the community any money given for the community, in full. Two days after their return the Pastor of the Welcome Baptist Church in Heathfield gave them two minutes to tell the story of their visit. It has now been told many hundreds of times to many thousands of people in schools, colleges, churches, Rotary Clubs, U3A, companies and clubs and wherever they were asked. Over 1,000 have visited Kabubbu including secondary school students from many parts of the UK.

Working with the community the children now have a primary and secondary school, a vocational training college, adult education centre, health facilities including operating theatre and AIDs support centre, a foster home as well as welfare, elderly support, farming and agriculture programmes and a maize mill plus a resort centre. A church and community centre are now the hub of community activities. More than 160 mud homes have been replaced by brick houses. Electricity is connected and clean water from boreholes. Geoff and Geraldine have raised over £10,000,000 in 25 years through Divine guidance and a 24/7 passion to serve the Kabubbu community enabling children to thrive.

Over 1,000 children are in education every year. Some gain first class honours degrees at university. 100 elderly have a weekly food parcel and a more dignified life. Some subsistence farmers now earn an income from their harvests and can afford to educate their children. All can access better health care and an improved diet. Maternal health programmes and AIDs support have all but eradicated maternal and infant mortality and there are now few – if any – new orphans. The whole village and surrounding communities have been blessed with the opportunity to develop.

Geoff and Geraldine’s work is not finished. In faith and through continued Divine guidance they are determined to carry on serving Kabubbu through the GB Trust, their registered charity, to seek to bring vital aspects of support where possible. They are also ready to continue inspiring others through ‘telling the story of Kabubbu’ wherever invited. They are particularly available in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex and Kent – and elsewhere by request.