Edith's Hope is a cause that is very close to my heart. Having visited the project in 2014 and been involved ever since, I'm excited to have the opportunity to raise some much needed funds for the amazing work that happens over in Uganda.

The 300-odd km journey from Entebbe airport outside Kampala to the Edith's Hope project base in Ngora has gone down in folklore amongst those who have experienced it. It is long – anyone travelling by road would be happy with a total journey time under 10 hours. That would mean it has been a reasonably smooth ride! Given that long journeys to the capital Kampala are relatively uncommon for the project team, when they pick up a visitor from the airport they will usually make the most of the opportunity to run errands in person along both legs of the journey. The roads are in relatively poor condition for the most part (a June 2013 study estimated that 4% of Uganda's road network is paved), although I'm told the roads are improving every year.

Travelling by rail would be even more circuitous and time consuming. For those who have paid their dues over the years, a flight is an option, but this is not without it's own risks. So what better way than to run the journey instead. In any case, for many Ugandans there is just one primary mode of transport – by foot. Whether it is sub-optimal infrastructure or economic hardship, travelling by car, train, or plane would simply not be an option for many Ugandans.

Down the dusty tracks of the rural Kumi District in Uganda live some of the most vulnerable children on the planet. These are families where both parents have passed away, typically as a result of HIV/AIDS, leaving the eldest child to care for their siblings. These child headed families live in remote, sometimes isolated, rural locations. Their day typically consists of basic day-to-day tasks such as collecting water, carrying out some rudimentary farming, making repairs to the family hut, and finding any which way to make a living. These tasks mean that schooling is out of the question for all but the luckiest children. Forced to look after themselves, they can be extremely vulnerable to issues such as land grabs from hostile neighbours, and sadly much worse besides.

But there is hope. Edith's Hope's Child Headed Family project serves these families in every way it can. Edith's Hope's team of highly skilled social workers travels by motorbike along the dusty tracks of rural Uganda to visit each of the 60 child headed families supported by the charity (around 300 orphaned children in total). Each family is enrolled into a 4-year programme – initially this meets the urgent needs of the family by providing essential food and medical supplies, alongside emotional support. As time goes on the programme enables families to become self-sufficient by providing training, livestock, and social support. The hope is that these children will have the tools to take control of their own futures.

It has been a difficult time for pretty much all of us in the UK over the past year. We've been cooped up in our homes trying our best to stick to the rules, which means we've become pretty used to the same four walls. Imagine then, for a moment, what it might have been like for a family of four or five young children having to 'lockdown' in their small thatched hut, a couple of metres wide. Imagine the frustration of actually having access to three huts, but the other two having been so ravaged by termite infestations that they have fallen into disrepair, and fixing them is unaffordable at the moment. This is a typical scenario – once the inevitable termite infestation returns and leaves their one functioning hut in a worse condition than the others, hasty repairs will have to be made to the least-worst unit in order to provide accommodation. And so the cycle will continue year after year.

But there is hope! The latest addition to the Edith's Hope programme is to provide child headed families with a sustainably built, secure home. Using an innovative, carbon-saving building technology, Edith's Hope are planning to build 10 new homes a year, which will give orphaned families a safe, secure home that will stand the test of time. No longer having to make repetitive, time consuming repairs to their property, the children will be able to spend time learning. Having their own building will enable them to set up a business that can provide a small income. It opens up a number of possibilities for these families. It is another tool that helps them take control of their future.

During the course of Lent, I will be running the equivalent distance of the the journey from Entebbe airport to the project base in Ngora. Google Maps estimates that on foot, and taking the usual detour via Mbale to run errands, the journey adds up to a total of 326 km – which I will need to cover in the space of 40 days. I have no hesitation in welcoming you to look beyond my folly of covering an arbitrary distance over an arbitrary timeframe, and see the real reason I'm doing anything at all – Edith's Hope is an incredibly worthy cause, one I'm proud to champion, and anything you can give will go a very long way.

Thank you so much!

Josh Harding-Jones