Volunteering in Uganda by Chloe Bourne

In September, I was given the opportunity to travel to Uganda to act as a volunteer. This opportunity was presented to me through the University of Sunderland Futures Fund.

Throughout my time in Uganda, In this blog, I am going to talk about the four different project I was involved in during my time there.

Over two days, I visited two different slums where we tested people for HIV and malaria, gave out mosquito nets, gave them the opportunity to see a doctor, gave out medicines for free, and provided wound care. This included distributing antibiotics, malaria tablets analgesics, anti histamines, eye drops and creams. On my first medical outreach, I gave out medicines, mosquito nets and mama kits. Mama kits contained items that could be used during birth and were given out to women who were 8 months pregnant or over. On the second medical outreach I was testing people for malaria and HIV. This was done by pricking their finger with a needle and using their blood sample. The results would then be discussed privately and with sensitivity with the doctor. This experience has benefitted my future career by providing me with additional knowledge and experience of healthcare. Furthermore, it has improved my medical skills because of the wide range of ages I cared for. This healthcare was provided to people in the slums and poor areas who would not have had access to or been able to afford to pay for treatment without these vital services. Malaria kills millions each year if not treated.

The second project involved visiting the street children in Kampala. This was done over two days. We walked around and chatted to the children and then walked them to the yard for the project session. Around 40 children attend each time. We provide wound care as these children has experienced abuse on the streets of Kampala. We offered haircuts, washed clothes, a offered a place to use the toilet and get washed. We also tailored the children’s clothing, seeing up rips and holes. Once this was complete, we taught the children some English as school is expensive in Uganda, and we offered some counselling and gave them all a meal and a biscuit. Finally, we played some games such as cat and mouse and had a dance at the end. This experience has supported my studies with the University of Sunderland where I am enrolled on a degree in Childhood Studies. This experience has helped me to consolidate information and given me a better understanding and experience of what it is like for the children in Uganda. Moreover, I will be sharing my experience to my peers and the second year students later in the academic year.

I also gained teaching experience during my involvement in another project: the woman’s empowerment project. During this project we taught women about human rights. It was interesting to learn their ideas of what human rights are as we asked them for their experiences and their understanding of the rights they were entitled to. The final project I volunteered on was the special needs centre. This is where mothers take their children for physiotherapy and medicine. Me and the other volunteers played with the children. However, there was not much there for their sensory needs. I used my experience and knowledge of supporting children with special needs to try to give the children a good play session.

The experience has been life changing for me and I strong recommend that my peer on the Childhood Studies programme consider applying for funding to volunteer with the children in Uganda. I am now considering my future goals which have changed as a result of my experiences. I know now that I want to support inequality and make a difference for the lives of children.

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