“Isn’t Uganda dangerous?”,” Aren’t there many diseases that you can catch there?” These concerns that were raised by family and friends were all dispelled once I met with the passionate team from Self Help Foundation who warmly received us and took care of us.

Our project in Northern Uganda was to introduce programmes that to enhance skills training and also expose students to various global issues. Of course on paper everything seemed easy and feasible to implement, however on the ground the situation was a lot more challenging than expected.

Many a time the slow pace of life and lack of public infrastructure such as transportation or power was a hassle when trying to get things done. Also each school had different levels of acceptance to our programmes. While some already had programmes of their own. Also many of the schools were poorly equipped in terms of resources and funds, with some schools even holding classes for their students under trees as they did not have enough classrooms. We realized that these schools were our partners and if we were to impact the lives of the children we had to work with them.

Amongst these challenges there was also hope and inspiration to be found. The students in the schools we visited had a fierce tenacity for learning, and an insatiable desire to improve themselves. We also found teachers who were will to go above and beyond their call of duty to ensure that their students get the best education that they could provide.

Many problems could be creatively solved through the utilization of resources that were already available. For example many children did not have enough to eat for lunch resulting in them not being able to concentrate during their afternoon classes. However we realized that there were many ripe mangoes left to rot as there was no way of preserving these fruits. A simple solution would be to dry these mangoes such that during off season periods the children still had something to eat.

Personally I think all of us want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, to help our fellow man. Being part of Self Help Foundation Uganda has taught me that the only way to solve these large problems is to take simple steps to make the lives of others better. The dedication and persistence of the team in spite of difficulties have definitely allowed us to make a change no matter how small it is in the lives of others.

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P. O. BOX 7029, Kampala, Uganda.
Mail: info@selfhelpfoundation.org
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