My volunteering experience at Children’s sure house:

necklace smallWith two friends I came from The Netherlands to volunteer in Uganda. I´ve had a wonderful time volunteering for Children´s Sure House (CSH). We went to a project on Sesse Island: There was a poor fishing village with no school nearby for the children to go to. CSH had started a preprimary class, Maboga Primary CSH school, for children from four until nine years old. At this school the teachers just started teaching with a Western program. We were there to help them getting used to this way of teaching.

We had a beautiful little wooden house, with three beds. There was a western toilet and a shower heated by a fire. Every night the staff made a campfire where we sat around and sang songs.
The teachers were eager to learn how to become better teachers. They were very kind to us and worked hard with the advices we gave them. We didn’t just gave them advices, but we worked together with them. When the class went in the small groups, we had one group of children whom we taught new learning games. It was so much fun to see that the children enjoyed it and learnt really fast. We played the games together with them, so we were an example for them. Beside this we just loved to see the smiles on their faces.

The children were really adorable. They loved to play games with us, especially the outside games. At the end of the day the children had a hard time concentrating, so we advised the teacher to do some outside games at the end of the day. We learned them different games they could play outside and played this with them. Not 

only the children liked this, but also the teachers were eager to learn and play with the children. I enjoyed the big smiles on there faces.
We went to visit some of the children’s homes. From that day, I realized even more how important the work was I was doing. The families were very poor and the children often grew up without one or both parents. Without education, they would never get out of this misery. I am so grateful that I could do my little part in a beginning of helping these children out of the poverty.
The people of CSH took very good care of us. We had a cook who prepared delicious food for us and they took us for sightseeing. We did lots of fun things. We went to a resort at the beautiful beaches of Sesse Islands, we visited churches, we went to a cultural dance evening and on top of this we went on a safari. The safari was amazing! We drove with a bus with the roof open, so we could see everything. We saw hippos, elephants, al kind of birds, alligators, deer’s and even a lion. And next to that of course the beautiful nature of Uganda.


The teachers, children, CSH and Uganda have taken a piece of my heart. As a child I always wanted to change the world, now I know I can’t change the whole word, but I can mean the world for one child. Because of CSH I could give some joy to the children’s heart and with that, there also came joy in my own heart.

 

Adaja Otter

 

 

 

Roel Sietsma

In the summer of 2014, I was for the first time in my life in the beautiful country of Uganda. We came with a group of Dutch people, and we had a purpose. Our purpose was to help people, especially to build a school for orphans and children who normally have no chance to go to school.
Convinced of the fact that go to school is very important for each mankind, we had prepared ourselves to go, and to help out, and to enjoy also the contact between the Ugandese people and us.
Though we are neither builders nor carpenters of profession, we were amazed how we, in close cooperation with Ugandese builders and managers, succeeded to build some new classrooms for the school in Budaada (Kayunga district).
Mainly two organizations helped us to achieve this goal. First there is: The Children’s Sure House organization, who helps orphans and needy children to meet their needs for education and care. They initiated the building of several schools, among which is also the school in Budaada. Second there is, from our side, the organization Livingstone reizen, who helped us to prepare ourselves, before going to Uganda.

Once we were in Uganda, we enjoyed the beautiful contact we had with Children’s Sure House, especially with director Martin Mpanga and his wife Flavia, and their family. From the beginning of our stay in Uganda, the arrival in Entebbe, until the very end, they were at our side. We had a wonderful cooperation with them and with all their friends and relations, who became also our friends. This was very helpful for us, to be able to do our work: the building of the classrooms. We had a good cooperation. We met and discussed togehter how we would organize the work, and it did work out very well. We could do a lot of work within only two weeks. And when it was necessary, we adjusted the program or details of it, to make things work as good as possible. During all these days, we stayed (and slept) in the school itself, and we had daily contact with all the students and we visited many of them, even in the villages and houses where they live.
So, both parties, the Dutch and the Ugandese people, were very much blessed by our Lord and God, in these wonderful time we had together.
At the end of our stay, we thought, more or less amazed: we are no professionals, and yet we could do something special for the children in Uganda.


Thank to the Lord: The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy [Psalm 126,3]
Roel Sietsma

 

 

Lisa Allen.

“Education is a solution to poverty”

These words were written down in black marker on a piece of cardboard that hangs on a wall in one of the primary school classrooms in Owangai village.

This statement, though simple carries much truth; Alex Ebwonu and Martin Mpanga the Directors of the school which is under a Community Based Organization (CBO) called Concern Amuria project with projects in Owangai village, Amuria district so affirms.

Without education these children will also rotate in the same vicious circle of poverty as their ancestors.

In a project such as Owangai Primary School, every single person is involved …

The children who attend are shown love and receive an education that is invaluable. Whether the student learns how to farm in ways that produce more crop each year or they take an interest in leadership and go on to be a positive influence in their community or even the country, they have been given an opportunity in Owangai to do so.

This school has begun to bring changes to mindset of the community. They are seeing results from these children in what they are learning and beginning to see the value in education. This project has provided Alex with opportunities to share and work with the parents, relatives, and community in ways that empower and build them up as individuals.

The volunteers may often have different backgrounds and reasons for choosing to come to Africa, but will all return home changed individuals. Being a part of a culture that is not your own is an experience that will stay with you and makes you an ambassador to those unable to go where you have through your stories and what you have learned.

By developing a deeper understanding of one another as uniquely created individuals with different backgrounds, cultures, and ideas we can better create a partnership that begins to truly make an impact in the lives of everyone involved. Change begins with education and no one is too young, too old, too light, or too dark to learn!

The seed of change has been planted in Owangai and every participant: the children, the community, and the volunteers will continue to play an important role in its growth.

---------A CHILD------

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.

If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with jealousy, he knows to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.

If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with recognition, he learns it is good to have a goal.

If a child lives with honesty, he learns what truth is.

If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.

If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and those around him.

If a child lives with friendliness, he learns the world is a nice place in which to live.

 

Lisa Allen

U.S.A.

Volunteer,

Administrator with Children’s Sure House Summer 2011.

 

Joanne Groeneveld Volunteer Testimonial- The Netherlands

People are traveling on the same road as me, to an unknown destiny. Some of them carry things so heavy, that you’re worried it will fall down. But it won’t. Others try to sell their goods next to the road to potential buyers that pass by. Bus drivers try to reach 120km an hour on a rough road. Motorcyclists beep their horns at people on the road. Children carry younger children. Animals are passing by, searching for their own way to go. The ground is red; dust is blowing up, making my vision unclear. People are smiling and ask “how are you?” Children are running to us and calling us Mzungu. 
It’s just like I’m dreaming, but when I open up my eyes again I see it’s real… I’m in Uganda, the pearl of Africa. And we are on our way to Owangai Village.

My time in Owangai Village was very special. Many impressions touched my heart and I felt many different emotions. I enjoyed my time with our group from Holland, but I also really enjoyed my time with the local population! I met a lot of different people, with different talents and desires. But together we stood strong as one team, with one mission; building a future for the children in Owangai Village.  So, for three weeks, we worked as hard as we could, to give these children a safe and dry place to get education.  Two weeks later, the foundation was ready; we laid the basis for their future!
On our last Saturday we had a goodbye party with the children, parents, teachers, our group and the project leaders. I have never seen so many smiling faces together.
As I stood there and looked from a distance at everyone, I felt that my heart was touched and I cried tears of happiness. I was thankful that the people in this town had opened up their arms for us, to let us see the way they live.  Also to make us feel welcome and at home, so we could learn from each other. I also was so grateful that we could work together in the way we did. Owangai Village was ravaged by the brutality of the L.R.A. (Lord’s Resistance Army) who kidnapped and killed many of the town's youth. In many families you can feel the scars and wounds from people who died or are still missing.

One of the things I will never forget is our  visit to one of the old ladies in the village. Our project leader Alex was with us, and knows the people in the village who need help. This lady lived with a few grandchildren. Her husband died, as did most of her children. Most days she was not able to work or go to the market. We gave her some money and other things, so she had some food for a couple of days. We also gave her some salt. She just was so happy.
When we were talking with her, she gave us some corn cabbages as sign of hospitality. Gratefully we ate the corn. I learned a lot from her way of living. This was so real, so pure, right from her heart. She is so poor and she gives her own food away. We were just about to leave, but before we could go she let her grandchild catch a chicken for us, as thanks for our visit.
Initially we thought we could not accept the chicken, because it was too much. But we had to take it, in respect to her. It was a moment of learning for me. She gave away of what she had enough of for this day. She didn’t save it for another week. I thought of how I never do things like that. I’m always busy with the next week or the next year and rarely think of the present.

Uganda is a beautiful country. On the safari I saw a lot of animals (including lions) and the nature is breathtaking. The people are wonderfully warm and have an amazing character.  I fell in love with Uganda!
Uganda is in my heart and I will visit it again one day.
Liefs,


Joanne (or Nakato) 
(Nakato is my African name, cause twins get there standard names when they are born)

 

 

Alan Maddock, Dublin, Ireland

Hello, my name is Alan Maddock and I am from Dublin, Ireland. I was a volunteer with Children’s Sure House/ Flamart for three months.
Before I came to Uganda I experienced the same fears and doubts that I think a lot of potential volunteers face, which is natural before you go to a place so different from home. Would there be enough electricity? Would there be running water? What would the people be like when I get there? These were some of the questions, which occupied my mind at times. However, when I got to the Children’s Sure House in Bulenga, which is fifteen minutes from the bustling capital Kampala, all of those fears were allayed.

As I arrived, eight or nine smiling faces greeted me, the biggest smile of all coming from Martin, the Children’s Sure House director. When I arrived he stopped what he was doing and brought two chairs into the middle of their pretty little garden and gave one of the most sincere thank you’s I have ever received. He told me how good it made him feel that someone would give up their lives for three months to come and help the poor people of Uganda.
I don’t think I have ever felt so humbled and energised at the same time. He also said that I am now part of the family, which I have most certainly been made to feel like. Whether it be by taking meals with them or simply getting phone calls from Flavia to make sure I am ok when she or I am out in town. I have travelled alone here but I am surrounded by some of the warmest and open people I have ever met. A character trait shared by so many Ugandans that I have met on my travels.

There is so much to do here, for example teaching in Kiwangala, HIV/ Aids sensitisation, building houses for the under privileged and elderly to name just a few. The flexibility of Flamart and Children’s Sure House is that you can engage in several different projects within your stay, you are not limited to just one, no matter how long you are here. Another great feature of this NGO is that you can come at any time and stay for as long as you want. You do not have to undergo several months of training in order to do one job. Martin and the team here will show you each project, you can work on them and pick whichever one you feel you are best suited to for the rest of your stay.
In my first few days here I helped to look at ways to improve their website and to come up with ideas on how we can improve things overall, and I must admit it wasn’t an easy task. Look at my office, in the sunshine listening to music and drinking tea. It’s so much easier to work from here than my former job, stuck in an office in Dublin sharing a desk with lots of people who in reality didn’t like their jobs, watching the rain stream by the window, or even worse watch the sunshine outside on a warm summer’s day.
After my first few days in Bulenga, I went to Kiwangala to teach English and to help provide HIV/ Aids sensitisation and counselling. I stayed here for three weeks and had a great time. After that I went to Soroti to help build a school, and then I travelled to Kazinga to help develop an area in which animals and people co habit, a very different experience from what I am used to but very interesting and fulfilling.
The variety of things to do here and the flexibility with which you can do them are only really available with an NGO that is at a very grassroots level. With the Children’s Sure House I really feel that I am making a very positive contribution to the people that need it most, the poorest people of Uganda, who have suffered from war, HIV/ Aids and endemic poverty. Before I left Ireland, I knew I didn’t want to be just another volunteer in a crowded system. I wanted to be hands on and try to help the people that needed it most. Children’s Sure House will put you in the places that need your help and will empower you to do so.
As well as the volunteering, Children’s Sure House want to make sure that you have fun and see more of Uganda. Trips are arranged to Lake Mburo, Murchison and Queen Elizabeth national parks, you are brought here for free by Children’s Sure House and all you only have to pay the government park entry fees. Other activities such as white water rafting, bungee jumping and quad biking can be arranged.
The camp in Bulenga is custom made for volunteers. I have my own house (see the picture below) which has electricity and a shower. Before I left I had wondered
whether I should bring my laptop and I pod for fear of having nowhere to charge them, there are plenty of electrical sockets here. I am also very well fed and looked after as if I was a member of the family.
To those who are thinking of volunteering in Uganda, I would say come to Uganda, don’t let those fears that you might have put you off what could be one of the best experiences of your life. You will be well looked after and whether you are a voluntourist or a longer-term aid volunteer you will have an amazing experience.

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