Category Archives: Activities

Loughborough University students return

It has now become an annual activity that CALM Africa hosts students from Loughborough University on a field placement program. Earlier this year, in May, students again joined the team in Nangabo to volunteer as part of Loughborough Students Union Action during their Easter holiday.

The visiting students work on one of the ongoing projects, however they are also interested in other projects like teaching and making family assessments for foster care support. They also engage in sports and games, like playing football and netball with the pupils of JMLC. They offer their energies and participate in our programs; that vote of confidence is to say “yes I am ready to make sacrifices for the cause”. This support encourages CALM Africa’s cause of promoting rights of children and enhancing child protection mechanisms.

LSU-Holly takes a dodge

Last year’s team helped to start the Teachers’ House project. “They helped in the digging and construction of the foundation phase. This particular four have come at a phase when we have finished the roofing. They have been actively taking part in plastering and painting of the walls”, explained CALM Africa’s team leader.

As CALM Africa bid the visiting team farewell, Benedict Anguyo, the operations manager CALM Africa updated the team on the impact of their work. “The work you have done is not simple work. Those four teachers quarters’ rooms that you painted are ready to be occupied by the end of this week and the water stand is ready to have the tank put on. I therefore thank you for actively getting involved in the activities of CALM Africa”.

LSU-Netball time

Benedict added that it is not easy to understand the Ugandan situation, “but for you to come here and spend all this time with us, we are very grateful”.

“And you thus go back as our ambassadors, to tell the story and the progress we have made,” added Benedict.

Israel Ssekanjako, CALM Africa’s Senior Field Officer extended his appreciation to the team for the time they have spent, the support they have rendered to CALM Africa on its projects, the children of JMLC and community members through the community outreach programs.

“You have witnessed what we do; child protection issues, fostering and other humanitarian child rights’ issues,” added the field officer who accompanied them on their field trips.

Programme manager of CALM Africa, Joseph Luganda, recognised the act of sharing the group had exhibited. “You have been sharing with the children and the communities. When you share with them there are degrees of comparison between UK and Uganda, when they do that that promotes the existence of CALM Africa. He extended thanks to the University for continuously supporting the visiting program.

The team leader of CALM Africa, James Kimera Ssekiwanuka was equally full of praise for the team. “We are very aware that deciding to come and work is a sacrifice, because you spend your time, forego your personnel convenience and collect money for travel.

Therefore coming to a place you have never been to work with people you have never seen is never easy. You didn’t only come but also decided to offer your support: financially and physically. These will us to push to another level.”

“We are challenged by your heart of believing in us and continuously teaching us and our communities what giving means. That is quite touching”

James urged the team that in this globalization era, “Your coming makes you part and parcel of CALM Africa’s history. And you are now leaving a legacy which will continue to cement the relationship we have with your university. Let us keep in touch and grow our network”.

As a token of appreciation, the team leader gave a cup, wooden cup and personalized card, as a sign of cherished friendship.

What the volunteers thought:

Sally: “We didn’t really know what to expect when we set off for this trip. It has turned out to be more than we expected. We felt so welcome and party of the team right away, that made us comfortable, at ease and we have enjoyed every part of it. We hopefully look forward to coming back at some latter time.

Hannah: “We are grateful for giving us this chance, and welcoming us into your family.”

Holly: “The reason I came is I wasn’t sure of where to go, and George recommended CALM Africa for me. I was quite nervous and excited about coming to Africa for the first time. I didn’t expect how welcoming everyone would be. A week before coming Katie was telling me about this place and she almost wept into tears, that’s when knew that I will have a real good time here, which I really have.”

Craig: “I have done a volunteer trip before, but this is probably my most amazing experience I have had. I hadn’t realised the impact we have made. But while saying goodbye to the kids on Friday, it was emotional, kids who want you to stay. These amazing kids and wonderful organization makes me want to come back next year.”

Putting the fun in fundraising…

This month we’ve got 2 volunteers running some fantastic activities to raise money for CALM Africa outreach work through CFU. Later in June, there will be two events full of fun for the family and fundraising for families in Uganda who need a helping hand.

On Saturday 21st June, volunteer Sherry will be hosting the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Bournemouth. Friends and families will be joining together for a fun-filled day of food, drinks and music with brilliant raffle prizes to be won. Sherry is running this activity to raise money for a healthcare fund at CALM Africa. The money raised will be used to fund medical care and first aid supplies needed during outreach work, where children and families living in poor conditions would otherwise struggle to receive care.

The following week, on Friday 27th June, supporter of CFU Dan Hope is hosting the Lawyers vs Cafcass cricket match at Cookridge Cricket Club in Leeds. There will be a BBQ at the event, making it a fun evening for families in the area. Dan is leading a programme at CALM Africa, along with SFAC charity, to provide support to child-headed households. This event will be raising money to help the programme deliver health & social care to children living in poverty without any parents or adults to take care of them. A huge thank you from us to the lawyers and Cafcass for taking part in this event to support the work in Uganda. If you’re in the Leeds area on that day, feel free to pop along!

For more information about either of the events or the work they are fundraising for, please contact fundraising@childrenfirstuganda.co.uk.

Our AGM is being held after these events on Saturday 28th June and we look forward to discussing what other future opportunities there will be over the coming year for CFU to help CALM Africa’s work!

Loughborough University takes Action in Uganda

Loughborough University’s Action volunteering programme gets their students involved in community activities in the UK and abroad. Last year, Loughborough Action gave students the opportunity to go to work in Uganda with CALM Africa for the first time. Last week, the second group of students returned from a 16 day placement with CALM Africa and we caught up with their project leader, Josh Turner, to see how it all went…

Why did you decide to join the Action trip to Uganda?

I was already involved with Action as a hall-rep and I wanted to further my experience within the section. I spoke to a couple of people who had been on trips like this before and they highly recommended them. I then looked at the different overseas trips available and decided to run for a project leader position. I was kindly offered the Uganda position, so I looked into the charity (CALM Africa), saw the great work they do out there and spoke to the previous project leader Steph, who was very helpful and that confirmed my decision to go.

How much did you fundraise for the trip and how did you raise the money?

For this trip I roughly raised £500. This was raised via a collection of methods. Firstly via social media: creating my online giving page, then using Facebook and other social media websites to get as wide a reach as possible. I sent the link to family and friends to act as further means of spreading the online page. I then started collecting offline donations by bucket collecting around my student hall which consists of 310 people and I also hosted a pub quiz for the hall.

What were your first impressions when you got there?

When we got there it was the early hours of the morning. We were kindly picked up and taken to the volunteer house. When we first arrived I was very impressed with the house and provided facilities. We were then greeted throughout the day by the CALM staff members who made us feel at home.

What did you do with the money you fundraised?

The money fundraised helped with the facilities at CALM Africa and went towards resources for the construction project we worked on and community outreach, which allowed us to complete the volunteer work in these areas when we were out there.

What were the top highlights of the trip?

The top highlights of the trip would be the outreach trips, where we got to visit some incredible families and help local villages. Also, seeing the construction work develop from the start to when we left and being allowed to teach at the Jolly Mercy Learning Centre where the kids and staff are amazing. Getting to visit the capital city – Kampala – experiencing a great place and also getting to visit the Baha’i temple in Kampala, which was a great experience and a real privilege.

What did you find most challenging while there?

I think the heat was the most challenging part of the trip. The construction work in the mornings required a lot of endurance in the heat, therefore a massive amount of respect is deserved to the other construction workers who powered through all day. The heat just in general was something I was not used to, it was much hotter and humid than summer days in England bearing in mind it was the rainy season as well.

Did anyone in particular have a big impact on your trip?

There are simply too many people to thank for making this trip so amazing, there isn’t enough words to describe how grateful I am to each and every one of the CALM Africa staff.

How do you think your trip has had an impact on you?

This trip has made me a lot more organised and independent as an individual on the project leader half of it. On the other half, this trip has made me realise how lucky I am as a young person and how grateful I should be for what I have. It has also shown me what a great country Uganda is and how welcoming, polite and respectful the people are; wherever we went we were welcomed whole-heartedly and this makes visitors feel at home and enjoy their time whilst out there which is priceless.

Would you like to go back/recommend it to someone else?

I would love to go back, not only to see the children of Jolly Mercy and the wonderful CALM team but to further help with their cause and aid with their great work. I would fully recommend this trip to anyone else and I plan on promoting this trip and the work of CALM hugely around Loughborough University, as this is a fairly new trip with the University, but hopefully as time grows the number of volunteers and the amount of work the volunteers at the University can do will increase year after year.

Any other thoughts/comments about your experience?

Just again a massive thank you to the CALM Africa team including Natalie and Tony who have been a massive help to me organising the trip. This has been an unforgettable experience which I will cherish for the rest of my life and it wouldn’t have been the same without any of the CALM team.