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.
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”.
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.”