To celebrate Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), Helene (European Solidarity Corps volunteer at WCIA/UNA Exchange for the year 2019/2020) selected seven inspiring volunteer stories.
In October 2017, UNA Exchange volunteer, Toby, travelled to East Africa where he taught for several weeks at the Bright Academy, a secondary school located in the village of Nakaswa in Central Uganda.
The Bright Academy is a project started by the Uganda Voluntary Development Association to provide secondary education and skills development for the community of Nakaswa and neighbouring districts. Established in 1995, the school was built through international work camps in collaboration with the local community. Today international volunteers, like Toby, continue to share their skills and experience inside and outside of the classroom, whilst themselves learning about the culture of East Africa.
“I would like to give back to people less fortunate than myself, and learn about the culture and way of life in Africa in person rather than just on seeing it on TV.”
Toby contributed to the communal life of the school by teaching a range of subjects, including Maths, English, Geography, Economics and Business, across four year-groups up to age 16.
“Teaching in the school was so rewarding and the kids’ enthusiasm and desire to learn is inspiring.”
There was also lots of time for exchanging cultures and enjoying sports: foremost, playing rugby and taking part in football matches with the local villages. Toby was hosted by a local family, which provided additional insight into community life in rural Uganda.
“Uganda was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, everyone at the school was very welcoming which made the transition easy. Adapting to the new way of life was slightly challenging but after a few days I was used to it.”
“It was a life changing experience, I’ll never forget it. I didn’t realise how much I took for granted such as running water, a loo, a shower, washing machine etc. Would recommend it to anyone to do at least once in their life, especially in Uganda the people were all so friendly!”