This month has been another reminder of why I feel in love with Uganda. Here are some photos from my half term break.
I have always had a love for travelling, along with the desire to in some way help those less fortunate than myself. From the age of 18 I took part in various volunteer teams and trips abroad. Although I always had a wonderful time on this trips I always returned home with a feeling that I hadn’t made much of a difference. Asking myself questions like- ‘What difference will painting a few walls really make?’ I don’t mean in anyway to diss volunteer programmes, however, I do have the opinion that they have often (not always) more impact on the volunteer than those who they set out to help. And this, if it changes peoples attitudes to the developing world isn’t a bad thing. This is an interesting read on the topic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22294205
During my time spent travelling Africa over the years, I often felt a sense of guilt. I was surrounded by poverty yet living the dream backpacking along the coast of zanzibar, white water rafting in Uganda, safaring in Kenya. It was in 2009 whilst travelling with the lovely Ashleigh and Amy that we realised that travelling and development could go hand in hand. We began to come across various types of community development businesses, mainly hostels aimed at independent travellers. These all had a similar ethos- providing cheap and comfortable accommodation for backpackers while at the same time creating employment for the local community. Often these were non-profitable with money going back into the local community to aid various micro finance projects, schools, orphanages, child sponsorships etc.
There are tons of these type of places across East Africa. If you can travel, and put your money in the right places, i.e. grassroots organisations, you will be helping people at the same time. Often (in my opinion) a lot more that paying thousands of pounds to a UK based charity.
So, in 2009 we had the dream of getting involved in some kind of community development hostel/guesthouse/volunteer centre. That dream is now in the very early stages of becoming a reality. I will update with more information when plans are confirmed but until then if this is something you would be interested in supporting in any way please get in touch.
And finally….Come and visit Uganda!