Volunteering in Uganda - Maeve Bourke recounts her inspirational experience

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This summer will live long in my memory and forever hold a special place in my heart as I completed a three week programme with the organisation Nurture Africa.

Nurture Africa is an Irish founded internationally registered non-governmental organisation that works in Uganda with a targeted focus upon Healthcare, Education, Child Protection & Gender Equality and Economic Empowerment through business training and micro-finance projects.

My main daily duty and reasoning for volunteering was to attend Nansana Primary School where I was teaching 73 enthusiastic and energetic students.

Despite the daily challenges they faced, their relentless nature and sense of joy and optimism they displayed is most admirable.

It was very interesting to see just how different schooling and education is and it was most rewarding to see how appreciated our efforts were.

We taught mainly English, Maths, PE and Music. The students were born movers and the songs they sang spoke of hope for their own futures and the future of Uganda, of gratitude for all they possessed and of thanks to God and humanity for all that they had received.

It was hard not to be moved and inspired by the sight of over six hundred children singing as one, with such conviction and pride. It is difficult for me to describe the extreme poverty and living conditions that I witnessed.

We were given the opportunity to carry out home visits, whereby we were welcomed by a local family that have received help and support from the organisation.

The stories the families had to share were inspiring and it highlighted just how life changing the support, finance and medical treatment that Nurture Africa provided was.

It was also very heartening to see how the charity has helped people set up small yet sustainable businesses which allow parents to put their children through school.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your generosity and support in my fundraising prior to departure. I was overcome by the generosity of those who attended my charity open garden event, those of you who supported in the numerous raffles I held in local businesses, to those of you who left donations for me to collect in Bourke’s filling station in Templemore and all other donations I received.

All of you have made a valuable contribution in ensuring the families working with the organisation have access to quality healthcare (Primary healthcare and specialist HIV treatment and care), education and sustainable livelihoods projects.