Students volunteer at a nursery in Uganda

Earlier this year, a group of Geography students volunteered at Esiteri Nursery in Bugema, three miles south of Mbale in eastern Uganda. The nursery, which has just over 200 pupils, was established in 1995 to help and support vulnerable children. The school has educated around 5000 pupils who have gone on to local primary schools, and many have continued on to university. 

Jenny Crooks, who is studying the MGeog Geography degree at USW, said: "After visiting Uganda in the third year, there was no doubt that experiencing it again would be another unforgettable experience. Uganda provides an opportunity to experience a completely different way of life, and the trip was made possible through the Pont Charity, with whom the University works.

"Incorporating the trip into our Active Citizenship module meant we were able to volunteer with the nursery while we were there. We helped by planting trees and watering the playground ready for new grass to be planted. We had also done some fundraising and so were able to donate books and some money to help with the building of a new school building.

"It was very hot! This year has been challenging for Uganda's climate. Many areas of Uganda have not had rain since October, with some region's last rainfall being late August. Water is already a limited resource and so learning about how they cope with this was really interesting.

"One of the best moments of the trip was when we visited our first community. We were the first group of 'Mzungus' (white people) to visit their village and our welcome was full of singing and dancing and cheering. They were so friendly and shared lots of information with us about their lifestyles, homes and village.

"The trip provided us with so many skills such as data collection out in the field and working with translators. It also provided an opportunity to experience things we had been learning about in lectures and apply them to the real world."