An orphan at the Kibaha complex
In December last year I came across a poster advertising a volunteering trip, organised by the Health Improvement Board (HIB), part of COEJ, to take place in summer 2009. The idea appealed to me – I had never been to East Africa, but I was aware, or so I thought, of the situation. I knew that poverty was widespread and that education and healthcare, those things we in the UK see as a right, not a privilege, were available readily to the rich but rarely to the poor. I wanted to visit a part of the world that was new to me, and so much the better if I were able to make a difference to someone else’s life.
In March this year a seminar was scheduled by the HIB team in order to introduce the volunteers to each other and provide general information about the trip. We were given some background about the work we could expect to do (primarily teaching at the Kibaha schools) and the organisations that we were likely to visit. In addition, the topic of fundraising was broached – whilst the focus of the trip was to volunteer, it was suggested by the HIB coordinator that fundraising would benefit the organisations in the longer term. What followed was a lot of hard work on the part of volunteers and, with it, generous donations of clothing, toys and money. As a result of this generosity we were able to donate to each institution we worked at or visited.