At the end of Summer 2014 I went to Uganda for the most incredible month of my life. After almost a year spent fundraising I raised £868.86 and went out to Uganda to build a playground for a school. I was given this incredible opportunity by the charity, East African Playgrounds. East African Playgrounds is a charity that believes that alongside education, children need access to play activities to reach their full potential. Overall, East African Playgrounds (EAP) building upwards of 13 playgrounds a year, 9 of which are charity funded by students, like myself, who go out to help build the playgrounds throughout Summer.
All the members of EAP, consisting of local Ugandans, Volunteers and full time workers who move between UK and Uganda always make you feel like part of a closely knit community and comfortable. Even with the fundraising there were many people who were around to help you with ideas and give you support with anything you need help with.
We would spend the first half of each weekday building the playground and then three afternoons a week doing art activities and games with children from the school in which we stayed. This was obviously hard work but the people that you are surrounded by including other volunteers and the professional EAP workers make it an exciting and unforgettable experience. When we weren’t working or doing arts and play with the children we had our own time to relax, which varied from relaxing at the local bar or doing activities like white water rafting and a weekend safari.
The specific school I was in was one of the few African schools that has facilities specific for disabled children; this for me made the experience all the more important because it meant we could tailor parts of
our playground specific to the needs of the children so it can be enjoyed by all of them. We were able to put in a disabled swing and a sensory wall (See below), both things that you will struggle to come across in Africa unless EAP have put them there.
At the end of the amazing month it was very tough to say goodbye to everybody who was involved in the project from the builders, to the leaders and the other volunteers. It is definitely a charity I want to continue to be involved in and it is something I would recommend to anybody who wants to travel, meet incredible people and do something amazing for a less fortunate community whilst doing it.
Written by Jordan Keighley, Mathematics Undergraduate
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