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Service/Learning Opportunity for UU Seminarians: New Life Orphanage and School in Kitofaali, Uganda

Background

The last decade has seen a surge in the number of orphans and as many as one third of the under 18 population may be orphaned by the year 2010, according to UNICEF estimates. The children affected by HIV/AIDS therefore, are emotionally vulnerable, financially desperate, face a greater risk of being abused, and are exposed to stigmatization and neglect. On the death of their parents many of them had no choice but to assume greater responsibilities of looking after each other. They are often forced into dangerous situations such as prostitution, drugs and living on the streets—this exposes them to even more risks, including the HIV virus, thus driving them into a cycle of infection and misery. They lose everything that once offered them comfort, security and hope for the future.

This is why volunteers are desperately needed to help the Orphans of Kitofaali, Uganda.

New Life School (NLS) is a primary school located in rural Uganda near the village of Kitofaali. With no public schools in the area, NLS serves approximately 500+ students with two kindergarten classes and one class per primary grades one through seven. Every parent receives an invoice for tuition, but only about one-third of the parents are able to pay. Regardless, all children in the region are welcomed, fed and taught year-round. NLS does not receive any government funding. Its main mission is to “uplift the standards of education among children and youths and the well being of each individual in the community.”

New Life Orphanage and School were founded in 2004 by Rev. Mark Kiyimba a Unitarian Universalist minister and Director of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Uganda. Both are located near the Ugandan village where he was raised. Reverend Kiyimba serves a congregation in Kampala and a fellowship in Masaka.

Opportunity

Unitarian Universalist (UU) seminarians are invited to apply for a 2-4 week (or longer) placement as a volunteer assistant at the New Life Orphanage and New Life School.

The purposes of this Service/Learning Opportunity are:

  1. Service: To assist the Orphanage and School staff in providing care and nurturance to the children.
  2. Learning: To provide an opportunity for UU seminarians to grow in their international and multicultural understanding, including their understanding of Unitarian Universalism in Uganda.
  3. To further establish and demonstrate the commitment of mutual support and right relationship between the Ugandan UU’s and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).

Placements can occur during any part of the year. The optimal circumstance is for two seminarians to be volunteering at the same time during a placement session.

Some financial assistance will be provided to assist in the cost of travel expenses as well as room and board. All other expenses will be the responsibility of the Seminarian volunteers. In general, flights to Kampala are available from the US for $1200, and the total estimated expenses for room and board are $500/month

Expectations of Volunteers

Seminarian volunteers will be under the direction of Rev. Kiyimba and the staff of the Orphanage and School Administration. Typical responsibilities will include:

  • At the School:
    • Teaching English and Mathematics.
    • Teaching other related or desired courses, eg Physical Education and Sports
    • Teaching Religious Education\
    • Teaching Computer Lessons , eg Word perfect, Windows and Computer typing skills.
  • At the Orphanage:
    • Care and Love to the Orphaned Children
    • Taking them to the hospital and administering the Medication to the Children
    • Helping the Children with Home work after classes

Volunteers will work 4 days per week (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and Friday) for a maximum of 6 hours per day. The remainder of your time is unscheduled.

Seminarian volunteers will be in the position of representing Unitarian Universalism while they are in Uganda, and must be prepared to fulfill this responsibility effectively. They must be able to demonstrate their understanding and willingness to be a “servant-learner” and have versatility in cross-cultural engagement.

Within one month of returning from their visit, scholarship recipients must submit a report about their experience suitable for publication to the UUA’s Director of International Resources and their academic advisor.

Provisions for Volunteers

Seminarian volunteers will be provided with the following:

  • 3 meals a day.
  • Accommodation.
  • Airport pick ups.
  • In-country orientation upon arrival,
  • 24 hour x 7 days a week staff support.
  • General support of the program and
  • 1 day guided tour to the Kampala city.
  • One night stay in Kampala.
  • Project support.

Accommodation

There are two types of accommodation—home stay or volunteer house. Where you will stay will depend on what is available in the period in which you arrive, but it is usually within walking distance to the school where you'll be working or the orphanage Home. A caretaker will be present in most of the lodgings and is responsible for preparing your meals as well as cleaning the facilities.

  • Laundry—All your laundry needs will be taken care of by the caretaker attached to your accommodation. This person will be responsible for washing and ironing all your clothes.
  • Running Water—There is no running water in the area, it is collected from a well.
  • Electricity—The area does have electricity, so feel free to bring your laptop and other electric devices with you.

Food

During your stay in Uganda you will be provided with 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Dishes are comprised of matooke, cassava, sweet potatoes, fish or beef paired with tropical fruits such as pineapples, mangos and sweet banana.

Application Procedure

  1. Complete an application form (PDF) and submit it at least 4 months before you would like to being the Service/Learning experience to the Unitarian Universalist Association, International Resources Office, 25 Beacon St., Boston, MA 02108.
  2. The application must include an essay explaining your interest in this Service/Learning opportunity, your preparedness for the opportunity, relevant experience, and how you expect this experience to inform your training for ministry.
  3. All candidates must include a letter of recommendation from an academic advisor and a minister in Final Fellowship with the UUA.
  4. All application requests MUST be complete. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application Review

Applications will be reviewed and approved by the UUA’s Director of International Resources in consultation with Orphanage and School leaders. Award notification will be sent to applicants within 3 weeks of their arrival at the UUA.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, December 1, 2011.

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