Volunteering abroad is a popular way to travel these days. In fact, there are many reasons why volunteering in a foreign country is beneficial:
- It broadens your view of the world;
- It’s fun and adventure-filled;
- You meet like minded people from around the world;
- It teaches you about trust and submission;
- You learn new ways of doing things;
- You get to know a new culture and language; and
- Global experience is great for the resume!
In addition, volunteering abroad is a great alternative to mass tourism. It is meant to benefit the host country rather than simply serve the traveller.
But let’s not focus on how volunteering abroad benefits volunteers. Rather, I want to talk about just how important international volunteers can be for community-based programs all over the world.
Basically, here’s why you should volunteer in Uganda. Okay, specifically, with The Real Uganda.
Here, you get the real deal. No sugar coating. No hand holding. Our volunteers work with real locally-led community-based organizations that work to improve the lives of real people. Every day.
Volunteers join in and really get to understand what is happening out here. They become an integral part of a unique team. Sometimes it’s tough. At other times it’s endearing. But it never fails to be eye-opening and character-building for everyone involved.
Here’s a great example of how volunteering with The Real Uganda unfolds over the long term:
Meet the ladies of Hopeline Women’s Group.
A number of our volunteers have worked with them.
These ladies’ lives are hard. They live in a rural environment. They don’t have much formal education. There are not many opportunities for paid work. Their husbands are not necessarily doing their best to provide for their families. Some have been abandoned. Some are widows. All are mothers. They’ve come together to share their stories and to ease each other’s problems.
They are so joyful.
What do volunteers do to help out?
They work alongside the women in their gardens, they help them with basic English language skills, they brainstorm solutions to the myriad public health issues faced in Uganda. In return, the ladies show our volunteers how to appreciate community, exercise patience, make local handicrafts, and cook traditional Ugandan food.
Pretty fair trade, eh?
Cultural exchange is like that.
The Real Uganda and its volunteers have also contributed funds to give Ugandan women a chance at financial independence and freedom. Chicken coops have been built, a well renovated, pigs and rabbits bought, ruby cups given out, a training on making reusable menstrual pads was held. The women are proud owners of a couple sewing machines. There’s now even a revolving interest free micro-loan scheme in place.
You know why these projects were chosen? Because the ladies asked for them. Because they know how to handle them. Because they just need a little leg-up in order to improve their lives – on their terms.
Supporting locally led initiatives = maximum impact and empowerment. No dependency.
Have you volunteered abroad? What was your volunteering experience and how did you judge its impact?
If you haven’t been, consider volunteering in Uganda with The Real Uganda. Here’s what’s going on over the coming months!
We are always looking for volunteers who value cultural exchange and locally-led community transformation.