Blog

Burim Uganda Blog: Our Amazing Ugandan Youth Volunteers!

May 08, 2014

Burim With Our Ugandan Youth Volunteers, 2011

Now that the school break has started, I have more time to spend with our Uganda Volunteers. Before the break I was meeting with the volunteers daily for group and individual training, and I thought I knew them well.

Burim with Youth Volunteers Collins (L) and Innocent (R ) at Pabo, 2014

Now that I have more time to spend with them, and meeting more often with them for their Individual training, we have been able to accomplish so much more. It’s amazing to see how much they have improved in their teaching skills and music skills–but what’s most important is how much they have come to love their community and how hard they work to help bring a better future for them.

Youth Volunteer Isaac Teaching at Gulu Central Primary School, 2012

 

I believe in the power of our Music program and I have always believed. But they have made me even stronger. Seeing them change and seeing them wanting to change others has made me stronger than ever, and made me believe in what we do even more. I thought they were the ones benefiting from me, but I’ve realized I am benefiting from them too–their desire to help, their hope for a better future for the kids we teach, and the love they show the children and youth that we teach– it’s an amazing thing. I asked in a group what is the most important thing when we teach the kids, and they answered that we have to show love when we teach, and we have to respect our students and make them feel loved during the lessons.

Youth Volunteer Collins Teaching at Pabo Primary School, 2014

I can see their self esteem is higher than ever before, even though they have gone through a lot. We’ve had opportunities to talk about our private lives more than usual lately, and I can relate to their stories because of what I experienced in Kosovo, but it’s amazing to see their courage and strength to go on with their lives. Many of our volunteers lost parents and loved ones both in the war and after the war, and many of them have no money to go to school. Some of them have even been kicked out of their school and home by their own parents or guardians, and sometimes all they have is their Musical instruments and their songs to give them that comfort of peace. I’m so glad that I am here now and they can come and talk to me about it.

Youth Volunteer Magada Teaching at Pabo High School, 2011

One of the volunteers called me and asked if he could borrow a guitar to play for a day. He wanted to lock himself inside and just play music for some hours because he was going through a very hard time that day and did not want to do anything stupid or turn to alcohol and drugs like many do, But he wanted to play music and he believed that it was going to help him.

Collins Teaching Street Children at Pabo, 2011

It’s amazing to see these teenagers grow up over the years and how great they are becoming. They definitely are leaders and I don’t know anyone who loves their own community and feels their pain more than our volunteers do. I love them so much and I love working with them and seeing them grow. I appreciate and thank so much all who helped to keep this program going.

Youth Volunteer Innocent at Pabo

Note from Liz: if anyone reading this would like to help our volunteers with money for school, please contact me directly at liz@shropshirefoundation.org. Thanks.