In today's market, technology is a driving force. Everywhere you go, people are connected. Not just in the Western markets, even in a developing country, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a job without even the basic computer skills. The technology field is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide and as we are educating our students through to university level there is still a educational gap between them and their urban counterparts in the way of computer skills. Through strategic partnerships with local schools, S.O.U.L. Foundation is aiming to change and bridge that gap.
“S…E…X…” I read the letters aloud as I scrawl them across the poster paper taped to the wall behind me, and the room erupts with a cacophony of laughter.
There are few tools more powerful in development work than the art of listening. However, moving one step further and channeling this tool through rigorous research offers us the unique opportunity to see inside high complex sets of issues. Through our research, we are able to capture reality in a way that no amount of informal observation allows us to do.
When we arrived in Bujagali as S.O.U.L.’s new Global Health Corps (GHC) Fellows, we were welcomed with open arms and open hearts for the important work we were about to embark upon. S.O.U.L.’s vision for a new partnership with GHC was to engage the village in in-depth discussions about the maternal health needs of the community in an effort to inform future programming through S.O.U.L.’s Maternal Health Network. We arrived with the humility to recognize that we lacked the knowledge required to properly inform such a program.
After a gruelling flight to Uganda through the night, I drowsily stepped out of the car at the end of the inbound journey with very little going on in my exhausted mind. Immediately, I was greeted by swarms of grinning children outside the S.O.U.L. Shack, who sang to welcome me – undoubtedly the most surprising wake-up I’ve ever received. Yet the incredible hospitality remained as enthusiastic and genuine until the moment I left Kyabirwa, not just from the children but from the entire community, which included the S.O.U.L. volunteers.
"I know you’re spending so many sleepless nights working so much for S.O.U.L. so on that note please allow me to say that THANK YOU so much..."
I arrived in Bujagali with Tom, another volunteer from the UK, and Nicolas, our driver. We were greeted by dozens of S.O.U.L. pre-primary students, who sang and danced for us. After meeting the S.O.U.L. staff and getting a brief tour of the S.O.U.L. Shack, we walked down the village road to meet our host families. I immediately fell in love with Sal and Mama Musa and their children. They welcomed me into their home and made me feel like part of the family.
My first visit two years ago was very hard for me and I’m not sure that many people I know would be able to manage the rawness of it all. Today, I say sincerely: "this experience is not to be missed.”
As International Women’s day approached this year, I wanted to do something for the women of Bujagali Falls. I could not let this day go by without recognizing the incredible women of this village- it’s all about the women, the women are the backbone of society and they are what makes the village run.
You all know life is not a smooth terrain but rather filled with ups and downs that every human being is entitled to pass through no matter who you are and where you are from. But my caution is “Never Let the Negativities Faze on you.”