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Organization Review

Organization: 
Overall Experience: 
5
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I worked on a number of different projects in three months with ABA Foundation, one of which was with young people in two schools, giving lessons on issues important to their futures and their community. We tried to steer away from the curriculum because they can get taught that. But we were teaching them things like future planning, and how to practically problem solve. We did health and hygiene, we did discrimination, and the environment. I never thought I could see myself as a teacher. Our team also worked at a youth club to encourage the young people to tackle problems themselves, and extended that approach to the community they were working in. I had challenges, with noisy students outside the classroom at one of the schools sometimes making it hard to engage with the attentive class inside. But there were high points too. One time we were doing a problem solving session. We were taking the sheets back, and a child came up to me and said ‘thank you so much, this has really helped me to understand how to overcome my problems.’ That was like a really high moment for me. I’ll never forget that. Our team found that the best approach to development wasn’t always the most direct. You can’t go into a village and say you’re doing this wrong, this is how you should do it. You can only just try to set an example, and see if people follow. Now I am a firm believer of the impact that young people can have volunteering overseas, I also have an understanding that there’s no quick fix. Lasting change can take time. It brings a spark into the village. So much happens, and things evolve around you. Things fall into place, everyone tries to help, it’s really good. But it’s too soon to see a big change right now. Maybe like six months, maybe a year into the programme you’ll start to see a change. Now full of new found confidence, back in Canada but already have plans to volunteer overseas again in the near future. I also wants to go to local youth club and tell them about Volunteering abroad maybe with ABA Foundation. If someone had told me a year ago that I would live in Uganda for three months and return to become a teaching assistant for people with special needs, I wouldn’t have believed them. I was 23, living in supported housing. All my friends were going to university, but I felt like I was lost. I already had anxiety and depression and the worry of life was making things really hard to deal with. I wanted to break that cycle. I looked at volunteer projects abroad but when I found ABA Foundation it felt like the right one because it didn’t cost anything, making it more accessible for people like me. I had signed off work and was struggling to get by as it was. I suggested it to my key worker and she was really supportive. I was still really nervous but I really pushed myself to apply. I didn’t think I would get through. Then I did get through, and then to the assessment day and all of sudden it was really happening. I was going to go abroad for the first time! I could see myself doing it. I needed to get out of my comfort zone and have a life-changing experience. I was still anxious right up until I got on the plane but I’m so glad I did it. The fundraising aspect actually kept me positive. It gave me a goal to work towards. I raised over £800 thanks to the generosity of people around me. I did the Live Below the Line challenge. I wrote an article for my local newspaper which got attention from a kind and generous Church member who paid the rest of what I couldn’t raise - but I was so focused he actually didn’t need to support me that much. It was a huge boost to my confidence. When we actually got to ABA Foundation in Uganda, I felt a mix of emotions. However, it was really exciting and I loved the group I was with. We became really good friends. I knew that I was going to make the most of the experience. We were the first cycle of ABA Foundation to tackle this education project in the Western province, which involved going to meet different schools, teachers and students and conduct baseline research into four key areas around life skills and careers. Some of it was tedious and some of it was great - what was brilliant was that we were all learning together. As a group, we were responsible for the beginning of something. My favourite moment was going to a village that had never had foreign people visit before. We were conducting a community action day around water, sanitation, health and environmental issues. I didn’t expect many people to turn up, but the whole village crammed into a room to see the play I had written about litter.

Comments

Robert Steinbrenner

I looked at volunteer projects abroad but when I found ABA Foundation it felt like the right one because it didn’t cost anything, making it more accessible for people like me. I had signed off work and was struggling to get by as it was. I suggested it to my key worker and she was really supportive. I was still really nervous but I really pushed myself to apply. I didn’t think I would get through. Then I did get through, and then to the assessment day and all of sudden it was really happening. I was going to go abroad for the first time! I could see myself doing it. I needed to get out of my comfort zone and have a life-changing experience. I was still anxious right up until I got on the plane but I’m so glad I did it. The fundraising aspect actually kept me positive. It gave me a goal to work towards. I raised over £800 thanks to the generosity of people around me. I did the Live Below the Line challenge. I wrote an article for my local newspaper which got attention from a kind and generous Church member who paid the rest of what I couldn’t raise - but I was so focused he actually didn’t need to support me that much. It was a huge boost to my confidence. When we actually got to ABA Foundation in Uganda, I felt a mix of emotions. However, it was really exciting and I loved the group I was with. We became really good friends. I knew that I was going to make the most of the experience. We were the first cycle of ABA Foundation to tackle this education project in the Western province, which involved going to meet different schools, teachers and students and conduct baseline research into four key areas around life skills and careers. Some of it was tedious and some of it was great - what was brilliant was that we were all learning together. As a group, we were responsible for the beginning of something. My favourite moment was going to a village that had never had foreign people visit before. We were conducting a community action day around water, sanitation, health and environmental issues. I didn’t expect many people to turn up, but the whole village crammed into a room to see the play I had written about litter.