After the latest visit by trustees of All Our Children along with groups from William Morris Sixth Form, Coombeshead Academy and Fulham Cross Girls’ School, one of the group was moved to make a bold decision. She wanted to become a trustee.
Meet Suweyda: from north-west London, just 18 years old, studying A levels and a BTEC, preparing for university, but willing to devote time and energy into a project many miles from her life in London.
She took time out from revising for her A2 English Language and Literature exam to answer a few questions.
Out of all the ways to spend your Easter holiday, why did you choose volunteering in Uganda?
Well, I’d heard from friends who’d gone last year that it would be a life-changing experience, and that I’d learn from and appreciate a culture I wasn’t familiar with. Even though getting the money to participate in a trip like this was a struggle, I asked myself, ‘If I don’t go now, will I ever find the time to get involved in the future?’ My decision was made.
What were your first impressions of school life in Kabale?
My first impression was that the schools really contrasted to the schools we have here in London. This was mainly due to the appearance of the schools, their facilities, and the different daily routines of the children who go to schools such as Kigezi High School and Pentagon. I could tell that the link William Morris Sixth Form had with Kigezi High School in particular was built on great friendship and mutual admiration. A link that was created ten years ago had transformed how the school was not only run, but improved the quality of teaching and learning too.
From what you saw, what do you feel is the biggest challenge for young girls in Uganda?
I believe the biggest challenge for many young girls in Uganda is to change the perceptions of so many patriarchal-minded people. The way that most girls are striving to gain an education, and persevere in doing so, is an inspiration to me and should be an inspiration to many others.
So, what led to you want to become a trustee?
Witnessing All Our Children transforming lives at the Educate a Child street children centre, through sponsorships and sharing expertise, showed me that they were a group of trustees who admire these children, and are genuine about what they do. That’s why I wanted to join; to be part of something bigger than myself and to take part in positive change.
Finally, what are your hopes for the future with the charity?
I hope that one day All Our Children will have sustainably sponsored more of the street children, and that the learning environments at our partner schools will have been improved further. We’ve made a good start, but there is always room for improvement.