East African Discovery has it's roots in conservation and community development, with myself first coming to Uganda as a conservation volunteer and my business partner, Richard, being heavily involved in various education, welfare and health projects in the community he grew up in just outside of Bwindi forest (home to around half the population of the worlds mountain gorillas). So, it is a natural next step for us to move into some kind of project that benefits the communities around which we send our clients.
Since the beginning, we have been supporting Kishegyeri Community Primary which provides an education to children from extremely poor backgrounds, many of whom are orphans due largely to HIV. Before the school was founded in 2013, many of these children would be forced to go and work in tea plantations to help support their families/foster families. By going to school they have a chance of a better future not possible before.
We feel supporting a child's education is the best way to help a community develop and thrive (I'm going to go into more depth about why we think this in a future blog post, so look out for that!).
As you can see from the photos, the facilities of the school are extremely basic, so saying that the education provided to these children isn't great would be an understatement. We want to change this.
So what are we going to do about it?
Well, we have had an idea that we hope will generate a good and, more importantly, sustainable income for the school.
We hope to send people on a half volunteer, half safari experience. Clients would spend some time volunteering at the school and also go on a safari, experience the local culture, see the amazing mountain gorillas and much more that Uganda offers. The volunteer experience would largely include teaching the students English and potentially some building/maintenance work on the school.
Included in the price paid by the clients would be a donation paid directly to the school for improving facilities, teaching standards and also go towards medical insurance for the children.
We hope this project will give these children the opportunity to better their lives and escape the cycle of poverty. What a wonderful thing that would be.
The nature of this trip would mean that it is only feasible for large groups. So we are directly targeting private western schools to send their students for the trip of a lifetime. However, if enough interest is generated we may be able to offer this to other groups and individuals.
If you think this is a good idea, help us spread the word. The power of simply telling your friends about it is huge and could make a real difference to these children's lives. Also, let us know what you think in the comments section below! We'd be happy to answer any of your questions there or via email.
Stay tuned for more detailed information on the school and how the donations would be spent.
Thanks for reading!