Over the years, the projects/organizations within the Trust, for example, Mukisa Foundation and Dawn have had many volunteers. We have had both local and international students and volunteers from different parts of the world, including Germany, UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and India. Within the Trust, we now have a variety of other voluntary work options from different organizations within the network forum.
We are the organization of choice for anyone who wants to work with children with special needs. We accept both qualified professionals (those with experience) and young people looking for experience, all we ask is that the volunteer loves our kids, is hard working and committed to helping us achieve our goals for children with special needs in Uganda.
My name is Sarah Sammons and I am 24 years old. Back in April 2008 I met Florence Namaganda, director of Mukisa Foundation, when I spent 6 weeks in Uganda working at Mukisa with children with special needs. I was an Occupational Therapy student from the University of Liverpool, UK, about to graduate and launch out into the real world. Little did I know that Uganda and these precious children would steal my heart and 4 years later, after two more visits to Mukisa and also Dawn Children’s Centre, I would be a permanent fixture on the Ugandan horizon, as a team member of the Special Children’s Trust. The decision to step out of my comfort zone and embrace the opportunities laid out before me was the best decision I ever made.
I first came to Uganda in April 2008 and I can remember it clearly like it was yesterday. Wondering to myself ‘why am I doing this again.’ I was doing it because that is where God was leading me but it seemed crazy at the time. Then the plane landed and I have never looked back. I fell in love with Uganda almost instantly and still can’t seem to explain why. I worked at Mukisa Foundation for 6 weeks, getting to know the children and their mothers, doing Occupational Therapy sessions with the children, playing and interacting with them. They taught me what it is to be happy and to keep smiling, even when it feels like the world is caving in on top of you. ‘Mukisa’ means blessing in the local language and that is exactly what Mukisa is, a blessing, to every family that passes through its doors. My time at Mukisa developed my character and caused me to grow in ways I never could have imagined. During this time I also got involved with the youth work in a local church and made some great friends, which allowed me to really experience Uganda and its culture. I am still very close friends with some of those young people today.
In June 2009 I came back to visit Florence and Mukisa and it felt like coming home to the family I had left behind, but unfortunately I was only able to stay for 4 weeks. The year that followed seemed like the longest year ever.
When I returned to Uganda in June 2010 I visited Dawn Children’s Centre, also established by Florence Namaganda, and fell in love all over again with the children and the work Florence is doing. The smiles on the children’s faces showed exactly why this work is so important, and that is when I knew that Uganda was my future.
God says that we should be obedient to His call and trust Him because He has great plans for our lives, so in August 2011 I took the biggest step of faith my life has required so far and I moved my whole life to Uganda, to work alongside Florence in the Special Children’s Trust. I could tell you that I want to make a difference, to help make a change in the lives of these precious children and yes that would be true, but the ultimate truth is that these children are the ones who have changed my life.
Uganda is a beautiful country with an amazing culture and extremely friendly people. By coming to volunteer with us, you may not end up living in Uganda like I did, but I can guarantee you will have a life experience not worth missing.