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  • Northside East

Northside teens visit Uganda  

Sunday, 24th March, 2019 7:00pm
Northside  teens visit  Uganda  

Students from Sutton Park Secondary School Kiva Murray, Ellen O’Dea, Karen Komatsu and Lucy Colwell and teacher Peter Weldon, presenting the Irish flag to staff at Odingoi Primary School in Soroti, Uganda.

Northside  teens visit  Uganda  

Students from Sutton Park Secondary School Kiva Murray, Ellen O’Dea, Karen Komatsu and Lucy Colwell and teacher Peter Weldon, presenting the Irish flag to staff at Odingoi Primary School in Soroti, Uganda.

FOUR teenagers from a Northside school got up close to some of the biggest challenges affecting people in rural Africa during a schools study visit to Uganda, last month.

The students from Sutton Park Secondary School travelled with their teacher as part of a schools group who took part in the one-week visit organised by Irish development charity Self Help Africa.

Kiva Murray, Ellen O’Dea, Karen Komatsu, Lucy Colwell and teacher Peter Weldon travelled to Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, and on to Teso and Soroti in the north east of the country.

During their trip, organised by the Development Education unit of Self Help Africa, the group visited two schools and a university, as well as farmers’ groups that the charity is supporting in some of the most remote parts of rural Uganda.

Dorothy Jacob, coordinator of Self Help Africa’s schools’ programme, said: “The aim of the trip is to give the students and teachers a chance to see Africa at first hand, and learn more about the challenges that people face in their daily lives – whether it relates to gender equality, climate, trade or the issues around farming and sustainable food production. 

“It’s about both deepening understandings and challenging preconceptions.”

During the visit, the Sutton Park students got up close with some of the hardest challenges faced by farmers in rural Africa, but also saw some of the practical solutions that can help farmers become more productive and resilient.

Kiva Murray said they visited families in a refugee camp in Kiryandango, home to about 54,000 people. “Some of these families have been given access to land, and are actually now producing corn that they are selling to the United Nations, the agency responsible for providing aid to refugee households,” she said.

Karen Komatsu said: “We saw that simple solutions, such as adequate post-harvest storage, can prevent huge losses of crops, and eventually of income, for farmers.”

Lucy Colwell said they also brought journals with photos from their school. 

“We played music, while some of the girls played camogie with villagers,” she said.

Ellen O’Dea added that the whole experience was truly eye-opening. 

Every year, students from Irish post primaries taking part in Self Help Africa’s schools’ programme apply to take part in the study visit, with the travelling students writing essays and interviewing before being chosen.  

The Sutton Park students, supported by their families, friends and schoolmates reached out to their local communities and organised fundraising events including table quizzes, coffee mornings, concerts and more, to fund their trip.

Ms Jacob said: “Our hope is that once the students and teachers come back home, they will share their learning and become engaged and active citizens in their communities, and take the experiences that they have with them into their lives in the years to come.” 

 

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