Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Uganda Project sends 15 young Canadians to Africa

By Tamara Letkeman

Talk about making a difference: yesterday, 15 young Canadians from across the country left for Africa to work in hospitals, libraries and aid centres as part of Douglas College’s ongoing Uganda Project. Aged 30 and under, the participants will be away for five months as they complete paid internships at institutions such as the Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, where they’ll be working with patients with HIV/AIDS, mental illnesses and other health conditions.

The program is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Douglas College partnered with both CIDA and the country of Uganda to make the project a go.

The group includes two Douglas College grads: Brent Harris, who graduated from the Marketing and Management Diploma program in January; and Laura Richard, a graduate of the Community Social Service Worker program in 2009.

“We’re aiming for two things,” says John Fox, an instructor from the Community Social Service Worker Program and Coordinator of the Uganda project. “One, we want to contribute to developing projects that will boost people’s quality of life. Two, we want to give young Canadians international experience that will help them find jobs back home.”

The College has established long-term commitments to Uganda. In 2006 it launched the Uganda Endowment Fund to provide funding for social service agencies. As well, since 2006 close to two dozen students from the Community Social Service Worker Program, and more recently from the Co-Occurring Disorders, Early Childhood Education, and Dental Assisting programs, have travelled to the African nation for 10-week field learning practicum placements with various agencies as part of their education.

For more info on the Uganda Project, click here.

Pictured: the 15 participants heading to Uganda; John Fox, Coordinator, Uganda Project; Guangwei Ouyang, Associate Vice President, Douglas College International;Betty Mitchell, Manager, International Contracts & Projects, International Education; Sandra Enns, International Education