These images were taken during our volunteer project in Zambia and Uganda back in 2007.
This was our first volunteer project since our honeymoon in Africa back in 2005. It took me a while to work out how we could help, but that wasn't a simple notion. In actuality, I'm still not sure if I'm doing the right thing however I thought that if I could document the lives of the people I've met, especially of the children's, and tell their stories, the world must begin to care. So that's what I did in amongst working at the orphanages and falling in love with little Joey. I know I wasn't meant to fall in love...
I also spent some time in Uganda, working with a local NGO in Lugazi, with a focus on enabling children in rural villages to attend and stay in school.
A thorough understanding of life in a rural village of a developing country really hits home when you attempt to live in the conditions the locals live in, eat what they do and experience what they experience on a daily basis.
I spent 4 weeks in Uganda visiting families in the villages, where locals typically lived in mud/reed huts, where the bedroom is the storage and living room all in one. Most sleep on thin straw m at on bare earth, with one mosquito net around the whole family, or most often than not, no mosquito nets at all in an area highly prevalent to malaria. The children suffer form malnutrition, had fungal growth on their scalps, and parasitic infections causing deep, gaping wounds in their fingers and toes.
Children are pulled out of school to help in the fields, where survival is their main priority. Education, as you can see is the last on anyone's minds.
Rural schools are typically poorly funded, Qualified teachers are not attracted to poor paying jobs where schools are located in the middle of no where. A complete lack of supportive infrastructure makes getting to school a 2-4 hour mission by foot. The children would get up at 4am in the mornings to ensure they get to school on time. Difficult as it is, the children are proud in their torn, browned and oversized make-shift uniforms, keen to learn.
I left with a heavy heart.