Laura Macfarland, 16, USA
Personal Experiences: First of all, let me just say that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED my time with Uganda Rural Fund. It was the most rewarding and fulfilling experience I have ever had. Originally, I was a little concerned about going there to volunteer because I felt so unqualified. I donít have enough skill, money, or experience to do anything big or miraculous (Iím only 16 years old). My goal for going to Uganda in the first place, therefore, and for staying for so long, was to be able to live among the people and learn/try to understand their day to day lifestyles and struggles. I must say that I feel like I have been successful in this way. Just being away from some of the amenities we take for granted at home, such as running water, helped me to better understand how fortunate I am and how much more difficult it is for millions of people in Africa to do just the simple things such as bathe, etc. But I donít want to leave the impression that this was the best part of volunteering with URf- feeling Ďfortunateí. In fact, that wasnít it at all.
What I loved the most about my time with URF is that it was totally flexible and real. If I wanted to see somebody in need, I just had to take a walk down the street and Iíd see them. Everything is right there, in your face, for you to see. You donít have to second guess anything and be like, ďHow do I know if they are really in need? How do I know that this isnít a scam? What if my money never makes it to the person itís supposed to be going to?Ē, because you are seeing everything for yourself and you are helping the people yourself. What you decide to do and who you decide to help is totally up to you. Never once did I feel pressured to give money or do something I wasnít comfortable or prepared to do.
I also loved just visiting with the people in the village and getting to know the students. I realized that just forming a relationship with someone made an impact on themÖand me. Simply asking a widowed mother how she was doing and showing that we cared seemed to go a long way. Like I said earlier, I am so unqualified, but I definitely have the means to visit with the people and show that I care, and thatís what I tried to do. Because of this, I hoped to be an example to my peers and anyone else- proof you can be just an ordinary person, as young as 16, with very little or no background of doing this kind of thing, and you can still make a difference in peopleís lives. I had never really realized how easy it is to help someone and to give them hope. You just have to take the time to put YOU aside concentrate on THEM. You just have to care; honestly care. It was here with URF in Kyetume that I realized that the greatest kind of joy and happiness comes from giving, whatever it is you have to offer (whether it be time, money, etc.), beyond boundaries you never thought you could cross. Uganda Rural Fund is the most perfect outlet I have found in regards to being able to help the people of Uganda. I have traveled to ten different areas of Uganda with several different groups/organizations, and Uganda Rural Fund is the only one I trust completely and felt was the most effective and helpful to its community.
I definitely recommend URF to anyone searching for a way to reach outside of their self and their comfort zone into the lives of people who are truly in need; to anyone who has ever wanted to make a difference; to anyone who has ever wanted to experience a different culture; to anyone who wants to have the greatest time of their life; to anyone who wants to meet some really amazing people. I canít think of any better way than through Uganda Rural Fund.
PS. Laura is planning another trip to Uganda for next summer.
What We Do
URF operate: an orphanage, a vocational high school, after school programs, women empowerment programs, child sponsorship, and many more.
URF is a 501(c)(3) charity registered in Uganda, USA, and Canada. We focus on education, health, and community development in the most rural areas of Uganda.
News and Events
- Community Empowerment Seminar attended by 600 people
- 3 new homes built for child headed families.
- Men's group launched.
- Agriculture workshop for August. Business training workshop set for Sept.