Carla and Tom Gill are based between the UK and Uganda. From the inception of East African Playgrounds in 2009, they have been committed to giving children in Uganda their childhoods, by providing them with high quality play experiences. They developed East African Playgrounds' programme to have a wide reaching impact on children and on Uganda as a whole. Carla comes from a childhood development background and Tom has wide-ranging experience in both social policy and building.
Read the full story of how East African Playgrounds was founded by Tom and Carla on the 'Our Story' page.
"East African Playgrounds is proof to me that if you apply pure grit, determination and some good advice along the way, you can achieve more than anyone will believe.
Ever since I was a teenager, I worked or volunteered with children to make sure they had their space to play, whether it was as a playworker supporting disabled children at a playscheme, or organising activities at my local Brownie and Guide group. This theme continued through University where I was able to run adventure residential weekends away for disadvantaged children. When I met Tom and he shared his idea for building playgrounds in East Africa, I knew this was something I wanted to be part of and that I could contribute to.
East African Playgrounds has been a wonderful journey of discovery, of trials and tribulations and a continual learning curve. Although we have come far, there is so much more to achieve to ensure all children have access to play across East Africa."
Back in 2009 when East African Playgrounds was in its concept stage I never thought we would construct more than a few playgrounds, run hundreds of educational play programmes and given so many disadvantaged young adults here in Uganda the chance to change their lives and their futures. Some people thought we were crazy when we chose to start a charity whilst still at University. We left behind a career path of graduate jobs in London to work part-time in bars, as a bin man and taxi driver to enable us to pursue the adventure that was and is East African Playgrounds.
Years later and that crazy choice has led to so much more than any of us could ever have thought possible. Working with the Uganda Ministry of Education, the Prime Minister’s office, UNICEF, PLAN International, War Child Holland, World Vision and many more global NGO’s we have been able to change the lives of children living in refugee settlements across Uganda. It makes all the early morning bin collecting and late nights taxi driving worth it!
We have been extremely lucky to have such a fantastic team in the UK and in Uganda who are the people who have made East African Playgrounds what it is today, and who are going to help take East African Playgrounds even further in the future.