Ellie Crinall In August 2018, myself and a team of students from Exeter RAG will be venturing out to Uganda to volunteer for East African Playgrounds. Whilst we are there we will integrate ourselves with a local community to help build a safe, fun and sustainable playground in their primary school for children to enjoy for generations to come. We will also be assisting in running creative play sessions with the children at the school to inspire their learning, empowerment and exploration of themselves.

Why is this important to me? “Play is the universal language of a child” and I consider it to be a fundamental right to children globally. Play is important to nurture and shape a child’s learning and wellbeing, giving them the space to develop their social skills and problem solving, whilst allowing them to communicate and express themselves. For myself personally I currently have the joy and privilege of watching my 2-year-old niece grow and explore through play sessions, seeing her build her confidence and identity as she is beginning to assert her independence (in a very sassy way!). To imagine her deprived of these opportunities for creativity is unthinkable to me and shouldn’t happen to any child. Also 10% of the playgrounds built by the charity are within refugee camps, where some of the most vulnerable children live. Stripped of their sense of wellbeing, security and right to play, the introduction of safe spaces, such as the playgrounds, is invaluable. This is why I am thrilled to be fundraising for East African Playgrounds as fundamentally it is giving children their childhood back.

East African Playgrounds also works to employ disadvantaged young adults by employing former street children and training them to become builders and welders, who will aid the construction of the playground. This is giving them employment but more importantly the self-confidence and transferable skills needed for them to acquire a job in the future to come.

Lastly as the focus of our trip is to aid non-profit organisations prioritising developing East Africa, a portion of my fundraising will be donated to the Ugandan Wildlife Authority. This charity works to conserve the phenomenal national parks and protect the critically endangered Silverback gorillas in Uganda. I am humbled that we will be given the opportunity to see this terrain for ourselves and take a glimpse at these mighty creatures.

I am really proud to be part of this trip and being able to volunteer my time to establish East African Playground’s fantastic work. All donations are truly appreciated and thank you all for your support. Keep an eye out for my upcoming fundraising events and drop me a message if you’re interested in any of my art sales!

Crin

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Ellie Crinall