Emily Vinsen In September 2018 I have the exciting opportunity to work alongside East African Playgrounds to help establish school play areas in Uganda. As part of the University’s Raise and Give society, we will be fundraising over £18,000 as well as building and refurbishing playgrounds ourselves in a rural Ugandan school, during a three week trip to the country.

This project is really important as play has an incredible benefit on a child's development, and every child should have this opportunity as it builds physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills, whilst providing them the space to exercise freedom of thought. East African Playgrounds build play areas all over Uganda - including in refugee camps. My time spent volunteering at a Brownie Guide group and a Cub Scout pack has shown me how important it is to have a dedicated learning and play environment. These playgrounds will be used by hundreds of children and will help expand the minds of Uganda’s future. In every school that this project has visited, the attendance of pupils and the enrolment to the school has increased.

I personally aim to fundraise £2,000 for this charity. For the first week in Uganda I am being sponsored to take part in an arduous trek through different terrains (mountains, lakes and jungles). I will be passing through crater lakes, meeting a local herbalist and a craftswoman, and after our toughest day trekking up an extremely steep hill, we will stop at coffee plantation to understand how coffee is made. On completing this trek, we will journey into untouched territory to find the last remaining Silverback Gorillas.

After this challenging week, we will travel to a primary school to begin two weeks volunteering, building a playground. Each afternoon, we will lead lessons with the children promoting creative play to encourage children to learn different problem-solving skills through games. This creative play programme inspires children at the school to learn, explore and develop themselves.

This playground will benefit generations to come and I will feel so proud of being able to provide this for the primary school and community. I cannot express enough how excited I am for this journey and all of the life skills it will teach me.

Examples of what donations go towards:

£10 - Builds a toy giraffe for the children to play with.
£15 - Builds a life size toy motorbike out of tires, allowing children to play on.
£20 - Funds safety equipment for a disadvantaged young adult, helping them to be safe as they begin working for East African Playgrounds.
£50 - Builds a table with space for board games, such as checkers, or snakes and ladders!

Where is your money going?

Of the £2,000 I raise, £300 will go the Ugandan Wildlife Authority to help the conservation efforts of the gorillas I will be visiting during my trek. £600 will go on project costs of food, accommodation, and travel, most of which will go to the non-profit trek company the Home of Edirisa, who support the communities we will trek through. The remaining £1,100 will go directly to East African Playground to fund their incredible work. I will be paying £580 for my flights out to Uganda separately.

This is a really important cause and I strongly believe every child should have the chance to be a child. I would be so incredibly grateful if you could donate anything you can, as would the children in Uganda.

Emily x Emily Vinsen