Ellie Golson Hi! My name is Ellie and I'm a first year student at Loughborough University. I've decided to volunteer in Uganda for three weeks from 30th August 2018, to help build a playground for disadvantaged children. I feel it is only important that children have a safe environment to play in because it is a basic part of growing up. All children should have equal opportunities and rights to play games with friends and not have to worry about being in danger. Playing only helps a child to develop and is a basic foundation to their childhood. So by contributing to building this playground, I feel I can make a difference and change their lives for the better.

On the trip, there will be non skilled labour work like digging, welding, painting and teaching the tutors about new and safe play. We will be restoring old playgrounds and getting to know the children. It will be hard physical work, from early hours of the morning to late at night.

Being a child in Uganda is tough. After decades of political unrest and conflict, 8 million children live in poverty. Time out of school is spent working or helping at home. Half the population is under 15 so at school, classes are huge and resources are stretched due lack of funding. This, combined with a system of learning through reciting facts, children don’t get the chance to be creative, use their imaginations and be children.

Since 2009, the charity East African Playgrounds has been installing playgrounds in schools, to give Uganda’s children the chance to play. They train teachers in play theory, and how to incorporate the playground into lessons, as well as how to care for it. They use high quality local materials so their playgrounds are sustainable and locally sourced. Play provides countless proven benefits including social skills, cognitive abilities, problem solving and fine motor skills. Adding play to a child’s life can lead to significantly raised IQs, greater achievement at school and even higher rates of employment and wages in adulthood.

I have never done anything like this before, and so am really excited to complete this challenge. I urgently need your support to continue the programme of building playgrounds and teacher training through summer. Any donations will be greatly appreciated. Ellie Golson