Hey everyone! My name is Tasha Noronha and I am an extremely excited to be heading over to Lira, Uganda very shortly to work with a local NGO called Children of Hope Uganda (COHU) for 10 months!
The mission of COHU is to provide employment and educational opportunities for those affected both directly and generationally by a massacre perpetrated by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in 2004. During my stay, I will be providing any support I can to COHU's various programs in Barlonyo and the surrounding area. These programs include 2 schools - the Early Childhood Development Centre (ECDC) and the Barlonyo Vocational Technical Institute (BTVI), as well as various income generating activities.
I've never jetted away from my home country alone before so I know this is going to be a completely new experience for me. That doesn't mean I'm not absolutely pumped for it though! The thought of finally being able to apply all of the theory analysis, essay writing, and exam cramming into development work is what I've been looking forward to ever since I was a beady-eyed teenager. I am absolutely honoured to be given the opportunity to go to the Pearl of Africa (of all places! I feel like such a lucky gal!) for my co-op placement, and I'm humbled to be working alongside 10 hard-working people who have already been so helpful in my pre-departure journey.
I look forward to gaining a better understanding of educational structure and curriculum development, the creation of financially sustainable projects, and post-conflict mental health during my 10 month stay in Uganda. I also look forward to eating all the pineapples, mangoes, and papaya my belly can handle and making memories with new friends well I'm at it!
I want to thank Lorna and Esther for making my dream placement come to life, the IDS program for giving me the tools and support to get here, Ethan for letting me harass him with ALL of the questions about his experience with COHU, the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship program, and all my family and friends that have been my strength and guidance through all of this.
Here's to learning new things about others and myself, exploring, and having an experience of a lifetime!
See you guys real soon!