From Parham to Uganda -a student's story

TRAVELLING to the other side of the world to help those less fortunate than yourself is an unusual part of a Suffolk student's course. Reporter Lisa Woollard speaks to Elizabeth Guilford who has decided to learn more than the usual syllabus.

TRAVELLING to the other side of the world to help those less fortunate than yourself is an unusual part of a Suffolk student's course. Reporter Lisa Woollard speaks to Elizabeth Guilford who has decided to learn more than the usual syllabus.

SWAPPING the peaceful village lanes of Parham for six weeks in Uganda, is on student Elizabeth Guilford's mind today.

She is preparing for the summer adventure, which is part of the Transform programme, run by Christian relief and development charity Tearfund.

Elizabeth, who has just completed an Earth Sciences degree at Oxford University, and hails from Parham, will be working with the Kigezi Diocese water and sanitation programme in Southern Uganda. The project which aims to provide clean running water within a 500m walk for local communities.


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She said: “I'm really excited about this trip.

“I've never done anything like this before so it's quite daunting, but visiting a developing world country with an organisation like Tearfund is something I've wanted to do for a long time.

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“My parents have always supported Tearfund and I can remember as a little girl becoming pen-pals with children from other countries as part of a Tearfund project.”

The 22-year-old will be joined by seven other people, of various ages from around the UK.

They will form part of the Transform Team, which will live in accommodation provided by the local community and be involved in community activities.

She believes her Christian faith will be an important factor of her trip.

Elizabeth added: “My faith will play a large part in the journey as I will be travelling with other Christians. It will be an amazing opportunity to show God's love for everyone in such a practical way, but also to learn from these people who are so materially poor, but have such a rich community life and faith in God.

“As I have grown up I have become more aware of how many things God has blessed me with living in England, and am expecting my lifestyle to be challenged by the poverty that I will see.”

Before departing for Uganda next Sunday , Elizabeth has undertaken an intensive two-day orientation in Somerset to prepare and enable her to get stuck into the team's tasks from day one.

The orientation covered everything from how to avoid picking up a bug while overseas, to tips on understanding the culture.

The Transform programme enables Christians to spend from two weeks to four months working hand in hand with Tearfund's local partners in Africa, Asia and Central and South America.

Teams turn their hands to a wide range of work, from building houses for widows and orphans from Rwanda's genocide, to working with children orphaned by AIDS in Thailand and working with street children in Brazil.

Elizabeth added: “I chose the water and sanitation project as I hope to go into water management after my degree.”

Any contributions will go towards the £1,650 cost of Elizabeth's trip.

For more information about Tearfund see www.tearfund.org/transform or call 0845 3558355.

Located in East Africa, borders with: Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zaire.

Its population is 24.6 million

The major occupation is agriculture for coffee, tobacco, sugar, and tea, mining, manufacturing and tourism is growing after years of neglect.

The capital city is Kampala, other main cities include Jinjia, Entebbe, Mbarara, Mbale, and Masaka.

English is the official language.

The climate is tropical, generally rainy with two dry seasons.

Tearfund promotes Christian action with the world's poor. Through its distinctive Christian identity, Tearfund is linked to an extensive, grassroots network - local churches across the world. In crisis situations, when infrastructure collapses and others may have to leave, the church remains, often the only institution to do so. With support from Tearfund, churches mount relief operations to bring food, clothing and medical care to the dispossessed.

As part of its strategy, Tearfund has identified three key projects:

Public health, including HIV/AIDS: To support communities in managing their own healthcare, including HIV/AIDS prevention and care, within the context of broader development initiatives.

Children at Risk: To focus on children at high risk, allowing them, as active member of their community, to participate in defining their needs, and contribute to programme planning.

Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation: To help vulnerable communities improve their food security, develop safe housing, and address environmental issues through advocacy at local and top levels

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