Douglas College students and faculty are among a group of 20 who are in Uganda for the next six months.
The college received federal funding to host the International Youth Initiative Program that will see post-secondary graduates from across Canada complete internships in the East African country while gaining experience in education, health and social services. They left for Uganda on Sept. 23.
“This is a way for Canadian students to gain life experience,” says Douglas College instructor Janice Spencer, who is heading the project with fellow faculty member John Fox. “We’re all going in as learners.”
The 28-week paid internships are broken into three job categories: community education worker, community health worker and community social service worker. Students will use their skills as bridge-builders in the community while taking on various projects – including working with local, grass-root organizers, the Masaka Regional Hospital and the Uganda Community Libraries Association.
“We will be supporting the identified needs in the community and working to fill the gap,” Spencer said.
Douglas College student and Surrey resident Melissa Pulach returned to Uganda after 12 months. Pulach, who is in the Child and Youth Care Counsellor program, previously volunteered with the college’s Uganda Project.
“I’m so excited to go back,” she said prior to leaving. “I fell in love with Uganda – not just the country, but the people and the culture.”
The federal funding will send 40 interns in total over the next two years and will support intern salaries, travel and accommodations, as well as faculty time and travel. In order to qualify, Canadian youth must be between the ages of 19 to 30 and be post-secondary graduates of a diploma or degree program.
For more information, visit douglascollege.ca