Prosthetic and Orthotics Volunteering in Cambodia
It’s safe to say that many of us miss travelling and being able to experience new countries and cultures. Unfortunately studying and interning abroad may be a distant possibility for us. For those who are itching to get out there and see what volunteering abroad is like, luckily we still have a library of stories to tell from Development Together’s past participants. In this blog we look back at our June 2018 Health Internship in Cambodia and follow our past participant, Grace as she describes her internship experience in Phnom Penh.
Meet Grace (far left), a Development Together Past Participant who took part in the 2018 Prosthetics and Orthotics Internship whilst in her final semester of her Masters studies. She was kind enough to share with us her story and how it has helped her kick-stark her career as a Prosthetist/Orthotist.
Hi my name is Grace, and I am a Development Together alumnus and now a certified prosthetist/ Orthotist from La Trobe University. In 2018 as a third year Masters of clinical prosthetics and Orthotics student I had the amazing opportunity to experience prosthetics and orthotics on a very different level to that seen within the Australian University program, by accompanying a team of five other allied health students and Development Together Managing Director Kristy to Cambodia. The country and story of Cambodia reminds me of a mosaic, a piece of art created from many fractured and broken pieces. Through war, genocide and pain many of the khmer people have been hurt both mentally and physically, with approximately 5% of the entire population having a physical disability requiring prosthetic or orthotic intervention. During my time in Cambodia and working alongside staff as a prosthetist/ Orthotist at Veterans International Cambodia (VIC) I learnt something from every Prosthetist/ Orthotist, client or Prosthetic/ Orthotic technician that I met. Each and every one of these teachings and skills has had an impact on making me the Orthotist I am today. Post graduating from university in 2019 it was my experience with Development Together and these skills that provided me with a unique interview and resume, giving me the confidence to step out into the world as a graduate Orthotist, taking on a project orthotic role at Perth Children’s Hospital for the start of 2020. I will be forever thankful for the lessons that Cambodia and Development Together gave me, and will forever use my experience in Cambodia to remind me to be the best Orthotist/ Prosthetist I possibly can be, because you never know what your client has been through, but no matter what they deserve the best care possible.
– Grace (Masters of Clinical Prosthetics and Orthotics)
So, what can you expect to see at the Partner Site in Phnom Penh Cambodia?
This placement is situated in a rehabilitation facility about 30 minutes from downtown Phnom Penh. Clients that visit the clinic include infants, children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. Clients present with conditions such as; amputations (upper and lower limbs), cerebral palsy, arthrogryposis, femoral head necrosis, neurological disorders, spinal injuries, torticollis, and congenital deformities. Our partners Veterans International Cambodia place an emphasis on empowering and enabling their clients to be the best they can be.
What experience would you expect to receive?
The variety of presentations is enormous, there is incredible technical and cultural experiences to be had. Prosthetic and Orthotics Volunteers will see clients with amputations (upper and lower limbs), cerebral palsy, arthrogryposis, femoral head necrosis, CVA, neurological disorders, spinal injuries, torticollis, and congenital deformities. With support from local staff and professionally trained P&O and Physio staff, Volunteers can also get hands on skills and be involved from day one in assessment, treatment and identifying the best home therapies.
What do you do on a Prosthetic and Orthotics Placement?
Each team works collaboratively in the assessment and treatment of their clients. As part of this placement Volunteers will have the opportunity to go on a Community Visit, take a tour of the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics, and have a three day weekend to relax in Siem Reap where you will visit the famous temples of Angkor Wat.
Volunteering in Cambodia has been a way our Health Students and Professionals have been able to support and contribute to disadvantaged communities. As international travel is still uncertain for the near future, we can only provide what we can remotely.
We are currently in the consultative phase with universities and our partners on how we can provide opportunities for students as well as help our Not-For-Profit Partners who are struggling during this time.
If you’d like to learn more about our Cambodia projects, visit developmenttogether.com/location/cambodia
Periods in a Pandemic
Lockdowns, border closures and nationwide business shutdowns. These are all ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic that the majority of us have experienced at least once this year. Notably these pandemic generated consequences have made it especially difficult each month for marginalised women and young girls experiencing menstruation.
As obvious as it may be, we need to express that periods do not stop even during a pandemic.
Charity Organisation, Plan International Australia, states that “on any single day during this health emergency, 800 million diverse women and girls are menstruating and grappling with the unique challenges of doing so in a global pandemic.”
An example of how this Covid emergency is impacting one of our International Partners can be seen within Uganda. As restrictions continue and daily new cases appear to be increasing, developing countries such as Uganda are still struggling with the impacts of the pandemic. As of 10th of November Uganda Authorities have reported a total of 14,574 infections and 133 deaths. (These figures may be under-reported due to lack of testing facilities and services)
To draw more context to this topic it is important to note a few key statistics surrounding menstruation in Uganda and how Covid may affect a local woman or young girls’ circumstance.
School attendance for young women is substantially lower than boys in Uganda due to reasons such as:
- substantial embarrassment and fear of teasing related to menstruation
- lack of a private space and wash rooms with inadequate water to clean and wash the body and hands
- lack of materials for managing menstrual hygiene (limited access to sanitary pads and cleaning products)
- inappropriate facilities for disposal of sanitary materials
- lack of psychological support and limited understanding/support from male peers
This statistic is shocking enough, but the gender inequality continues to grow as young girls across the country struggle to gain access to hygienic sanitary products due to reasons such as store closures, lack of income and lack of resources due to Covid implications.
In rural and hard to reach areas, there are around only 1-2 shops and markets available for women to access sanitary products. In this environment there are only a few different types of sanitary items available. The first is disposable sanitary pads. These pads can be purchased at the local store or markets. With Covid restrictions closing stores and markets nationwide, access to disposable sanitary pads became difficult for many in these rural areas. In addition to this, essential services dispatched by the government during this time rarely or even never gave out pads to the communities that needed it most.
From a financial perspective pads can be bought at a cost of approximately $ 0.42 USD for each pad (from a survey taken by Development Together in 2018). Each month approximately 20 -25 pads will be required to cover the time when a female is menstruating. This will be a total cost of $8.40-$10.50 USD (monthly). Spending this amount of money is prohibitive and completely impossible for most females in poor communities with wages around $44 USD per month, this equates to almost 24% of their income being spent on sanitary products. This figure could be higher for most given a lot of the rural populations have been restricted in their work during the pandemic.
As a result of this most girls use old clothes, dirty napkins and even materials like grass, paper, leaves, disposable nappies and cardboard. The lack of appropriate materials to manage menstrual hygiene, poor sanitation and hygiene infrastructure can lead to girls missing school and can affect their reproductive health through infections. This in turn, widens the gap between girls and boys in their education and employability.
Now why doesn’t Uganda introduce reusable sanitary napkins? This product involves a one off payment that will then allow users to wash and re-use the sanitary napkin for up to 3 years. Although they are present in some areas of the country not all rural and regional locations can easily gain access to the resources used to make them. As simple as this solution may sound this has posed difficult as the costs of infrastructure and materials used to make these pads are considered expensive in marginalised and rural areas.
Enter, Casey Hughes, Business Student from Curtin University Australia. The now graduate, spent some time in Uganda as a part of Development Together’s Business and Engineering Internship in Busia, Uganda. During her internship she had the opportunity to interview local girls and women and develop a sustainable business plan for Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries, Uganda, a Not-For-Profit organisation and partner of Development Together that empowers and advocates for the marginalised. The Business Plan focuses on building the first sustainable reusable pad distribution within the community to provide both affordable reusable sanitary pad kits and education on appropriate sanitation and hygiene during menstruation.
The Business Plan aims to provide kits of reusable sanitary pads known as “SMART Pads” which can last for up to three years, providing women and girls with sufficient protection during menstruation. Casey projects that within these three years, women and girls can go about their day to day activities and enjoy access to quality hygiene products with high self-esteem and dignity.
“Once SHIM implements the business plan, it will make such a big difference because those girls [in Busia] will then have access to reusable sanitary pads and they will be able to go to school. It will stop them from [leaving school and] having to get married earlier and get pregnant earlier,” Casey tells Development Together in an interview.
However with any proposed solution, comes hurdles, as money and resources are limited during this difficult time. To bring light to these current issues we ask you to spread awareness using the trending hashtag #PeriodsInPandemic. Your voice can make a difference and we hope this can create positive change in communities all over the globe that struggle with the same issues.
If you would like to donate toward this project please visit www.facebook.com/shimuganda or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Hearing from Development Together Interns
Whilst studying, a common thought weighing on every university student’s mind is: ‘Will I get a job after I graduate?’ It can be daunting, not knowing if the major you’re studying will translate to a career. The best you can do is gain as much experience as you can during your studies.
To differentiate yourself from your peers, a hands-on Internship can be the perfect solution. Many of our students have found that taking part in a Development Together Internship has benefited them in multiple ways, some of which include learning how to apply the theoretical skills taught at university, and gaining experience in their field to enhance employment opportunities after they finish their studies.
Feedback from one of our past student interns comes from Jack, a Civil Engineering and Architecture student at the University of Wollongong (Australia). Jack interned with Development Together in Vietnam on an Engineering trip, and said:
“My decision to apply for an intern placement in Vietnam through Development Together is one of the best I have ever made. I got to work with an INCREDIBLE GROUP OF PEOPLE and visit an amazing country, all while gaining masses of VALUABLE WORK EXPERIENCE in my field of study.
Most students would agree, learning how to APPLY knowledge to real situations is ultimately the most important skill to master. An internship with Development Together is a truly invaluable opportunity for students and professionals to help others by APPLYING their knowledge and skills where they are desperately needed.
The SUPPORT provided by Development Together and the partner NGO that we worked with, was outstanding to say the least. If you’re looking for WORK EXPERIENCE, enjoy travel/culture and have a passion for helping others, don’t look past this rare opportunity!”
We also heard from Grace, who interned in Cambodia whilst studying at La Trobe University in Melbourne (Australia) to become a Prothetist/Orthotist. She gave the following insight into her Development Together experience, and how it benefited her career:
“As a third year Masters of Clinical Prosthetics and Orthotics student I had the AMAZING OPPORTUNITY to experience Prosthetics and Orthotics on a very different level to that seen within the Australian University program, by accompanying a team of five other Allied Health students and the Development Together Managing Director, Kristy, to Cambodia.
The country and story of Cambodia reminds me of a mosaic, a piece of art created from many fractured and broken pieces. Through war, genocide and pain many of the Khmer people have been hurt both mentally and physically, with approximately 5% of the entire population having a physical disability requiring prosthetic or orthotic intervention.
During my time in Cambodia, as I worked alongside local staff… at Veterans International Cambodia (VIC). I LEARNT something from every Prosthetist/Orthotist, technician or client that I met. Each and every one of these TEACHINGS & SKILLS has had an impact on making me the Orthotist I am today.
After graduating from university…it was my EXPERIENCE with Development Together and these SKILLS that provided me with a UNIQUE INTERVIEW & RESUME, giving me the CONFIDENCE to step out into the world as a graduate Orthotist, taking on a Project Orthotic role at Perth Children’s Hospital for the start of 2020.
I will be forever THANKFUL FOR THE LESSONS that Cambodia and Development Together gave me, and will forever use my experience in Cambodia to remind me to be the best Orthotist/Prosthetist I possibly can be. Because, you never know what your client has been through, but no matter what, they deserve the best care possible.”
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind opportunity to enhance your university experience and make your resume stand out from everyone else’s, a Development Together Internship is the perfect option. We are currently running Remote Internships while international travel is not possible, which consists of working on needs-based projects for communities in developing countries. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, take a look at our website, or email email@example.com for more information.
5 Reasons to Intern Remotely
While travel bans are in place and many domestic on-site internships are not available, a Remote Internship is the perfect alternative for university students and new graduates to gain industry skills and experience.
Taking part in a Development Together remote internships means you will work collaboratively on a sustainable community development project within a small group, to assist communities in the developing world. Our Remote Internships are personalised to suit student’s disciplines and allow them to engage in work experience relevant to their chosen industry.
When completing a Remote Internship, many aspects of a traditional internship still apply, such as receiving support from a qualified Australian industry professional, liaising with like-minded teammates and partnering with a Not-For-Profit Organisation, however instead of doing this face to face, students will have these encounters online.
Why Complete a Remote Internship?
Working with an overseas Not-For-Profit Organisation allows students to learn about the culture of another country, and how they can help improve conditions for a community in the developing world. Through the work they complete on their Internship, students will be able to interact with people on the other side of the world and see firsthand how the project has benefited the community.
Compared to an Overseas Internship, a Remote Internship is a much more affordable option. A Remote Internship gives students the opportunity to work globally without needing to worry about travel expenses such as: flights, accommodation, insurance and more.
The competitive price of a Development Together Remote Internship covers all aspects of the internship including: orientation, skills development workshops, ongoing support from an Australian Industry Professional and a donation to our Not-For-Profit partners.
When working remotely, a student’s skills in digital communication, time management, self-discipline, focus and the ability to be self-motivated will develop over the course of an Internship. The skills developed while Interning Remotely can be applied throughout the course of a student’s career, regardless of whether they work remotely or on-site.
The ability to set goals, focus and take initiative in one’s Internship will carry over to success in future employment. Furthermore, when working with software and other online programs, students will learn to navigate these systems and solve basic technical issues independently.
A Development Together Remote Internship places students into a small groups with other students who have similar career goals and study a similar discipline. This allows students to network, share ideas and opinions, develop inter-professional skills and potentially gain friends/colleagues for the rest of their career.
A Remote Internship also gives students the opportunity to work with a qualified Australian Industry Professional who will guide them through the process and support their work on a specific project. Increasing one’s professional network is an effective way to gain employment opportunities in the future, as many available positions are filled without posting a public job listing.
A Remote Internship can be completed anywhere a student has access to a smart device and a Wi-Fi connection, allowing for freedom to travel locally and complete the internship wherever is convenient for the student. It also allows students to complete a part time Internship while studying full time. Working from home also removes travel time and any commutes from the equation, which allows for time to be allocated to other things.
If this is something that you would like to be involved with, have a chat to your university Work Placement Coordinator/Clinical Placement Coordinator, or get in touch with us here at Development Together via our website: https://www.developmenttogether.com/ or via our email firstname.lastname@example.org We look forward to hearing from you!
COVID 19 – An Update from Our Partners
How Our Partners are Dealing with the Global Covid 19 Pandemic –
As the world continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic the global community is feeling as vulnerable as ever. Many of us are facing various challenges due to the pandemic’s far-reaching implications. At Development Together we think it is important to stay in touch with one another, spread positivity and check in on those you care about; especially during this time of social distancing.
Given our current inability to directly serve our not-for-profit partners in the developing world, we thought we’d get in touch with them to extend our thoughts and let them know we are thinking of them. Our partners were really happy to hear from us and most have provided an update on how they are dealing with the Global Pandemic.
The Cambodian community development organisation, Empowering Cambodia, spent the month of March conducting a series of training sessions in accordance with Cambodian social distancing and public gathering rules and regulations. Their Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) training was adapted to introduce Covid-19 prevention training as a priority.
As the poor seem to be some of the most hard hit during this time with limited access to personal protective wear, Cambodians have been encouraged to wear the traditional Kroma scarf as a form of protection. To ensure the safety and health of local families Empowering Cambodia have also distributed soaps and pictorial brochures to assist in good hygiene practices.
Cambodian Wear Kroma as They are Taught Good Health Practices in Small Groups
(Source: Empowering Cambodia Facebook)
Stitches of Hope
On a positive note the Cambodian people within the Stitches of Hope Community seem to be in good spirits. The organisation that aims to bring hope and aid to the poor in Cambodia reports that for children being supported in group homes, their teachers, carers and students are continuing with school studies at a reasonable distance from one another, with some even having the opportunity to learn how to cook.
Learning how to make mango jam and preserves.
(Source: Stitches of Hope Facebook)
The Perth based Director of Stitches of Hope also informs us that she was able to deliver sleeping bags, made by local Cambodian women, for the homeless in Western Australia. Local women in Cambodia are employed to sew sleeping bags, they are then shipped to Australia where each sleeping bag is paid for by a donor and distributed to the homeless. Stitches of Hope are trusting that the generosity of those who are able will keep this program going during these uncertain times.
The Director of Stitches of Hope, Ms Kay Eva, delivering sleeping bags to the homeless in Perth, WA
(Source: Kay Eva Facebook)
Foxglove Project is an Australian charity working to eradicate poverty in the developing world by empowering women and girls to change their own lives. Kelly Chisholm, the founder, has been encouraging her social media audiences to “Support a Woman”. The proceeds raised from this campaign will help support women in India and Rwanda who already have established micro-financing businesses in place.
In Rwanda, fundraising from this appeal will help local woman to come through this period with their homes and micro businesses intact and to utilise their networks via the Self Help groups they are involved with to quickly disseminate health, hygiene and safe family practice training to local women. In India funds will go towards providing families in lock down in the slums with dry food and basic necessities.
Foxglove Project Covid 19 Fundraising Appeal
(Source: Foxglove Project Facebook)
Shanghai Gold Apple Bilingual School
Our partners in Shanghai, China at the Gold Apple Bilingual School have had a difficult time over the last few months. From early in January they established an Epidemic Prevention and Control Team to protect the students and teachers. Very quickly the Chinese government closed all schools and restricted travel and school pupils had their classes delivered online. For both students and teachers this has been a steep learning curve.
The school has provided students with learning materials and learning suggestions, is conducting mental health counselling, and is encouraging students to engage in appropriate sports and housework, whilst also completing their daily school work. As things begin to return to normal in Shanghai both staff and pupils are looking forward to getting back into their usual school routines once more.
Students Getting Back to Learning
Childlife Preserve Shishur Sevay
India has entered a period of strict lock down. For the staff and residents at Childlife Preserve Shishur Sevay this has meant staying at home at all times, cancelling all extra-curricular activities and a restriction on their teachers coming into the home to work with them. Many of their plans have been brought to a halt, some teachers are giving classes online while non-essential staff work from home where they can. Dr. Harrison and a few other essential staff are currently living with the residents of the organisation and overseeing daily duties and tasks.
School Lesson via WhatsApp for Girls Living with Cerebral Palsy
(Image Courtesy Shisur Sevay March 2020)
The model inclusive home for orphan girls, both abled and with disabilities, share their view on how they are coping during lock down:
“India is on total lock down until 15 April…I am amazed at how the girls have risen to the challenge of this pandemic. They continue to be independent, cheerful, competent, and funny as they take incredible care of themselves and each other.” – Dr. Michelle Harrison
Online Communication Session for Girls Living with Cerebral Palsy
(Image Courtesy Shisur Sevay March 2020)
Although they face their own challenges, the organisation has shown selfless love and care for others with their recent decision to donate half of their food budget to feed the poor.
“ Our girls’ origins are among the extremely underprivileged. We taught them that these were the foundations on which to gain strength and grow. Today they asked how we can help the poor and hungry during lock down. We all decided to cut our food budget while still staying healthy. The money saved goes to a program feeding the hungry.” – Dr. Michelle Harrison
Bali Appropriate Technology Institute
Despite the Corona virus disruptions in the country our partner organisation, Bali Appropriate Technology Institute in Indonesia are continuing their sustainable engineering projects via video chat with the Director Mr Rus Alit who is currently based in Perth Australia. Rus shares his thoughts on their current situation:
“The project to build a water tank in the village of Kendampal in Datah continues. A 20,000 litre water tank is in the making. Under BATI’s direction by video call, the water tank is well underway toward completion.” – Rus Alit
An update from BATI regarding the water filter’s that our Engineering interns helped to design and construct in January 2020 was provided and it was found that they are functioning well and much appreciated by the locals. With the ability to store and provide clean water, the village is able to utilise the water filter’s to sustain a basic standard of hygiene during this tough time. BATI staff look forward to when they’ll be able to visit the site to conduct further work in the area.
BATI Working on Underground Water Tank in Datah Village
(Image Courtesy Rus Alit March 2020)
Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries
On January 28th the Mother Care Academy, a brand new Junior school in Busia Uganda, was opened by our partners Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries, Uganda (SHIMU). The students were only just beginning to adjust to a normal schooling routine and enjoying being able to attend a school that was conducted indoors, with tables and some stationery supplies available to them. As the impact of Covid 19 heightens in Uganda these students have now all been asked to stay at home and their lessons have been discontinued. Very few families have access to the internet or even own a computer so the idea of online class delivery will not be happening. Most children will not be receiving any schooling during this stage and will be helping their parents in the fields to make ends meet.
Given the current circumstances SHIMU still continues to give a voice to the hopeless urging those to support the vulnerable during this difficult time.
“A lot is still needed at this new school ranging from cementing the floors of the classrooms, buying chairs and tables for teachers, buying ridges for the roofs, fencing the school to buying uniforms for children. We can’t give up on supporting these vulnerable.” – SHIMU
In addition to this the impact of the pandemic on SHIM is immense as 65% of the organisation’s income source from selling vegetables, bananas and pigs has been slashed due to market shutdowns in the area. This is especially devastating on the work they do, as their farm income was used to fund their new school, run Micro-Economic Development Activities, and conduct Sexual Health and Reproduction Education for local villagers.
As the virus reaches into rural Uganda prices for basic goods, sanitary items and building materials have risen rapidly. This poses a risk to the livelihoods of many living in the area as food and essential items become harder to obtain. In SHIM’s most recent Facebook post the organisation expresses their commitment to sustaining their children and staff’s basic needs for as long as possible.
“We’re committed to keeping the children fed, and safe. We are also at pains to keep supporting our incredible SHIM UGANDA workforce – nearly 10 teachers, 5 project managers and other support staff. With no safety net for them, we are fighting to secure their futures, as well as the welfare of our kids.” – SHIMU
Mother of Care Academy Students on the 4th day of Term 1
(Image Courtesy SHIMU January 31st 2020)
Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre
Our partners at the Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre in Lviv Ukraine are being especially vigilant about preventing the spread of Covid 19. Many of the children and adults who utilise this facility are at high risk of becoming critically ill if they catch this disease due to their physical disabilities.
Under the direction of the local government, the centre will remain closed until April 24th, so staff have been providing tips and advice via their social media channels to local families looking after their children at home. Tips include advice on Covid 19 symptoms, along with advice on regular hand washing, disinfecting surfaces and spending time outside to get fresh air.
Covid 19 Symptoms Poster
(Source: Dzherelo Facebook)
Staff from Dzherelo have also been encouraging families of clients to seek out alternate ways to communicate with their loved ones whilst under lock down at home. Families have been encouraged to help their child at home by accessing specific therapy websites, online stories, reading together, looking at photos together and reinforcing positive behaviors. In this way, families are now able to assist in the delivery of therapy sessions which are being conducted on-line if the family has a computer and internet access at home.
Alternate Communication Tools
Centre for Sustainable Development Studies
The Vietnamese government has enforced very strict restrictions to control the spread of Covid 19 which have led to the suspension of all of the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies activities. The staff at CSDS are working hard in the office and at home to take the time to prepare for further activities when the work is back to normal. One area they are working on is through their social media posts aimed at encouraging local people to hand wash.
CSDS Hand Washing Poster
(Source: CSDS VN Facebook)
They have also been conducting a survey on the impact and needs of children and teens affected by Covid 19 with the survey results being used to inform the Government and UN agencies on how to best support children and teens during this time. Hopefully with this understanding CSDS will be able to create effective activities in the future that enhance children and teens outcomes.
CSDS Staff working on activities from home
(Source: CSDS VN Facebook)
How You Can Get Involved
We hope that you have enjoyed catching up on the latest news from our partners. At this stage we are planning to run our end of year placements, but of course we will continue to be guided by advice from the WHO, CDC, DAFT and the Australian Government and we will closely follow their lead on the safety of overseas travel to the regions we operate in. We can’t wait to return to our partner sites and look forward to being able to work with our participants soon!
If you’d like to get in touch with, or support the initiatives of any of our partners mentioned in our blog, follow the links listed below:
Bali Appropriate Technology Institute:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/BATI-Bali-Appropriate-Technology-Institute
Website – n/a
Centre for Sustainable Development Studies
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CSDS.VN/
Website – n/a
Childlife Preserve Shishur Sevay
Facebook – www.facebook.com/ShishurSevay
Website – https://www.shishursevay.org
Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Dzherelo/
Website – https://dzherelocentre.org.ua/en/
Facebook – www.facebook.com/EmpoweringCambodia
Website – www.empoweringcambodia.org
Facebook – www.facebook.com/FoxgloveProject
Website – www.foxgloveproject.com
DONATE TO: COVID-19 Rwanda Appeal http://grassroots-rwanda-gdg-j778.raisely.com/covid19-rwanda-appeal
DONATE TO: COVID-19 Chennai Appeal https://birdsnest365-gdg-j925n.raisely.com/covid19-chennai-appeal
Shanghai Gold Apple Bilingual School
Facebook – n/a
Website – http://www.jinpingguo.com.cn/
Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries Uganda
Facebook – www.facebook.com/shimuganda
Website – n/a
Stitches of Hope
Facebook – www.facebook.com/stitchesofhope
Website – www.stitchesofhope.org.au
DONATE TO: Sleeping Bag Project – https://startsomegood.com/rotary-sleeping-bag-project
If you would like to get involved in one of our projects in the developing world check out our website at: https://developmenttogether.com or https://developmenttogether.com/contact/
Uganda in Focus
The capital city of Uganda is Kampala and has a population of 42.86 million (as of 2017). Uganda is best known for it’s beautiful wildlife. It is home to 50% of the world’s population of Mountain Gorillas, 11% of the worlds bird population, and has 6.8% of the world’s butterfly species. Not only that, the cuisine there is incredible! Each tribe has it’s own staple food, making the experience as unique and diverse as their culture.
There are over 50 languages spoken in Uganda but the two official languages are English and Swahili – This means interacting with the locals will be a breeze. Ugandans’ are extremely welcoming and are interested in getting to know tourists and volunteers. The weather in Uganda is lovely and warm most of the year, reaching an average max of 29 degrees Celsius. The wet seasons run from March to May and October to November.
When travelling around towns, the most common form of transport is bicycle, but be careful when riding through the more built up parts of Uganda as road rules aren’t strictly followed. If bike riding isn’t your thing, there are local buses that move between major attractions and cars available for hire.
Uganda has a wide range of culturally engaging activities that are perfect for first time visitors. Here are our top three recommendations for an exciting and eye-opening experience.
1) Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to over half of the Mountain Gorillas in Africa, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Not only can you book to visit the Mountain Gorillas, but you can also hike within the forest and stay in a local village for a cultural experience. It is also one of Uganda’s best places to see many different bird species.
2) Murchison Falls
Check out the world’s most powerful waterfall on a wildlife-watching trip up the Victoria Nile. Murchison Falls National Park is one of Uganda’s best National Parks with the historic River Nile flowing through it. You will also experience some of the largest Nile Crocodiles, pods of Hippos and many species of water birds. Nearby on the open Savannah you will be able to see the endangered Rothschild Giraffes, Elephants, Antelopes, Lions and with a bit of luck the elusive Leopards.
3) Ndere Cultural Centre, Kampala
The Ndere Cultural Centre is home to Uganda’s best cultural dance group the Ndere Troupe. Enjoy dinner and a drink and watch the sun set as you enjoy the dance, singing and music presented by the Ndere Troupe as the celebrate the commonalities and rich differences of the many different tribal groups in Uganda.
Development Together currently offers internships and volunteer placements in rural Busia, near the Kenya border just 4 hours east of Kampala (the capital of Uganda). For the last two years we have been partnering with a local Not For Profit group called Seeds of Hope Integrated Ministries who run Micro Economic Development Activities focusing on improving female economic independence, run a small Primary School for children in poverty, run a Re-usable Sanitary Napkin Project and provide education on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Family Planning.
Our Inter-Professional teams volunteer with out partner on local projects. These placements are suitable for Agriculture, Agri-Business, Architecture, Child Development, Commerce, Computing/IT, Education/Teaching, Engineering, Environment, Health (Nursing, Medicine, Physiotherapy, Public Health, Sexology), Social Work and Urban Planning university/college students OR professionals within these fields who are looking to give back to local communities and enhance their technical skills volunteering on sustainable community development projects.
For our upcoming 2020 internship programs, participants will spend 3, 4 or 8 weeks in Uganda, in small groups of 4-12 individuals, working collaboratively within your team and alongside local staff. Develop your skills in a supported environment with an Australian Facilitator alongside you to offer guidance and mentoring as:
- Engineering/Environment/Architecture/Urban Planning volunteers will review locals existing access to water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and facilities, followed by upgrading or constructing new infrastructure and facilities that may better suit locals needs.
- Agricultural volunteers will assess existing farming and animal husbandry techniques, including: crop rotation, pest management, co-planting, food security and production.
- Health/Child Development/Social Work volunteers share knowledge, deliver training and development, and up-skill locals on topics such as: menstruation, sexual and reproductive health, family planning, infant and child nutrition, positive parenting practices and child protection issues.
- Education volunteers work alongside local teachers to deliver material and develop curriculum, whilst contributing to capacity development of local staff.
- Commerce/Computer/IT volunteers spend time with local staff, micro-economic self help groups, and secondary high school children to enhance their education and technical office skills.
Community members are consulted and get involved with and contribute towards the physical labor and design process. All participants will be expected to spend time sharing knowledge and education with locals to ensure the sustainability of our projects. Development Together assists by providing most of the necessary financial funding required to complete these projects.
During the internship, participants are supported by the Development Together Australian team and our local partners in Uganda who provide introductions to local people and facilitate community engagement, along with the necessary technical support.
If you would like to get involved in one of our projects in Uganda, visit our website at: https://developmenttogether.com/location/uganda/ or email us at https://developmenttogether.com/contact/
A Day in the Life of a Development Together Volunteer
In November, Development Together Staff Members, Natasha and Lachlan were on vacation in Bali, Indonesia and they took a day out of their holiday to see what a day in the life of a Development Volunteer might be like. They also got to assess the impact that past volunteers have had on our partner site, the Bali Appropriate Technology Institute (BATI) and the surrounding community in Kelecung.
BATI is a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) based in the Tabanan Regency in Bali. Founded by Mr Rus Alit, they seek to create innovative, accessible and cost-effective water collection, filtration and storage systems for drinking, sanitation and irrigation purposes. They have also developed examples of hydro and solar power stations, simple hydraulic ram pumps to move water, generation of bio-fuel from coconut waste and other simple technologies. Examples of these solutions can be found on the grounds of the BATI training facility where people from all over the world, come to participate in a week long Sustainable and Renewable Energies Workshop which Rus runs on a regular basis.
The day started early, when we met our driver and translator, Nathan. Getting to BATI is about a 2 hour drive from Denpasar. On a map, it might not look that far, however Bali traffic is always gridlocked until after you get out of the urban centres. When we arrived at BATI, we were given a tour of the various technologies that they have developed. First off, we were shown the ‘Rus pump’, named after its inventor Rus Alit, which uses water pressure to pump water. Rainwater is collected from the gutters of the buildings on site, is passed through a series of filters and is deposited into the water tanks. These tanks make it easier for communities to collect safe drinking water, and the ‘Rus pump’ makes it a lot easier to access.
We were able to have a look at a number of other projects that BATI has worked on, including sand water filters, recycled water showers and pressurised water pumps. We were also shown what looked like a large swimming pool, but it was actually a pool of recycled water that is used to irrigate the entire BATI grounds and keep them looking lush and green all year round!
Running through BATI is a stream which was turned into a small-scale dam. This dam was created in order to produce hydro-electricity to surrounding villages, but also acts as an irrigation system for the surrounding rice fields, which has allowed the rice crops to flourish and provides not only food to the local villagers, and but also a source of income.
After this, we had a traditional Balinese lunch, consisting of local fruits and vegetables, ayam goreng (fried chicken) and a spicy kepapa (coconut) salad. Indonesia is definitely a great place to visit for a food lover. The local cuisine is diverse, cheap and always tasty! Some other Indonesian dishes to try include nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodles), babi guling, rendang and nasi lemak.
After lunch, we visited the Puspaya Homestay, where we got to meet members of the local community, including the namesake – Mr Puspaya! Development Together Volunteers have stayed here in the past while they assisted with constructing an underground water storage tank for a local school. We were lucky enough to visit this school to learn firsthand what the impact of this water tank has had on the students and teachers. Previously, the bathrooms were unsanitary, as there was not sufficient water in the dry season to flush the toilets, or for students to wash their hands. However, the new water tank designed and constructed by Development Together Volunteers allows toilets to be flushed after each use, as well as providing water for them to wash their hands, and this has benefited the entire school community.
Finally, we were able to visit an animal sanctuary run by local resident, Bunda. She takes in unwanted and unwell animals to care for, including over 60 dogs! This sanctuary also doubles as an extracurricular centre where local students can spend some time to help with their schooling.
After this day was over, we were sad to be leaving, as we had both developed a much greater appreciation for the work that not only Development Together and their volunteers undertake, but also the work undertaken by BATI, and the contribution made by local community members when we are partnering with them. However, we are happy to know that next week Development Together will be sending another team of volunteers to Bali, and they will continue to do so in the years to come. We know that this will contribute to positive community development in the Kelecung Region.
If you would like to get involved in one of our projects in Indonesia, check out our website at: https://developmenttogether.com/location/indonesia/ or https://developmenttogether.com/contact/
A Guide to Physical and Mental Wellness While Volunteering Overseas
Participating in an internship abroad will be filled with adventure and the chance to experience all that your chosen destination has to offer. Visiting a country which is foreign to you, will encourage you to move outside of what you are familiar with and immerse yourself in a different cultural experience. Whilst this is great opportunity to grow as an individual, the team at Development Together recognizes that often our participants can encounter feelings of homesickness or loneliness. Committed to ensuring all of our trips are safe and secure, the health and mental wellness of our volunteers is our utmost concern.
So read on for our guide to how to look after your physical and mental wellness whilst volunteering abroad!
Before Leaving For Your Trip
Attend Two Briefing Sessions
Committed to ensuring each participant understands what to expect and is well prepared for their journey abroad, Development Together hosts two pre-departure briefing sessions. Attendance is essential and volunteers are given the opportunity to meet their supervisor and fellow participants, understand the project details, logistics of the trip and learn about relevant health and safety precautions. During these sessions, volunteers are encouraged to present any queries or concerns they may have before travelling.
During Your Trip
Have a Plan to Tackle Homesickness
Being away from your family and friends and experiencing unfamiliar customs and cuisines can be difficult, therefore it is common to face homesickness during your placement abroad. If you are missing home, there are a range of approaches we recommend to tackle it;
1. Pack your favourite snacks/treats from home; unfamiliar foods can be hard to adjust too when abroad, so we recommend all volunteers pack their favourite snacks to enjoy during your trip to make you feel more at home.
2. Follow your usual routine; during a busy day volunteering, it is important for our volunteers to make time for their regular routine. This could include a morning walk, yoga session, or talking to family on FaceTime. These activities will make you feel more at home in an unfamiliar destination.
3. Remind yourself why you chose to volunteer; homesickness can make it difficult to remain present and enjoy your time abroad, therefore we recommend writing in a daily journal about what you achieved and what was challenging, and remind yourself why you are volunteering for those in need.
Stay Hydrated and Prevent Illness
Many of the destinations that Development Together volunteer’s travel to include an extremely humid and hot climate, that your body may not be used too. Dehydration can cause serious harm to the body, and volunteers may be more receptive to becoming sick, making it challenging for you to carry out your volunteer work. The Development Together team provides all participants with 1 litre of clean drinking water, and provides guidance on how to look after your body should you become dehydrated, or suffer from “gastro” or “Bali belly”!
When You Return From Your Trip
Attend Debrief Session
Upon your return, all volunteers are encouraged to attend Development Together’s post-trip debrief session. During this session, you will be given the opportunity to openly express any concerns or feedback regarding your experience with the Development Together team and your time abroad. This allows volunteer’s a chance to provide valuable feedback that we can communicate with our in country partner’s to contribute to improving our internships and placements for future participants.
Contact The Development Together Team
Development Together is committed to ensuring the health and mental well-being of their participants, even after the completion of the trip. Upon your return, if you are still feeling unwell or low, it is important that you contact our team, we are able to recommend a counsellor for any ongoing concerns you may have.
For any other questions regarding our placements abroad, please contact us
#bethechange & #makeadifference
Indonesia In Focus
A breathtaking Island country located in South East Asia, Indonesia is best known for its beaches, volcanoes, Komodo dragons and jungles. As the country’s capital and largest city, Jakarta is an ever-growing metropolis. Home to over 255 million people, Bahasa Indonesia is the official language and has been adapted from Malay. If you’re travelling to Indonesia, expect a tropical, warm and humid temperature all year round as the country only experiences two distinct climates; dry season from April to October and the rainy season from November to March.
Wondering how to get around? We encourage you to use “Blue Bird Taxis”, they’re inexpensive and easily available, but remember to always ask the driver to use the meter. We also recommend trying the amazing food! Indonesia’s national dish is Nasi Goreng, which translates to rice fried. The dish is made using sweet thick soy sauce called kecap and garnished with pickled cucumbers and carrots. And don’t forget to try the satay chicken skewers!
Indonesia is home to a range of popular tourist experiences, great restaurants, and natural attractions, providing visitors with massive potential for adventure. When interning or volunteering with Development Together, the team is able to provide an extra week at the beginning or end of your placement if you wish to explore the country.
Below are our top 3 recommendations for your Indonesian adventure:
1. Gili Islands
If you’re looking to lay on sugar-white sand and swim in crystal clear water then hop on a fast boat from Bali and arrive at one of the Gili Islands. Experience the night-life and superior accommodation on Gili T, tradition and local character on Gili Meno, or a mix of both on Gili Air. Pick any of the three islands and enjoy swimming with the turtles, snorkeling or watching the sunset over the beach.
2. Tegallalang Rice Fields
Take a short 20-minute car ride from Ubud and experience one of Indonesia’s most popular rice fields. Take a walk through the cascading emerald-green pastures and watch local rice farmers, hop on their Instagram famous Tegallalang swing overlooking the fields, or enjoy a bite to eat at the restaurant.
3. Food Safari
Treat yourself at the end of your volunteer trip and experience a high-end dining tour with Bali Food Safari. From Seminyak delights to traditional Indonesian street food, the tour will serve up the best dishes and cocktails from a range of popular locales in Bali for you to enjoy.
Development Together currently offers internships and volunteer placements in rural Bali near the town of Amed, just 2 hours north of Kuta. Placements are suitable for Engineering, Environment, Urban Planning and Architecture university/college students OR professionals within these fields who are looking to give back to local communities and enhance their technical skills volunteering on a sustainable community development project.
Participants spend 3 or 4 weeks in Bali, in small groups of 5-10 individuals, working collaboratively within a team, alongside local staff, to review existing access to water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and facilities. Depending on personal preference, Development Together currently offers an All Female Group, led by an Australian Female Engineer, or volunteers can join our Mixed Group, also led by an Australian Engineer.
For our upcoming January 2020 internship, participants will partner with locals on the construction of water filtration systems for families in a village near Amed. We will also review current water access issues and potentially creating pipelines to move excess water from one village to another. To ensure the sustainability of the project, volunteers will develop and deliver the education and training on basic principles of water hygiene to local villagers.
Community members are consulted and get involved with and contribute towards the physical labor and design process. Development Together assists by providing most of the necessary financial funding required to complete this project.
During the internship, participants are supported by the Development Together Australian team and our local partners in Indonesia who provide interpreting and community facilitation guidance, along with the necessary technical support.
If you would like to get involved in one of our projects in Indonesia, check out our website at: https://developmenttogether.com/location/indonesia/ or https://developmenttogether.com/contact/
Top 5 Reasons to Travel Solo!
1. Meeting new people
Going overseas by yourself allows you the opportunity to meet other like-minded travellers and locals. Travelling by yourself make it easier for others to approach you and for you to approach others. It is also a great opportunity to chat to locals and immerse yourself in the local culture, which is harder to do in a group setting.
2. You can go where you want, when you want
When travelling in a group, you are constrained as the group may want to undertake activities that you aren’t interested in and vice versa. When you’re by yourself, you are able to make your own plans that suit you. It also gives you the opportunity to meet new companions and form new groups
3. Your self-confidence will improve
Solo travel throws you into the deep end, and while it can seem quite daunting, travelling alone can help you become a more confident person. Eventually it becomes more natural to talk to others and this self confidence is a worthy skill, long after your holiday has concluded.
4. You’ll feel an immense sense of achievement!
Travelling alone requires a lot of courage, it can be hard to take the leap, but once you do, you’ll realise just how rewarding the experience is. Especially if you are volunteering overseas, you’ll be able to see the difference that you’re making in others lives by giving back to those less fortunate.
5. You’ll learn more about yourself
Travelling solo allows you a lot of time for thinking and reflection, giving you the chance to experience a degree of new experiences. This often gives us a chance to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses, and discover new interests that you didn’t even know you had!
Development Together Placements provide a fantastic opportunity for solo travellers to travel abroad and meet like-minded volunteers from all over the world. Our placements allow you to use your expertise to develop solutions for issues facing local communities in need, while giving you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and have an unforgettable experience. To find out more, visit www.developmenttogether.com or email email@example.com.