Our next Uganda trip will be October 2015 and all applications should go to Stuart@zest4kidz.com
We hope you can join us on an upcoming trip to Uganda. We believe it will be a blessing for both the children you work with and for you yourself.
Trips to Uganda cost €2,100. This cost includes all the basics like your flights, transport, accommodation & food. It also covers administration costs and the cost of running the camp allowing us to provide the camps free for all the children attending.
Next trip dates are to be confirmed.
If you would like to be informed of any upcoming trips, please fill in your details in our contact form at the right of the screen and we will get back to you!
To apply for an upcoming trip to Uganda, please return the following forms to us:
A completed application form, a completed Garda vetting form, a signed copy of the Zest4Kidz Child Protection Policy and a signed copy of the “About the Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages” document. These are all available here:
For more information on trips please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Stories From Uganda
Zest4Kidz work with former child-soldiers and children with disabilities in Uganda. For former child soldiers we provide counseling, training to Ugandan counselors, summer camps, vocational training, and community development schemes. Our goal is to help war- affected children make positive transitions back into their communities and villages. Another forgotten group of children in Uganda are those who suffer from disabilities. Often seen as cursed in their communities, Zest4Kidz has joined the mission to see these children receive medical aid and education and in 2012 will celebrate the opening of our disability home.
Trips to Uganda support this project work providing a tangible hope for the kids, letting them know that they are not alone. Trips involve training of Ugandan counselors, summer fun camps (sports & crafts) and needs assessments.
Hey I’m Daniel Broderick!
I’m 17 in 5th year in school and have been on two kids trips to Uganda with Zest4kidz. When I say kids trips, I mean full on working and playing with anyone between 4 and 19 years old. I went on my 1st trip October 2010 all over Uganda for 10 days. Mostly visiting schools and centres for former child soldiers. It was AMAZING hearing all their stories. The kids there are basically abducted at whatever age and forced to do unspeakable things. They often have to kill a family member , a younger sibling , a parent, so that they come to believe that they have nowhere to escape to , if they escape the LRA rebel army. They are then put through the process of drugs , manipulation and conditioning of their brains, and killing, in order to protect their own lives. The girls are used as child brides and sex slaves to the soldiers of higher rank and after a while these children become so brainwashed that they begin to associate killing , with rewards such as girls and drugs. Girls showed me the scars on their arms and I couldn’t help but wince at the sight of burn marks all over their flesh.
Shocked , I asked how they got such scars , and they looked down in shame. “We didn’t do what they told us.” These were kids. Real children. And they were not given the fighting chance in life. One young boy told me that while trekking through the jungle the soldiers would stop and ask , “are you tired”. If any boy was fatigued enough to make the mistake of saying yes, he would be promptly taken into a secluded spot and shot in the head. For muttering one innocent word. And after all this , there is hope yet for these children. Each child has their own story , an incredible tale of escape from the rebels or just a sheer miracle. One boy kept telling me that “God saved me.” Few manage an escape , and many arn’t accepted back into their communities.
But there is hope yet. Zest4Kidz sees the injustice against these innocent children , sees the amount they’ve been through and do everything in their power to help. They sponser these kids through school and buy vocational equipment for children like these. (I didn’t know what vocational meant either!) Sewing machines, Basket weaving equipment, brick laying and carpentry tools etc. They bestow dignity back to these people, allowing them to start earning themselves. They offer a hand up , not a hand out!
Our primary job on the trips was not to go council kids , or teach them to earn a living , bring home the bacon (or goat.) But just to have fun! I ended up somehow in charge of the football and sports in the sweatin heat of the trip and arts and crafts as well. We brought over anything we could think of that would bring fun to these kids, becuase that’s what they are! Kids!! People when volunteering are like , awh man , what great thing will i bring over, I’ll get a degree and teach them , I’ll learn the guitar and sing to them , or blah blah . So much of the time , these guys just need someone to go out and make a fool of themselves. ITS NOT THAT HARD! I collected over 200 old jerseys in the school and brought them out to the kids and they were ecstatic! For small children, i mean no older than 8 , who don’t have the mildest possesion to their name, that is big.
Annd ohh moma , the difference you make. Thats the million dollar cliché question you get at the end, did you make a difference. Of course we flippin did , maybe not to the whole world but to that one kid who got a new wheelchair. We did . Or to those 200 kids who got a new jersey . We did . To the countless children sponsered through rehab on their disability. Yeaah we did. Not only that, but you get to show the people out there that the rest of the world has NOT forgotten about them. They are no less valuable then anyone else , and so often they need to know that. Going back to the all the schools , you have kids running up to the car and banging on the doors with massive smiles on their faces just waiting to shake your hand or touch your hair. (If you’re a girl)
Without a doubt. It changes you. Its a culture shock of course, a patch of monkeys holding up traffic. But theres something a lot bigger . Its one of the most humbling experiences in the world. Serving people who don’t get service. Going into the back ends of nowhere, and playing conga line with deaf kids, or even the ever classic duck duck goose. Since leaving the airport , last August , it has been on the top of my heart , and the forefront of my mind, and i cannot wait to return this Summer. 8 weeks of non stop kids, showing them de craic, and letting them know that they’re loved.
If anyone would consider something like this, you’d be a bit rediculously surprised how easy it is ! Anyone whos like “ahh , i have no skills” , then get over it , because skills arn’t what are always needed with Zest4Kidz. Whats needed is a big heart for children , and a leap of courage to get out of that comfort zone. Zest4kidz have trips during the Summer for 10 days or so, check out Zest4Kidz.com for all the information.