This month, our charity of the month is a little different, we are supporting East Africa Playgrounds and supporting a good friend of the magazine, Leanne Hearnden, a former intern at RH Uncovered who is swapping life in the South East of England for a stint volunteering in the East of Africa.
East African Playgrounds is an international development charity that strives to ensure every child accesses their right to a childhood. The charity takes a child-centred approach to education and uses the power of play to transform the lives of vulnerable children in East Africa through specialised play programmes. These are implemented in refugee settlements, hospitals and community schools.
The programmes include training and play-based teaching, and use the environment around them, teachers and carers, as well as community leaders to help a child’s development. The scheme hopes to help the community to engage in play with children at home, whilst also providing outdoor play spaces. Each project utilises local materials to construct high-quality, safe and fun playgrounds.
This summer, Leanne will head to Uganda in East Africa where she will spend a week helping to build a playground. She says: “Personally the experience means a lot to me because I have always wanted to take part in a big volunteer project, where I get to work on the results, and I think it will be such a huge eye-opener.’
“Once we have finished building the playground, we get to have a day of celebration with the children and I cannot wait to see the look on their faces when they see the playground we have helped to build for them. I will be travelling with other volunteers from my university, and two of my house mates!”
The East African Playgrounds programme is proven to make for happier children, reduce anti-social behaviour, improve developmental skills, including social, physical, cognitive and emotional, and better school attendance as well as class concentration and boost problem solving skills. Already the charity has built more than 200 playgrounds and reached more than 300,000 vulnerable children.
Leanne said: “I love how the charity is helping children in refugee camps. Bidi Bidi is hosting the world’s largest refugee camp, in Uganda. Over 270,000 people have escaped conflict and famine in South Sudan and have gone to Bidi Bidi, 80% of which are children. They take 1,000 new refugees daily. These children are overcome with trauma and East African Playgrounds wants to help them.’
“I think this would help so much as your childhood has such a dramatic effect on the rest of your life, and the way East African Playgrounds is implementing something good and fun. It also provides an escape for children who have experienced traumas most of us couldn’t even begin to understand, it is simply amazing!”
Leanne, 22, grew-up in Crawley and went to school at Thomas Bennett Community College, she is currently studying Digital Arts (with a Year in Industry) at the University of Kent in Canterbury. She has just finished a year-long placement at Debenhams where she was a digital designer, creating website and email artwork. The student says: “I chose to raise money for East African Playgrounds because it is an amazing cause which helps to improve the lives of children in Uganda. I was shocked to hear that in many communities across East Africa, children spend time out of school looking for work or helping with chores at home.”
To donate, visit the funding page HERE
Giving Children Of East Africa A Childhood
By making a donation to East African Playgrounds you can help to give a child a childhood.
- £5 a month could build a seesaw once a year
- £15 a month could fund the resources for the educational play training programme for a year
- £30 a month could provide full apprentice training to a young welder for a year
- £25 could provide toy animals for the children to play on
- £100 could fund one-month educational play programme
- £250 could give the children a climbing frame