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UAlbany Students from Third World Impact Travel to Uganda to Make a Difference

Third World Impact Goal: To Serve as Good Citizens of the World

Third World Impact is giving children a brighter future in Wairaka, Uganda. (Photo, courtesy of The Giving Circle) 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 16, 2011) -- Four University at Albany students from the nationally recognized community service group Third World Impact are in Uganda for two weeks, teaching classes on hygiene, health, and HIV-AIDS prevention, and starting the process of building a primary school in Wairaka, a small village in Jinja.

Third World Impact and The Giving Circle of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., are in Uganda courtesy of their first-place showing in the Newman’s Own Foundation national campus community service challenge. The two groups partnered to win $25,000 to build a primary school (kindergarten through fourth grade) that will educate more than 500 village children.

“We have already bought the land for the school and finished the construction of a playground for the village kids,” said UAlbany senior and Third World Impact President Nishtha Modi, director of the Uganda project at the University. “This playground will be a part of the primary school. We built the playground first so the village kids could have a place to enjoy their childhood and be kids again.” Construction of the school is scheduled to be completed by the end of summer, 2012.

Modi is joined on the trip by UAlbany students Catherine Cooley, Umaru Barrie, and Natalie Wallace. They are posting stories about their experiences in Uganda on the Third World Impact blog.

Shortly after her arrival in Uganda, Modi taught a class on HIV-AIDS prevention at a middle school in Jinja, and helped distribute food cooked by team members in a secondary school kitchen. “The children’s eyes brightened when they saw the white bread with soup,” wrote Modi in her blog.

“Most of the kids at the school come from families who can’t afford to either pay for their school or food. Most of them, if they are lucky, eat once a day,” wrote Modi, adding this gave her a new perspective on the abundant food resources Americans take for granted.

She said that even people in professional jobs like teaching only make $85 a month in Uganda, not enough to provide basic necessities for their families.

The UAlbany students arrived in Uganda on August 7 and are to return on Aug. 19.

Third World Impact has worked with the non-profit Giving Circle for two years and helped them raise money to build an orphanage in Uganda called the Koi Koi house, to house 30 HIV-positive orphans. Modi helped out at the orphanage last summer and realized after that trip that building a primary school was something TWI could do for the children in partnership with The Giving Circle.

After the school is built, UAlbany students will have a chance to go and teach at the school for a semester, a year, or just the summer. The idea is to keep UAlbany students, faculty, and staff members involved and giving back to the school as part of their commitment to making a positive global impact.

“The only way to improve the quality of life in a village like Wairaka is through education, and UAlbany students and The Giving Circle are determined to do that,” Modi wrote in an e-mail from Uganda.

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