SPRINGVILLE — After traveling nearly 7,000 miles back from Kyotera, Uganda, a volunteer group from Daemen College recently returned to Western New York.
The six-member group, made up of Daemen faculty, students and alumni, embarked New Year’s Eve from Buffalo for a two-week volunteer trip in the southern region of Uganda. While there, the team assisted the Bethlehem Parent School and Orphanage, which serves more than 600 children, including many orphans who depend on the school for both education and survival.
“Lacking resources, electricity and modern conveniences, it was apparent the school is in dire need of support,” said Justine Tutuska, department chair and assistant professor of health care studies, who organized the trip. “In addition to offering clothing donations and facilitating workshops on HIV/AIDS prevention and women’s health issues, we supplied several solar-powered lamps that, after being charged in the sun during the day, can provide up to 10 hours of light. This gift of light will allow for evening reading, studying and outdoor safety, during nighttime hours.”
The Uganda excursion marked the third international service learning trip for Daemen student Ashley Nesselbush, of Springville, a senior health care studies major, who learned about the opportunity in Tutuska’s class.
“Taking time out of everyday life to give to others is so important for personal growth,” said Nesselbush, adding that she previously participated in trips to Ghana and Tanzania. “Volunteering abroad teaches me how to respect other cultures [that are] different from my own, increases my awareness of global issues and empowers me to create positive change in the communities I work in.”
The Daemen group also worked side-by-side with members of the BPS community to lay bricks as part of a small expansion project at the girl’s dormitory.
“Having life-changing experiences like this trip to Uganda are essential to my success as a student and as a future professional,” said Nesselbush.