I visited Uganda with the DoubleMe team in 2014 to train and work alongside teachers in Kampala and Tororo. Although we were only there for just over two weeks, the people I met and the things I experienced have left a lasting impression on me.
The main thing that has stuck with me is the plight of teachers across East Africa. Here teaching is a profession that is often viewed with indifference and even disdain. Therefore they receive little (sometimes no) pay and very little respect. Training is minimal. As a result, they struggle to make ends meet and many cannot even afford basic transport, so they walk to work. This can be miles over rough terrain. I could not get over the joy on one teacher’s face when we handed her a bicycle. Not an expensive, fancy bike, just a run-of-the-mill basic model. She was delighted.
The memory of her happily lit up face played over and over in my mind throughout the rest of our time in Uganda and set me thinking. I wanted to do something, so I prayed. As I prayed I got the idea to ‘walk a week in their shoes’ and that is what I am doing. This summer I will be walking to work for a week, a distance of 5 miles each way. On top of the usual demands of teaching 30 children each day and helping to run a school, this will not be easy, but it is what my fellow teachers in Uganda (and in other countries across the world) do every day; and I will only be doing it for a week.
We can very simply change the life of a teacher by giving them a gift of a bike which will shorten their travel time enormously. It costs £60 – we can do that, can’t we?
I would greatly appreciate it if you would support me. There are three ways in which you can do this.
– that the governments of East Africa recognise that these amazing people deserve a fair wage.
– that I have the energy to complete my walk each day and teach my class well.