To appreciate the ‘beauty in the ugly’ you have to understand the world through its people…explore a land unfamiliar from your own and appreciate its cultural beauty by meeting the people that belong to the land, talk to them, see how they live, eat locally grown food and experience firsthand how one simple conversation, sharing your ideas, skills, knowledge, contacts, resources and volunteering your time can leave a life changing imprint on people’s lives…leaving you with memories to last a life time..
I have so many memories’ that I will cherish forever, but on my first trip to Uganda there was so much to do but in so little time, we hardly had time to stop and take a picture but one particular day we decided to bring out the bubbles and face paint…the home was full of laughter the entire day! The children had never seen bubbles before, they loved it! Each having a turn to blow bubbles while the other children ran around trying to catch them, they did this for hours!
My face painting is limited to clowns & random cat like tigers so one by one i painted their faces but little Brenda was scared of the face paint, she didn’t want me to touch her face but the other children encouraged her to join in, she still wasn’t happy & didn’t understand what I was doing to her face so I ran to get my compact to show her how cute she looked… pure silence… confusion at first then none stop chatter, they all crowded over me to take a look into the mirror… all looking into the mirror, then at each other & then back into the mirror trying to understand that it was a reflection of themselves….waw!…in that moment everything was put into perspective (I’m so thankful Kelly Wallace from Ugly Duckling was there volunteering with me to capture this moment & feeling that I will never forget)…they had never seen what they looked like before! I hadn’t realized but in the slums…mirrors are luxury items!…it’s the little things…
LIUU’s made me realize how easy it is to change the life of another, just in our everyday lives…we often forget the value of our circumstances, we live a life full off resources, contacts and knowledge or simply by spreading awareness you yourself can help…volunteer your time & elevate lives! This was the inspiration behind “Conscious Traveler” to give other like minded individuals an opportunity to become part of the LIUU team, only with our collective efforts can we sustain the home and empower these children (elevating their lives) but we can’t do it on our own, we need your contacts, skills, resources or time to achieve this.
For more information on how to become a conscious traveler or to join the LIUU team, please feel free to contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org
February 2012– onwards
Volunteer Community Engagement
Coordinator for LIU Uganda
I spent my Spring Break returning to Uganda to visit the children homed by the ‘Live It Up Uganda’ charity—a home for abandoned children. I had previously spent 10 days with them in December, helping decorate their new home and celebrate their first ever Christmas.
I got involved with the Charity because, after 6 years in Dubai, still feeling fortunate and blessed with the wonderful lifestyle I have, I also felt I wanted to do something to help others not as lucky as I am!
I have had some amazing holidays, but decided to put future holiday plans on hold and use my spare time helping a worthy cause.
This visit, we had a big joint birthday party for ALL the children, as they do not know when their birthdays are. I also spent time decorating, making games, cooking and playing with the children. I was very grateful for the kind donations the EY2B children made – I took piles of clothes, toys, books, along with personal letters our class had written to them.
It has made my class reflect on what they have and they have become more sensitive to the needs of others, whilst educating them about cultures around the world. The children at both ends are genuinely keen to learn about each other! The children in Uganda have nothing in the way of personal memorabilia, so when they received the letters, cards and photos from my class, they truly treasured them and were so touched knowing that others DO care!
Dec 2012 / April 2013
Sarah Bennett, EY2B Teacher
I truly believe what Marcel Proust said regarding the aim of travelling: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes”. This is what comes to my mind when I think about being a conscious traveller: you just need to keep your eyes wide open, make an effort to see even if you don’t want to see and especially, you need to challenge all stereotypes, preconceptios, fears that may prevent you to be your real self in a stranger field. Being a conscious traveller means travelling with your mind but especially with your heart, and when you realize that you start to love unconditionally people you have never met before, or people who don’t belong to your life or nationality you get to understand that you may bring something special in someone’s life.
This is what happened to me during my very first visit to the orphaned kids of Kampala: I let myself go and I felt like my heart was overwhelmed with so much love, good energy, and joy. Those little kids saw me the very first time in their lives, yet they were willing to give and receive so much love, affection, especially willing to put their lives in someone’s hands, ready to trust again. That day I felt something special, and I felt I could give so much to them, and that my little help maybe could mean the world to them.
It is an experience that changes you forever and doesn’t leave you untouched. On my second visit I was so happy to see them in good shape, always smiling and willing to play, and I am still impressed of how educated, kind and respectful they are no matter what they have been going through.
I want to thank Anouchka for inspiring me so much on my first trip and for being such a perfect example of high committment and unconditional love. Thanks also to all the ladies I had the pleasure to meet, especially Jaja’s with her great strenght and divine love, and thank to all those kids, to their strenght, to their unique willing to live and survive: you all just motivated me to be a better person, to let the best come out of me.
I will do my best to keep helping this foundation and especially to raise awarness towards the kids and the need for donations and sponsors. May God bless you all.
A friend and I went to LIUU’ s home for children in October of 2012. To say it was life changing doesn’t quite cut it.
We met some of the most gracious, humble, happiest, affectionate, loving, caring people that I have ever had the pleasure to spend time with, who despite having little in terms of possession, had far more to give in their personalities and presence alone.
Although we were there to help them learn and develop their skills, I think by the time we left we had learnt just as much as they had in terms of lifelong lessons and values.
Jaja and the whole team have quite literally saved the lives of these children, who have gone from a very unpromising future to endless opportunities.”
Having grown up in India , I thought I was desensitized to things like poverty , homelessness and the likes. I have always been a supporter of LIUU , helping in my own little ways but never found myself emot ionally involved. That is untill I had the oppurtunity to actually visit the children last month. As soon as I drove in I knew I was a goner! They had me hook , line and sinker! The amount of innocent and unconditional love that radiated from these little beings is something one needs to personally experience to understand.
I spent a few hours at the home just playing around and dancing with the kids. They even taught me a few African dance moves. I also spent some time with two of the older girls , Garce and Sylvia. I realized they are like any other teenagers with dreams and ambitions. Sylvia wants to be midwife and Grace wants to study Internatinal relations. It was good to know that they are so motivated. Little Kevin, all of seven is a pro when it comes to cameras. He figured out how to use my camera within seconds and and spent the rest of the evening taking pictures. These children are capable of doing and becoming anything they dream of. They just need a little more motivation, encouragement and plenty of love. They need more role models in thier lives and thats where the Conscious travellers come in. I encourage everyone to spare some time and visit the home. It’s a heart warming experience and may even change your life.
When I came to Africa for my first time, I didn’t expect much more of it than from other countries. Beautiful nature and exotic animals was my imagination, but it came totally different and beyond my expectations.I have never been to an orphanage before and this visit should change my thoughts completely.
I left the car and 5 children ran promptly into me and wanted to be hugged.They don’t care who you are or where you are coming from, they are just happy that you are there.I brought some bananas with me from a market close by and the kids where more than happy about it and couldn’t have enough of it. We played a lot of games after they were so excited about to show me their house, chickens and dining room. They couldn’t believe how many tattoos i have and were exploring those.
The children are happy with that what they have, because they don’t know how it would be if its different or what other people have. The nutrition consist often of rice, potatoes, bananas etc. and as toys two skipping rope’s It was one of the biggest experience in my life. I’m very thankful that this was possible to see and feel and get clear about their needs. Special thanks to Nidhi who made this possible for me.
They might not have much but they are full of love to give. I felt loved. After all it was a sad moment to leave. It is really a visit worth it.
On my visit to Uganda i decided to visit Live it up Uganda,few days back , I was extremely impressed! The dedication and unity among the staff was wonderful. The children are cared for in a loving, family-based environment. They are happy children that enjoy their lives here at their home. The care of the children is well thought out and even the meals are planned to give the children the best opportunity to grow and develop.Running an orphanage is such a huge commitment and the financial struggles are large.
The sponsorship, donations and grants are spent wisely however they do not cover the cost of running the orphanage. Personally, it is satisfying to see that the money is spent on the children but overwhelming to see how much more could be done if there were more sponsors and donations. I would encourage anyone that would like to assist the Live it up Uganda Home to do so. It does change the lives of children here.Please donate anything you can offer,it might be your free time,food,clothes etc.
Can’t wait to see those 27 smiles again!I miss them already!
September, 2012Anastasia Natasha Malandrenia
After hearing many stories about the children from Anouchka, I decided to travel with her to Uganda over the Eid weekend to visit Jaja and the children. From the moment I first met the children I fell in love with all of them. Not only are they all gorgeous, they are all so full of life and happy. I laughed along and played games with them all day. I was amazed at how they all stick together and look after each other like brothers and sisters. The days passed so fast and I was sad to have to say good-bye. I had the opportunity to visit Uganda a few years ago and go white water rafting on the Nile River. This was an amazing adventure that I would definitely like to do again next time I visit the children through LIUU conscious traveler.
One of the things on my bucket list was to go and experience how to be a volunteer in an orphanage.
I am a person of few words. Its hard for me to explain the feelings after visiting the home for the children in Uganda.
The children are so beautiful and playful. But when you look in their eyes you can feel their cries for help. It was heart breaking when I left.
I applaud the ladies who I met there. They are doing a fantastic jobs, specially the organizers.If anyone will read this short message, please give even a little time of yours to these children and you will know what I am trying to say.
Special thank you to Ada for her warm hospitality. You are great. God bless you and your family.
It was a pleasure to meet Jaja,
For me, “Live it up Uganda” was an experience further enriched by the fact that it was shared with my Mum, she traveled an 11 hour flight from Perth Western Australia. It was a Mother Daughter experience. Most full filling and heart warming to share such an emotional time together. We were each others support during out time there.
We didn’t know what to expect and what we would find, we tried to keep an open mind about it all. When we arrived at the home……wow what a welcoming did we get!!!! There is these adorable, happy children waving to us and smiling with a smile so innocent. I was in awe and shock for a couple of hours but then when you see the children looking up at you with their big brown eyes it was overwhelming feeling that come over and shower them with love. All they wanted was affection and attention. There was no way you can not give it them. Once i picked up Regina i knew I was meant to be there and give them all the care i could.
Two of the most memorable experiences i took away from the time in Uganda was when i bathed nearly 12 children. Ive never done that even with my own baby cousins so this was one of my best memories. Bathing them one by one showing them how to wash their hair, how to dry off properly was such a simple thing but so heart warming. This is something we take for granted showering each day but to these kids its a brand new experience. Another experience was when we did face painting. I painted their face with different animals, flowers and patterns. When i took them to show them what i had done they couldn’t stop looking at them selves. At first i was watching them but couldn’t understand why they couldn’t stop looking at their reflection. My Mum then pointed out that maybe they hadn’t or seldom seen their reflection let alone see their faces painted. I wiped off the paint on their faces and sat with them while they just looked at them selves.
It is very hard to put into words my experience. I encourage you to all go and share your time with them. Only then will you know what the feeling is that im trying to explain. You will leave knowing that this wont be your last time and you will be back.
One of my best experience in life is my trip to Uganda.The children were amazing & I learned a lot that day , before i meet jaja i found out she loves chicken so we bought her 2 live chicken and i learned how to kill it the traditional way ,the experience i acquired is to remember forever . The house they live in is a simple house full of family love.
I spent one day in the Live it up Uganda foundation house playing with the kids.Even thou it was only a short time, it was very difficult to tear myself away. I can’t wait to go back to see them again! It was such an inspiring and joyful experience, really unforgettable. The kids are happy smiling , friendly and have a very positive attitude towards life and and people who visit them. They really appreciate every affection from volunteers, even if it is just playing with them, singing songs or teaching them the alphabet. They all live together as a big, loving, supportive family but they still need a lot to make their future better. Basic things, like toys, books, paper, pencils, toiletries, bedsheets, towels, a radio, television, amenities for the little ones and the girls. Also practical help would be needed, such as teaching english, helping with homework, cooking, gardening, building.
Thanks to the Live it up foundation and its enthusiast and helpful volunteers these kids have been given a chance for a better future. I hope to continue supporting the kids and I recommend it as a fantastic place to volunteer and donate to.
Hi.. My name is Yoke , from West Malaysia, work colleague of Anouchka. Recently, I had the privilege of going on a work trip with Anouchka and ended up having a great day with Nicki (another colleague of ours) and her at the foundation..The children got even more excited when they realised Anouchka was visiting and every child kept spreading her name to one another and all the kids came out to greet us. The feeling of being welcome the moment with enter the homes was over whelming.. the kids whom we have never met before , was rushing and welcoming Nicki and me with a huge big hugs (almost toppling me over as I didnt expect the hugs) and then one after another started rushing to us Although Anouchka, Nicki and me were tired from our flight a few hours ago, the moment we saw the kids all the tiredness vanished and we were all happily playing and making up stories and games with them. Photos were taken, songs were sang, games were played indoors (as it was raining before hand therefore we could not spend the day outside), even visited the chicken house and had all the kids showing me before Anouchka and Nicki came to join us.
One good memory for me was when the kids ( Miriam and Veronique had fun playing with my hair and I didn’t have the heart to tell them to stop even though they were pulling hard; both of them have the thrill of seeing my long hair) and Anouchka had to stop them. I would never forget the memories of them admiring my hair. Looking back at the photos found in the website or the photographs tha I have taken, and remember what I have seen and share with them; have brought back lots of good memories and i do miss them even though we had only spent about 5 hours with them. I do hope that I would have another chance to visit them again and share more good memories . Knowing and meeting the kids have brought good feelings to my soul… and when I, myself are feeling down… I will think of them and strive to make myself better. The children are all happy and friendly and knowing that they are being looked after by good samaritians out there is a great feeling. GOD bless all who have brought goodness for the children.
Thank you, Anouchka for giving Nicki and me this opportunity to share this experience with you; may GOD bless your kind heart too!
Yoke Kheng Ho
My name is Alin Saenz and I am from Mexico City. Last February I had the opportunity to visit the Live it Up uganda house on a short trip to Uganda. It all started through my friend Anouchka who is my work colleague and who talked to me about this amazing project.
The way I participated was by helping bringing down to the house diapers, medication and some of the paints and other materials that are to be used for the kids’ development and recreation, all of which was donated by sponsors.
I also had the opportunity to talk about Live it Up to some of my work colleagues working with me that day and they were really happy to come along. Spreading the word about it is really important and on that day it proved very useful as we managed to collect a small donation of money and we spent time playing with the kids, getting to know them and the staff and having a tour around what at that time was the beginning of an amazing dream coming true. We saw the great potential each and every kid has, this incredible energy they spread around, the kindness of the people working on the project and yet all the hard work that needs to be done at the house.
I am also very happy to have introduced Asim Janjua to the team. He designed an amazing T-shirt for the NGO’s merchandise used to raise funds.
I hope to have the chance to participate further more in the near future as little actions like this can make a big difference in both one’s personal life and the future of another human being.
Thanks to Yasemin for creating Live it Up Uganda, all my admiration and respect.