Fifteen students from Texas A&M University at Qatar and another three from the University’s main campus in College Station, Texas, have recently returned from a service trip to Bujagali Falls, Uganda, where they taught children at local schools and established a fishing shelter for the community’s fishing farms.
The team worked throughout the trip with the Supporting Opportunities for Ugandans to Learn (Soul Foundation), an organisation fostering sustainable and vibrant Ugandan communities through improving education, women’s empowerment, food security and health.
The students raised a total of QR7,300 prior to their trip and donated the funds to the Ugandan village and the Soul Foundation’s work there.
When the students learnt of a water dam in the village that was disrupting fishing and tourism they worked with the Soul Foundation to establish a fishing shelter so that local fishermen could protect their farms.
Reflecting on the trip, participants said they hoped to have helped the community they visited.
While Fatima Raja, a chemical engineering student, described their experience as humbling,
Nabil Ahmed, an electrical engineering student, added: “The trip gave me the unique opportunity to experience Africa and more importantly, allowed me to give something back to their community. The locals were very friendly, hospitable and did their best to make us feel at home.”
“Looking back, the trip helped me learn about a foreign culture, develop as an individual and instilled important values in me. I won’t be able to take small luxuries in life for granted anymore,” he added.
The university’s programme co-ordinator for student engagement Rachel White said the trip was the first joint service trip between Texas A&M at Qatar and the university’s main campus.
“We’re excited to continue building opportunities for students on both campuses to learn and grow through serving others,” she said.from gulf times.