ISV Leader Elliot Smith Volunteers in Uganda

by Narelle Webber on Thursday, 7 February 2013

Between seasons, ISV leader Elliott Smith assisted locals at an orphanage in Western Uganda © all images used with permission by Elliott Smith

Elliot Smith first volunteered with ISV in December 2009 in South Africa where he was later hired as a project leader in 2011, then as an ISV tour leader in New Zealand in 2012.  Prior to returning to South Africa to lead tours for our November to February groups, Elliot went to Uganda to assist with humanitarian efforts. Here’s his story – I’m sure you’ll agree it’s an inspiring one.

“Many people wonder what ISV leaders do during their time-off between seasons. Before the November to February season in South Africa, Elliot Smith spent two months helping a dilapidated orphanage in a desolate rural community in Western Uganda.

Using Indiegogo (an ISV recommended fundraising website) Elliot raised over USD$5,000 to help underprivileged orphans and the local rural community.

With the assistance of a Ugandan local, Elliot identified vital issues that needed attending to which included the physical health of the orphans, schooling, fresh drinking water, malaria prevention, food, clothing and the status of HIV/AIDS.

Elliott raised over USD $5,000 to help underprivileged orphans and the local rural community

A major concern for Elliot’s was the health of the children as none of them had ever been vaccinated or visited a doctor. So, with the help of some local nurses he had all the children vaccinated to the national Ugandan standard.  A visit to the doctor saw each orphan have a comprehensive medical check-up and tested for HIV/AIDS, which all came back negative (a welcome surprise for a country ravaged by this deadly virus).

After 2 months at the orphanage, Elliot managed to install a bore-hole for fresh drinking water, planted a vegetable garden, donated a medical kit with malaria testing kits and anti-malarials and ensured each orphan had their own bed equipped with mosquito nets. Additionally he fixed a water tank to collect rainwater, repaired the solar power system, purchased clothes so each orphan had more than one set of clothes and provided schooling supplies for the children.

The health of the children was a major concern, as none had ever been vaccinated or seen a doctor.

Elliot also had the opportunity to visit a refugee camp housing Congolese and Sudanese citizens fleeing their respective war torn countries. A donation of 500 HIV testing strips was given to an organization working inside the camp for a free-testing day.

During the rest of his time in Uganda, Elliot spent time exploring the country they call the “Pearl of Africa’. Whether it was trekking mountain gorillas, rafting the River Nile, getting up, close and personal to Rhino’s, or hiking through rainforests, Elliot fell in love with Uganda and its people. So much in fact that at the end of this ISV season he is going back!”

Thanks Elliot.  ISV has some incredible group leaders and Elliot is a shining example and an inspiration to his colleagues and those who are fortunate to have him as their leader.  Elliot will be returning to Southern Africa to lead this year’s May to September programs also.




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