Volunteer testimonials

Yofafo is privileged to have hosted a number of wonderful volunteers from all over the world. Here are just a few:

 

Amy Marshall – Australia

From the moment I met Valence, and then again when I met Doreen, all my fears dissipated. YOFAFO is the NGO everyone dreams of working for. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect. But Valence and Doreen are such talented leaders, genuine human beings, and generous visionaries, it doesn’t matter. They are open to new ideas, have an uncanny way of making phenomenal things happen, are full of hope and dedication, and are always 10 steps ahead of themselves. One of the strongest indications of the impact YOFAFO is having in Uganda is the support it has from the communities themselves. No matter how little money people have, no matter how much work they have to do, community members will be out in force wearing their YOFAFO t-shirts and a big smile whenever they are needed. There is much to do, even more to learn. So what are you waiting for?
Amy Marshall, 28, Australia, April – July 2012.

 

Selma Kafedzic – New Zealand

Many people have expectations of what Africa is and until I set foot on the continent, I had all sorts of preconceived ideas as well. The first twenty four hours in Uganda were definitely challenging but by the time my all too short stint ended, I did not want to leave. The wonderful thing about YOFAFO, Valance and Doreen is that you truly experience community living in Uganda; there is no way to get a better impression of how the people in Lugazi and surrounds live then to live there with them, which is what we did. The work that Valance and Doreen do through YOFAFO is inspiring, rewarding and ultimately, effective. Not only does Valance have an incredible vision, he has the discipline and passion to make his visions into a reality. This combined with enthusiastic volunteers and the hard working but always smiling locals is a recipe for achieving incredible results. Put simply, YOFAFO actually changes people’s lives. I can honestly say that there was not one thing I didn’t enjoy on my trip. Sure, things are different and sometimes very challenging. But if you keep your mind open and take everything for what it is, you will have the most incredible time. I have volunteered in other parts of the world as well, but I can honestly say that my entire experience with YOFAFO was by far the one from which I learnt the most. They say that some people leave their hearts in Uganda, I certainly left mine there with Valance, Doreen, Jo & Beth and the entire community. I went to Uganda to see what I could do to help but in return, my life was more enriched than I could have ever anticipated. You will never regret going there, so go!
Selma Kafedzic, New Zealand, April – July 2012.

 

Sarah Newhall – United States

I traveled to Uganda without knowing what to expect, I’d seen pictures and heard stories, but those just don’t compare. YOFAFO opened my eyes to a whole new world; I never thought I’d meet such beautiful people in my entire life. The children at the schools and in the villages stole my heart, I definitely learned more from them than they learned from me. They welcomed me into their homeland and shared their stories, they made me grateful for everything I’ve ever had and showed me that there is more to life than material items. My favorite memory from the entire trip was standing at one of the schools, peering into the concrete classrooms with cut-out windows as the teachers taught and just noticing how much life there was – when I looked at the kids learning, they were just so genuine and happy. I had just turned 18 years old and graduated high school when I visited Uganda, and ever since then I’ve become a more determined person to accomplish my goals and become a better part of society. I see the world so much differently now, I see the potential in the world now. There’s so much in this universe that the mind will never understand fully until it is experienced in person, and the only regret I will ever have is not staying longer. Sarah Newhall, United States, June 2011

 

Maddy Burns – United States

Where to begin? Uganda is my true home. I’ve been wanting to go to Uganda since I was a 12 year old girl, and finally my parents said yes after my first year of college. Spending two weeks in Kitoola in May of 2012 was literally the best thing that has ever happened in my life. Valence is an amazing man who shared his family, his village, and his love for humanity with me. Volunteering with YOFAFO changed my life because I’m now sponsoring the most wonderful little boy who I never would have met if I hadn’t gone to Africa. We will be friends for life, and I am so excited to watch him grow up. If you are interested in volunteering with YOFAFO, then you should know this: it will truly rock your world. You haven’t lived until you laugh with the baby class for hours or walk to get water with five children holding each of your hands or play a football game while the whole village watches or eat the best food made by the most wonderful ladies or butchered a word in Luganda while 20 children giggle and teach you the right way. You haven’t lived until you fall asleep at night hearing the sweet voices that call “Mzuuungu, mzuuuungu, how are youuuuuu?” All these things will happen if you obeythe little voice in your head that is saying “go to Africa, go to Africa, go to Africa.” So do it. Go to Africa.
Maddy Burns, May 2012

 
 

Melissa Mckinnon – Canada

I did not put much thought into what my experience was actually going to be like before I arrived. I had no expectations upon arrival. I did this knowingly as I did not want a perfectly planned out trip with an itinerary telling me what to do and what not to do. I have always lived by the idea that making plans and having expectations can often ruin experiences that are staring you right in the face.
I will admit I had a whirlwind of emotions swirling through my head when I arrived in Entebbe. However, upon arrival at Valance and Doreen’s house where I was welcomed with open arms, my feelings settled and this is where my experience began. They will put your comfort first and then worry about themselves. You will be overwhelmed with kindness.
In the short time of being there it was very clear that Valance and Doreen are incredibly passionate about Yofafo. They have accomplished so much and have worked endless hours for others. They are the most selfless, kind hearted and fun people to be around. With everything they have on the go, they also manage to be parents to two of the smartest children I have ever met and take wonderful care of their volunteers.
You will be blown away with the interest that the locals have about your country. You will be bombarded with questions, but in return they will be all too eager to share Uganda’s beauty with you. I arrived home with new friendships and wonderful memories that I will forever think about and smile.
Whatever project you decide to do will be challenging but amazing. This was defiantly the greatest experience in my life thus far! I went to Uganda to teach, but as I am home processing my experience and my feelings, I have come to the realization that Uganda has taught me so much. It is astonishing how much you will learn and experience if you let yourself. ENJOY!!

Melissa Mckinnon, Canada, April 2012.

 
 

Ralph Stone – Australia

I volunteered with Yofafo during May 2012 on a project to build a medical clinic in Najja. They do amazing work, building new classrooms,  teacher housing units and medical clinics. The volunteer complex in Lugazi is clean and comfortable, with separate dorm areas for male/female. They have a great staff, including a cook, cleaner, laundry person and security. I was picked up from the airport and  found the arrival orientation thorough. Valence and his family are very welcoming, and make you feel part of the family. The food is great! It was an inspiring environment to be in; Ugandans are the friendliest people. I can’t recommend them highly enough.I am happy to email/chat online if anyone has any questions; just send a message using the ‘Contact Us’ form and Yofafo will link us up.
Ralph Stone, 54, Australia, April – July 2012.
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