Our Volunteers: Lorrain Kirk volunteering in Uganda

Kawempe Home Care, Uganda

Kawempe and Palms working together
Kawempe Home Care is a community based organisation providing holistic comprehensive care and support to people living with HIV/AIDS, TB and Cancer in Kawempe Divisin, Kampala District and Nangabo sub county in Wakiso District.

The organisation was initiated in July 2007 by a group of health professionals committed to the ideal of providing support for the person, not just treatment for an illness.

One of Kawempe’s programs is Beads for Education, which both provides training and livelihoods for people with the above illnesses and provides financial support for Kawempe’s other programs.  It is still in the early stages but has proven to be a great example of local organisations seeking to ensure their development is sustainable. Some advice was requested on the best way to plan and maintain the Beads for Education project, including finding new markets and adapting to changing fashions and styles.

Lorrain Kirk

Palms Australia volunteer, Lorrain Kirk, from Gawler SA, is working with Kawempe Home Care  as a Technical Advisor.  This role follows on from Lorrain’s previous work in Uganda with KIFAD.

Lorrain is an experienced Community Service worker having worked in a variety of roles, both as a volunteer and staff member, including coordinating a variety of programs, training adults, providing administrative support and in fitness and health services.

In letters of support, Lorrain is described as “kind, caring and committed… well versed in areas of discrimination, disability and social justice and possesses keen management and interpersonal skills.”

Lorrain has much to contribute to Kawempe and will undoubtedly learn much from her experience in Uganda. Though her placement will be at times difficult, CommUNITY Support makes it easier.

‘Mama’ wins respect in Uganda

July 23, 2012

Lorrain Kirk in Uganda
Lorrain Kirk, a 68-year-old grandmother and Adelaide parishioner, has just returned from two years in Uganda where she worked as a Palms Australia volunteer for a community organisation providing care and support to people living with HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Cancer, reports The Southern Cross.

Lorrain saw an advertisement about Palms Australia in The Southern Cross and did some research on the organisation as well as attending an information session. Previously she had spent five and a half months working with a medical team in Morocco but was disillusioned by the lack of sustainability.

It came to a head when she was immunising a baby that she was sure would end up dying of malnutrition: “I thought what the bloody hell am I doing this for?”

“We were feeding them fish rather than teaching them to fish.”

With qualifications in management and planning of human services, Lorrain’s role in Uganda was to develop income-generating programs for the clinic’s day care centre for children under five who had lost parents from AIDs. Based in Nansana, only 14kms (but a two-hour drive) from Kampala, the clinic had a holistic approach incorporating the “body, mind and soul” to health issues.

One of the income-generating programs involved the clinic’s clients making beads out of recycled payer. The first meeting Lorrain attended there was a lot of “screaming, fighting and shouting” amongst the women, so she suspended the program and worked to turn it into a real business with order forms, a marketing strategy and shop front.

Through her involvement with an international women’s organisation, she also appointed ambassadors to the program from the US, UK, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Australia and Japan.

“The people coming into the shop and buying the beads would then take them back to their countries to sell,” said Lorrain. “It is up to them if they make a profit or not.”

“We put aside 10 per cent of money to make bags out of recycled material such as paper, used tyres, magazines, old cotton, old clothes, even banana leaves.”

This is an excerpt taken from the full article at page 9 of the July 2012 issue of http://www.thesoutherncross.org.au/

Field Trips: Developing Relationships

August 29, 2011

Seeing the assignment locations and meeting the partners firsthand allows Palms’ staff to make some difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising one placement over another when faced with limited numbers of volunteers or limited funds required to send them.

Click here to read the full article

Letters from the field: Lorrain Kirk

December 3, 2010

Although KIFAD clients who have tested positive receive their ARV (anti-retroviral medication) for HIV/AIDS free of charge or for a small amount of 500 shillings (25 cents), transport costs to and from treatment centres are a very big challenge for many.

Click here to read the full article

More articles

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Population: 32,369,558

Area: 241,038 sq. km.

Median Age: 15

Literacy: 66.8 %

Languages: English, Luganda, various Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic

Uganda is a geographically and culturally diverse nation. The South Eastern part of the country is dominated by Lake Victoria, which flows into the White Nile before it winds through Sudan and Egypt. Other large lakes are located in the West and centre of the country. In the 1970s, Uganda was famous for human rights […]

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