The Real Uganda

Program Reviews

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Erin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A trip that will stay with you for a lifetime

I volunteered with the Real Uganda (TRU) for a mere 5-months, but the memories and relationships I formed there will last with me for a life-time.

What is fantastic about TRU is its ethos, it is like a proud parent that wants to share with everyone just how amazing Uganda is - it is a proper authentic grassroots organisation, allowing you to get a real experience of what Uganda has to offer you (opposed to just what you think you can offer it.) You will learn so much about this wonderful country and about the people who are lucky enough to call it home.

You will be fully supported from the moment you sign up to volunteer with TRU, including preparing for your visit, from those first tentative few steps you take at Entebbe airport and throughout the entirety of the programme.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't go to Uganda expecting to change it, go to Uganda expecting it to change you.
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Asia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Way of Sharing Skills and Cultures

I am a partner organisation whose projects benefit from this wonderful program. Through this program, we have access to consistent volunteers who bring skills that enrich our projects. We have received some really fun, creative and passionate volunteers.

I like the model that The Real Uganda uses because through sharing skills, cultures and fun, our team and students learn the powerful value of collaboration.

The time that the volunteers spend with us is long enough to work on and accomplish projects together.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be free, be eager to learn about your new home and enjoy every moment!
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Sophia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It was an awesome experience!

It was a truly amazing experience all the volunteer work and cultural experiences were great. Everyone who I worked with was great about pointing me in the right directions for weekend fun too.
The real Uganda has the right name I felt like I totally got a great insight on the country and all because of the program. I set out to really enjoy the work I was doing and I really did. I felt like I really learned a lot about how to make your self useful and what situation are harmful (to that country) and how to really have fun. Would really recommend this!

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Gemma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best decision of my life!

Travelling solo to a foreign sub-saharan country alone at age 17 was a daunting prospect. But Leslie from The Real Uganda (TRU) was so knowledgable and reassuring that I felt very safe making the commitment. This supportive hospitality paved the way for the best experience of my life - 6 weeks living and learning in the heart of a Ugandan rainforest. From playing football with the kids to planting trees with village farmers and dancing at church on Sundays, every moment was magical.
I was interested in TRU because I wanted a real grassroots experience... and that's exactly what I received. I loved my time there so much that I returned to the same house and family I lived with 2 years later and spent an additional 3 months soaking up Ugandan life. I have found a unique home in Uganda, and after travelling through 10 other African countries after Uganda, I can confirm that TRU is the best of the best. What are you waiting for?!

What would you improve about this program?
It is truly hard to fault. I honestly wouldn't change a thing.
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Anne
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Public Health Improvement Volunteering in Uganda

I wanted to gain some practical and hands-on experience while studying international public health, I always had a good time in East Africa; so, with some research, I found “The Real Uganda” (TRU): a local organisation run by Leslie. TRU arranges everything and provides you with all the information you need whilst on the program. TRU’s mission statement and values as well as the process was trustworthy, transparent and aligned with my objectives. Leslie is amazing and quite inspiring, she matched me with a suitable local NGO of which we participated daily activities, observed, organized and ran a combination of public health awareness workshops on community sanitation, nutrition, family planning, domestic violence, etc..

I spent a couple of weeks with FREDAfrica and It was such a mind-blowing experience, it is beautiful over there and you get to see and understand why Leslie loves Uganda and why her organisation exist. The director of TRU (Leslie) was engaged throughout, and we-volunteers also had some time to relax and explore in the weekends/ or in our free time. I would ABSOLUTELY recommend the organisation and I would encourage more people to apply especially those who have an interest in health, international relations, cultural exchange and everyone in general.

I can not fault them at all, they are authentic, the host organisation and their staff were pretty good, the volunteers were brilliant, and Ugandans were so welcoming!

I DEFINETELY want to go again.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would definitely stay longer, and I would make sure that I take some technical materials for the seminars/workshops.
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Ellie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing project with strong, female leadership!

I can’t speak highly enough about Liz at Grace Orphanage School, and The Real Uganda director Leslie! Liz has an unmatched understanding of her community and its needs, and is so creative in her solutions to problems. Leslie/TRU engages thoughtfully and intentionally with Grace and the whole Nakifuma community, and you can tell how strong their partnership is. I can guarantee that working with Leslie, you’ll be supported and encouraged to think critically and challenge your beliefs about global development, community engagement, and your role. I have found lifelong friends-turned-family via TRU and encourage you to check them out if you’re looking for a sustainable, responsible way to contribute to an ongoing project in Uganda!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I came to love Rolex — a veggie omelette rolled up in a fried chapati!
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Robert
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

TRU is the best

TRU is the best local community organization brilliant meaningful human connection services for empowerment to the benefit of local rural women and children as well as international travellers/volunteers. Thanks to director Leslie of TRU who labors all time to bridge the missing link between prospective volunteers and the partner groups. As Lugacraft Uganda, our ladies and the entire administration we recommend TRU and Leslie. Women have been empowered physically & socially. More blessings 2020!

What would you improve about this program?
I think it's all fine! We are really happy and honestly the women appreciate.
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Rose
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Public Health Outreach with FREDAfrica

I am a UK registered nurse and was looking for opportunities to gain public health experience in low- and middle income countries but wasn't in a position – nor did I want to - give thousands of pounds to an organisation to organise it for me when almost none of that money would go to the local communities I'd be spending my time with. That's when I found The Real Uganda. The RG is run, almost single-handedly, by Leslie who lives in Uganda and arranges placements for volunteers with various local charities. I spent 4 weeks volunteering with FREDAfrica, a grassroots NGO in Uganda that provides vocational training to school leavers to improve job prospects while also delivering public health education and support to remote communities.

I have to say that I never expected such friendly, knowledgeable and genuine support when I signed up but that's what I got! I was met at the airport and taken to Leslie's house where I was given a very warm welcome and some time to kick back, recover from the flight and get used to my new surroundings. The next day I met some of the other volunteers who Leslie had arranged placements for and found I got on well with them all - before long we had all arranged a trip away together for the following weekend! I then met Travis, the director of FREDAfrica and we headed off to the small town in the area where we'd be working.

Travis, Sarah (another volunteer) and I spent our days preparing and delivering talks to remote communities on topics such as nutrition, sanitation, family planning and HIV, planting vegetables and meeting local teenagers who were enrolled on the vocational courses. There were certainly frustrations - the time it takes to do something/anything was very different from what I was used to. I wish I had come more prepared with teaching materials or thought about how i could use my nursing skills to teach, for example, wound care so think I missed an opportunity there. I did, however, learn a lot from the people and communities I was lucky enough to spend time with and what matters to them on a day to day basis. I learnt a lot about the challenges of providing public health services to remote communities and what is involved in order to deliver any such services.

I felt very privileged and touched to have been welcomed the way I was - the genuine friendliness of everyone involved meant I felt safe and settled in to my surrounding quickly. We work during the week and usually spend the weekends away with the other volunteers, travelling to other parts of Uganda. I would recommend The Real Uganda to anyone who wants to gain more experience of public health at a grassroots level in Uganda or even to gain a different perspective of that great country and its vibrant culture. It was an experience I’ll never forget!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I'd eat even more rolex's than I did (which was a lot) as no-one does a rolex like a Ugandan street vendor!!!
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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Global Health Immersion and Cultural Exchange

This ain't no youth group mission trip!
Volunteering with The Real Uganda was an experience I will carry with me as I continue to learn about international development and public health. By placing you with a Ugandan led NGO you get an immersive and authentic experience working to improve the conditions that rural Ugandans deal with.
During the volunteer experience you are able to share your ideas for public health development and learn from locals on how they want to empower their community. This is great for flexible individuals who are passionate about preventing disease and improving stigmas in low resource settings.
You also get to have a blast hanging out with other volunteers from around the globe and exploring this amazing and beautiful country!
The Real Uganda director is there along the way to help you process everything from peeing in a pit latrine to helping you organize zip lining in the rainforest!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open minded and learn as much as you can about Ugandan culture, history, and current events! You will feel like you really live there since you work and reside somewhat like a local. I would recommend packing as light as you can!
Work hard at your job during the week and play on the weekends!
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Chris
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Do yourself a favour & go!

I went on a volunteering trip organised by a company called Bamboo. Bamboo had entrusted the organisation of the trip to 'The Real Uganda' which is run by Leslie. She has a real connection to Uganda & its people & this came through with the activities and community visits she organised. I had a great time meeting a great group of fellow travellers & also seeing the country with more than just 'tourist eyes!' Leslie also organised for another company - 1000 Shades of Green, to show us more of Uganda's countryside and animals. Can also highly recommend them and their knowledge of the country