With a deep passion for social development, coming to Uganda to serve the most vulnerable people was a big step ahead in the life of a young Canadian. Natalie Nichole could only achieve this during her volunteering time at Reach Out Mbuya Community Health Initiative (ROM). The fourth-year student of Public Health and Social Development at the University of Waterloo in Canada happily shares her 3-months volunteering experience at the Ugandan Faith-based non-government organization.
“Overall, my time at ROM has been highly educative and transformative. I have been involved in a wide range of activities through which I have gathered lots of knowledge. I was able to engage with a number of co-workers from whom I learnt about people, language, culture and the generally life in the Ugandan perspective.” She stated.
Natalie says that on arrival at ROM in May 2023, she was attached to the Community and Social Support department, where she supported activities in the Mobile Van clinics where he would help with setting up the tent and other things that were needed for seeing patients throughout the day. She also made numerous home visits to ROM clients in the community as well as supporting the counselling section.
Natalie also had an opportunity to work in the registry. She would update client’s files into the registers and she made sure the files were tidy. Not only that but also the young woman experienced what it meant to work in the pharmacy; she would help with counting pills essential for HIV treatment.
Supporting the Monitoring and Evaluation department was yet another opportunity for Natalie to learn the importance of data collection to the overall function of the organization and appreciate ROM’s contribution to changing the lives of her clients for the better.
“The time spent in these two departments allowed me to connect with so many wonderful people and learn more about the care needed by People Living with HIV (PLHIV).” She said. Natalie testifies that although she served in other ROM program areas such as Tuberculosis, Gender-based violence, Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Non-Communicable Diseases and Economic Empowerment among others, she learnt so much about HIV care and what PLHIV should do to live a better life.
“I want to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone at ROM, as they have made it such an incredible experience for me. People at ROM were so welcoming that they went that extra mile to help me learn, even when there were language gaps on my end. I appreciate all the people that I met during this 3-months period, and promise to take all that I have learned with me in my future experiences.” Natalie added. Natalie is one of the three Canadian students who volunteered to serve the most vulnerable members of the community through ROM.