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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Real Uganda

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Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Philanthropy, Philanthropy, Charity & Voluntarism Promotion, Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking Foundations, Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: The Real Uganda recruits and places international volunteers with a number of community based organizations around Uganda. Through our volunteer placement program, we aim to build the capacities of local organizations and raise awareness around the world about the successes and challenges of life in Uganda. The Real Uganda doesn't want to save Uganda, it wants to share Uganda with the world. We support Ugandan innovation and motivation.

Results: 1. The Real Uganda was founded and registered as a non-profit, non-governmental organization in February 2006. 2. The Real Uganda has placed almost 750 international volunteers with Ugandan led community based organizations, since inception. 3. Currently, The Real Uganda raises funds for and manages these ongoing initiatives: Nalusse Success Primary School Hot Lunch Program, Rural Income Generation Project, Teacher Salary Fund, and Grassroots Uganda Women's Handicraft Sales and Marketing. 4. The Real Uganda has funded and managed these small grants/projects: Bought a motorcycle for Uganda Skateboard Union in 2006. Sponsored 1 man through a university degree, sponsored 14 students through “O” level education. Purchased over 30 mattresses and blankets for Jim Education Centre in 2006. Built a goat farm for Johnson Nkosi Primary school in 2010. Built a piggery for Passionate Child and Elderly Care in 2010. Given away 8 pregnant cows to YOFAFO’s women’s group from 2011 to 2012. Gave out 9 pigs for 3 community groups in conjunction with Volunteer Support Network in 2012. Built a clinic at Hope for Africa Children’s Village in 2012. Purchased 2 plots of land (50’x100′) for Christian Heritage Centre in 2013. Sent a community leader on an organic agriculture course in 2014. Gave out seed funds to start a micro-loan program with Hopeline Organization’s women’s groups in 2014. Held a re-useable menstrual pad workshop for Hopeline Organization’s women’s groups in 2014. Replaced damaged roofing and all subjects of Nursery to P7 textbooks after a major storm destroyed school buildings and property in 2014. Built numerous classrooms, latrines, and staff houses for community based organizations and schools between 2006 and 2015. Bought a car for Hopeline Organization in 2015. Purchased land for Volunteer Support Network in 2015.

Target demographics: Many local organizations lack the money and skills to grow themselves. With our program in place, our partner organizations are overcoming some of the more serious challenges they face. These include: lack of money for operations (wages, office space, transport, training courses), lack of business skills (book keeping, marketing, strategy, grant writing), and lack of up to date knowledge (Counseling/mentoring skills, English language, HIV/AIDS and life skills information).

Direct beneficiaries per year: Last year we hosted 32 international volunteers and gave out $28,400 in small grants that supported 7 locally led initiatives.

Geographic areas served: The Real Uganda recruits and places international volunteers with a number of schools and community based organizations around Uganda. Through our volunteer placement program, we aim to build the capacities of local organizations and raise awareness around the world about the successes and challenges of life in Uganda.

Programs: International volunteers choose to work in these areas: Village Teaching and Outreach Public Health Improvement Agriculture and Conservation Town Primary School Teaching

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first international trip was to volunteer for The Real Uganda in the spring of 2008. I was 22 and a liiiitle terrified. It turns out I had no reason to be. Leslie (the founder of The Real Uganda) molds your volunteer experience to fit your unique desires and skills. It was a great opportunity to learn, as well as to practice new skills like flexibility and patience. (They don't call it African Time for nothing.) Leslie herself was warm and enjoyable to talk to, a Canadian who used the word rad about a hundred times a day. The fellow volunteers were diverse in origin: an 18-year-old from Montana, a forty-something from New Zealand, and everything inbetween (NYC, Great Britian, Australia, etc.). Having spent a great deal of time in developing countries (Haiti, Honduras, Dominican Republic), my time in Uganda remains the safest, least disaster-filled of them all. My time volunteering in Uganda was an unforgettable experience, one that set me on a path of working in/for/around nonprofits/NGOs.

brixottaway

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having just returned home from 6 weeks in Uganda, I am missing it already. I got the chance to spend a week with them in July of 2016, and fell in love, having to return as soon as I could, so I returned in June 2017. Not only is Uganda one of the most incredibly friendly countries in the world, but The Real Uganda works with different organisations around the country to place volunteers with projects that best suit you. I went to Hopeline organisation and spent 6 weeks doing something different every day, either at a local school Nkoko Bright Junior school teaching and hanging out with the kids, with the Myindo womens group making shoes, gardening, sewing and working on reconstruction of a home, or at Kasubii Medical Centre testing locals for malaria, HIV and more. Yet I still had the chance to go on safari, white water raft in the Nile, zip-line through the trees of Mabira Forrest and was taken to a wedding.
I have a family in Uganda now, with my host organisation Hopeline, and with Leslie the incredible, amazing founder of The Real Uganda. I can't wait to return, and I can't wait to pass on the beauty of Uganda to everyone, hopefully more people will be inspired to go.

Josh42

Volunteer

Rating: 5

my first time traveling EVER was to volunteer with the real uganda in Uganda and let me say how happy am i to have had this opportunity, at the age of 25 i was abit nervous but ever so happy to just get out and see the world & different cultures and it's because of Leslie that my experience went so smoothly, if i can recommend any organization to travel abroad it would be with The real uganda, during my stay i helped plant hundreds of plants & trees and does it ever feel satisfying afterwards to stand back and see with your own eye's what you've helped accomplished,after working in the Garden until noon i sometimes helped at the school in the yard playing with Frisbees and the odd game of football soon as i was finished having my butt kicked by all the kids i was given spare time to venture out and explore my surroundings which was just fantastic! and it all couldn't have been done without the knowledge of Leslie,Robert & Judith. im forever in their debt and plan to work extra hard march 2018 when i plan on returning because uganda to me feel's like Home , i selected the full 5 star's because the real uganda organization truly did exceed far past my expectations upon my arrival to the beautiful pearl of africa, See you again soon

roymoreno4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Before The Real Uganda I spent a month in another organization in another country and had a bad experience in general, which at the moment seemed ok. But once I got to know The Real Uganda I understood the big difference between a good nonprofit and just a nonprofit.

Since everybody is just trying to help, it´s hard to tell when you are doing it wrong. But once you do it right, it'll stick with you. That's what happened to me in The Real Uganda.

Their grassroots programs are perfectly blended between the know how provided by Leslie as an occidental mind and the experience, way of the culture provided by all the local families and friends that work here. They see you as a real person, not just an open wallet, with whom they want to share their life, hoping not just to get something out of you, but to give you something in return. You might think its you who's giving the teaching, but it's all the way around: an experience in which a human being will grow learning from a different culture.

Uganda is a beautiful country. As a first contact with the african continent, it was perfect to introduce me to the culture, which can be a hard blow if not done the right way. I spent 3 months there and never ran out of things to do. The Real Uganda was always there to coach and guide me in whatever plans I had, be it por the program I was working in, or my adventures during the weekends.

With friendly people all over the country, in perfectly safe established programs that can go from agriculture, to education or health, you get to try the volunteering uniform in a real local (and by that I mean ran by the same people you are supposed to be helping, which is awesome) outfit, learning about the country and it's people along the way. Problems are always there, but The Real Uganda has a postive attitude towards solving them in the best of terms, and that makes a big difference, especially for you who's away from home.

My advice? if you are looking for the african experience and want to do it the right way, do it the real way: The Real Uganda way.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Before The Real Uganda I spent a month in another organization in another country and had a bad experience in general, which at the moment seemed ok. But once I got to know The Real Uganda I understood the big difference between a good nonprofit and just a nonprofit.

Since everybody is just trying to help, it´s hard to tell when you are doing it wrong. But once you do it right, it'll stick with you. That's what happened to me in The Real Uganda.

Their grassroots programs are perfectly blended between the know how provided by Leslie as an occidental mind and the experience, way of the culture provided by all the local families and friends that work here. They see you as a real person, not just an open wallet, with whom they want to share their life, hoping not just to get something out of you, but to give you something in return. You might think its you who's giving the teaching, but it's all the way around: an experience in which a human being will grow learning from a different culture.

Uganda is a beautiful country. As a first contact with the african continent, it was perfect to introduce me to the culture, which can be a hard blow if not done the right way. I spent 3 months there and never ran out of things to do. The Real Uganda was always there to coach and guide me in whatever plans I had, be it por the program I was working in, or my adventures during the weekends.

With friendly people all over the country, in perfectly safe established programs that can go from agriculture, to education or health, you get to try the volunteering uniform in a real local (and by that I mean ran by the same people you are supposed to be helping, which is awesome) outfit, learning about the country and it's people along the way. Problems are always there, but The Real Uganda has a postive attitude towards solving them in the best of terms, and that makes a big difference, especially for you who's away from home.

My advice? if you are looking for the african experience and want to do it the right way, do it the real way: The Real Uganda way.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with The Real Uganda for 2 weeks in Lugazi. I had a great experience! I had the chance to stay with a local family and work on the programs they developed in remote villages in Lugazi. Our activities were very diverse - gardening and doing crafts with the women in villages, building mud stoves, teaching kids in village schools, working with a youth group aiming to empower them with skills that could enable them to earn a living, helping remote government clinics with patient registrations and talking to visiting patients to create health awareness to name some! I stayed with a lovely Ugandan family who guided me along the way and was very hospitable. The Real Uganda was great in terms of managing expectations and also informed me on all details before my trip to Uganda. I highly recommend this experience to anyone who wants to explore Uganda and be a part of village life with locals, exchange experiences and culture.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just recently returned from 2 weeks in Uganda working with the Real Uganda. I did a ton of research on non-profits and chose this organization for several reasons. First - it is grassroots and when I spoke with Leslie the founder, I felt that her mission really spoke to me. She is not out to try to westernize Uganda or bring major change. She is simply trying to bring people together to inspire each other, learn about each other and lend a helping hand in the area of life that the Ugandans are taking upon themselves to try to improve. In addition, she places you with a host family in the village, so you are not on the periphery of a new and different culture, you are immersed in it! This was something that was a non-negotiable for me. I didn't not want to be placed in a volunteer hotel, and my family was wonderful, loving and I will be in touch with them always! Everyday here is different and you are not sure what they day has in store for you! I taught and played with little kids at a very underpriviledged village school, made bricks with the boys, built a plate stand with a women's group and helped them with their garden. You work with groups of women who have banded together to try to be innovative and improve their lives. It is inspiring to be a part of! I came away with way more than I thought I gave and I am eternally grateful for this experience. In addition, Leslie makes sure you have the weekends off so you can experience all that Uganda has to offer!!! Don't think about this - just do it! It will be one of the best experiences of your life. The Real Uganda is HIGHLY recommended!!!!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Real Uganda is a wonderful organization! Very well organized and set-up to create a positive experience! The founder is knowledgeable, helpful, and available to assist volunteers. She is thoughtful about how to provide support in a meaningful and sustainable way.

The organizations The Real Uganda partners with are also doing high-quality work. I taught in a rural school and had a positive and memorable experience! The kids and staff were wonderful! The level of support I received was tailored to meet my needs. I stayed with a host family and felt fully emersed in Ugandan culture. The Real Uganda founder also helped facilitate interactions with fellow volunteers working with different host organizations which was helpful to meet other people in a similar situation.

Overall, I would absolutely, without a doubt, recommend this organization!! And will volunteer again myself if I make it back to Uganda :).

1 Phi T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Real Uganda is what can I say, THE REAL DEAL! Leslie is the director of the organization and she is an amazingly confident lady that knows Uganda. The Real Uganda also gave me confidence and with that I was able to give time and hopefully make changes for the locals through volunteer effort. Leslie herself being a local Ugandan/Canadian, knows all the great beauties of the country and is able to show you the best of Uganda, which is amazing and fun! Don't be scared of Africa, don't be scared of Uganda, GO!

1 Fer F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a volunteer from Mexico and I volunteer with Real Uganda about 1 month ago, Its just awesome the organization its great, the treatment, the programs everything. Besides it helps you a lot to learn many things bout a different culture, from the kids, how they live at the villages, at the end you get really closed to the people at the program that makes everything better you will not want to to leave the program.

If you have the opporunity, I think it's a must.

3 Sarah258

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The summer of 2015...turning 40 and finally being brave enough to go explore Ugandan way of life.
Getting all of the attention in an instant wasn't ever that easy when people asked me what I did during my holiday. "Did you go to France? to the US? you went hiking in the mountains? ... " "no no, I went to do volunteer work in an orphanage in Uganda." This is always followed by these couple of empty silent seconds after which a series of recurrent questions bursts out... Why on earth did you go THERE? so dangerous! did you get hurt? did you get robbed?are the people pushy?.... My reply : "People in Uganda are actually HAPPY people and they are so proud of their country that one of the first things they all said was "Welcome to Uganda and thank you for coming here". That's it, they didn't steal my money, they weren't pushy at all, I could walk around and feel so safe, much safer than some of the areas in my homecountry!"

Being a marketing/communication person in professional life I wanted to understand the needs of those poor and hungry children in orphanages so I could be inspired in one way or the other to help them get out of there and give them a better life. One of the things Leslie (owner of the Real Uganda) said when I arrived in Mukono was "an African kid needs to be raised in Africa by it's African family" ... and by the end of my stay in orphanage Grace I understood this completely.

I want to thank Leslie, and also Liz (director and wonderful teacher at Grace orphanage and school) but especially the kids to help me open my eyes and understand that we would not offer them a better life and future by getting them out of there. They are happy there, amongst each others and together they are a family.

My initial goal of why I wanted to understand their needs was totally wrong. I know now we can help them get education so they can evolve and grow themselves, we can help them to find ways of making sure food is on the table in a sustainable way. But it's they who will show us how to be a family and how to share and how to help and stand up for each other.

It was a wonderful, heart warming life experience which I regret not having done earlier, but then again, maybe it was only now that I was ready to see and believe the truth.

2 Wanyoike T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Tony. W, Hello every one, its high time to thank The Real Uganda for the great work is doing to the grass root Organizations Like Hope Line Organization, with its help and the director Leslie, Hope Line Organization has been in position to grow as fast as it is, we have been in position to achieve number of skill in social, cultural exchange and economic development
There for I call upon every one to be part of the Real Uganda in its struggle of supporting the grass root organizations.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Real Uganda (TRU) is a small ugandan NGO with a very passionful impulse to change people's lives sustainable. Based in the small town of Mukono in Central Uganda Lesley & her partners support local projects with strong efforts, respect & humbleness. For me personal this was/is a perfect example for a meaningful and profound development cooperation. I hope and I am quite convinced that this will be the case today, tomorrow and in future. One thing I really appreciated was the direct way talking about the "ugandan way". About things that work out well and others that don't. I didn't (!) get the impression of being isolated from the REAL UGANDA like "volunteering light" for foreign visitors. Quite the contrary!

Those guys are diamonds in the sky for every single child, woman & man in this part of the world. Go on doing this!

(Jens/Germany)

1 Valence L.

Client Served

Rating: 3

Well,Yofafo has partnered with the real Uganda for now close to 10 years.The real Uganda does amazing work of finding small grass root organisations and places volunteers with them.Yofafo being a small grass root organisation our partnership with the real Uganda as enabled us tap into the vast skills from people around the world who have worked with our schools,women groups teaching basic Bussines skills,our health outreach programmes.In all these years of partnership,Yofafo has reached many people and positive change as happened. Lifelong relationships have been built between the volunteers and the communities they work in.I think the real uganda as been steadfast in their effort to help small grassroot organisations reach out in their communities by providing them with volunteers who care about making a small contribution to humankind.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Grace Day Care Orphanage School, we have known The Real Uganda since 2007, we partnered up with them in 2009 and ever since then, socially and economically they have greatly supported our work.

In the pas t 6 years of The Real Uganda placing volunteers with us, we have managed year by year to fully pay our teacher’s salaries, feed orphans and cloth them, created international friendship with many former volunteers whom often return to support our work, and they have connected our children with pen friends from schools in their countries, also they mentored and supported our teachers to deliver quality services.

The continuous support of The Real Uganda through its volunteers programs, it has helped us delivering quality services to orphanages in our community through great advises of which also we managed to acquire things like, buying desks, text books, create Income Generating Activities like piggery and bought land for staff quarters, plus gardening to increase food production to enhance our goal of sustainability.

International Volunteering is a great thing for us grass root organizations because it helps to deliver quality services and support our staff.

Thanks THE REAL UGANDA

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with The Real Uganda back in 2007 for 3 months changed my life, forever. I was able to become fully immersed in the beautiful, authentic culture of Uganda while using my medical training to help those in several rural villages with HIV/AIDS education, malaria treatment and prevention, etc. Leslie was there to pick me up from the airport, welcome me to Uganda, and was available for support throughout my stay. I felt completely safe for my entire stay, and learned more about life in those 3 months than I ever thought possible. I can still remember like it was yesterday riding on the back of a dirt bike deep into the jungle to get to a remote village in need of medical aid. I remember the gallons of distilled water strapped to my enormous daypack, the vibrant green jungle surrounding me, and piercing blue sky. I remember seeing a metallic blue object ahead of us in the mud path, only to realize it was a group of a thousand iradescent giant blue butterflies drinking from a puddle that burst into the air, surrounding us, as we drove down the path. In that moment, I was truly alive. If you are looking for the real deal, look no further. I whole-heartedly recommend The Real Uganda for your volunteering needs. I will be back volunteering with The Real Uganda the first chance I get!

2 Katarina O.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was such an incredible and eye opening experience. I spent 3 months after my college graduation with the real Uganda teaching health education. During this time I met some of the most inspiring men and women I have ever met. The grassroots Leslie partners with are led by passionate, caring individuals. This also helped put a lot of my education into the context of the world outside the states. 10/10 would and probably will do again! I strongly recommend this program!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with The Real Uganda in 2013. The helped make my volunteering experience perfect! They placed me in a wonderful school and helped support me in any way I needed. Not only was my volunteer experience fantastic and fulfilling, but they also had great advice for must-sees in Uganda. I highly recommend anyone thinking of volunteering in Africa to go with this organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 2007 I was an unhappy gay kid living in a small conservative town in Canada struggling to get out of high-school early. I looked into lots of places I could volunteer and escape where I was living and to be honest ended up with The Real Uganda because it was the only program that would take someone who had just turned 18. I am so thankful they did because my experience in Uganda was an absolutely formative experience in my life.

Reflecting back what made the experience so rad (a word I picked up, and still use, thanks to Leslie) for me was being simultaneously thrust into an adventure of being independent, learning from caring and interesting Ugandans, laughing harder than I had laughed in years in the company of new friends (both volunteers and Ugandan folks) and in some ways being taken "under the wing" of the folks working at the Real Uganda.

My desire was to be with kids as much as possible, and whether it was in schools, walking down the street, or winding down from the day in the various places I got to stay, kids were the life force of my day. I was honoured to be one of the first volunteers at a program a bit further from Mukono than most other projects, and when I see this school has grown and changed from the dusty hillside with the small school building to a lush food-filled field with colourful classrooms since I was there I can't help but smile.

Here are two things I would say to some of you questioning if this is right for you:
1) If you're queer/gay/lesbian or you're trans and you're thinking "this might be something I want to do, but Uganda, is it safe?" email Leslie and ask your questions to see if it's right for you. Leslie's awesome and I would trust her opinion.
2) Since 2007 I've grown and changed a lot, and am someone who would put a critical eye on lots of the volunteer programs out there. I truly believe The Real Uganda's community-based, Ugandan-driven approach makes it unique. As a volunteer you will not saving anyone (although you might find healing for yourself if that's what you're looking for) but you will build relationships, learn about privilege and witness resistance.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent 8 weeks living in a village in Uganda through The Real Uganda. I researched heavily before deciding where to go and who to go with. I couldn't have made a better decision! While I have traveled quite a bit, this was by far the most remote location I have been to and my first volunteer stint. Starting with weeks before leaving home, there was an open e-mail communication with The Real Uganda, so I could e-mail the simplest questions about what to bring or what there is to eat etc… and get a response right way. From the moment my plane landed, everything ran very smoothly. You spend the first day learning the local customs, where to exchange money, they take you to buy phone and minutes, show you the best places to eat etc.. Volunteering abroad had been on my bucket list for many years, and I was so fortunate to have been able to check that off my list! I was 'middle aged' when I went, and found it a very easy trip. You certainly don't have to be fresh out of school to do this, as there is something for everyone there. They needs are great on the ground. From reading to kids, painting the dorm rooms, teaching English, or simply bringing a piece of gum back from town for the kids (they will love it!!) there is nothing too great or too small that you can contribute to a village community. The people at TRU will check in often with you and always be available to address any concerns you may have. If anyone is considering doing this, I would highly recommend Uganda as it is an unbelievably beautiful country!! (I went on 2 safaris while there and rafted down the Nile river!) and I would highly suggest letting The Real Uganda help plan your trip and take care of all the planning for you so you can show up and do your thing, whatever that may be, they will be so happy to have it! Don't wait for the perfect time to go, just go!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My trip to Uganda in 2010 opened my eyes and allowed me to experience the beauty of this country. The Real Uganda was welcoming and organized. I was based in a rural village teaching and often spent weekends back in Mukono (where the Real Uganda has a guesthouse for volunteers). This provided me with the opportunity to come into town to gather supplies and hangout with other volunteers. This experience was one of the best times of my life. You will not regret it.