Community outreach project sends UNDA students to war-torn Uganda

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Summer 24-1-2008

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



On a recent trip to Uganda, students from The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle saw firsthand what ‘sustainability’ and ‘development’ means to those who live in extreme poverty.

The seven students from the School of Arts and Sciences spent two weeks in the East African nation. Hosted by Caritas, a Catholic agency for overseas aid and development, the group visited a wide range of projects and learnt the importance of vital community development programs for people who have been displaced by 20 years of civil war and disease.

The group visited micro-credit projects, rehabilitation centres for returned child soldiers and agricultural development projects. They met refugees, HIV sufferers and many survivors of war and oppression.

Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and the trip coordinator, Professor Peta Sanderson, said the excursion was an incredible opportunity for the students to personally see the development work that is done at a ‘grass roots’ level.

“The students have returned with different perspectives on the Social Justice and Human Rights topics they have studied. Travelling to Uganda was not just about seeing work done elsewhere and other people’s problems, but about recognising the interlinked nature of our economies and societies and the shared aspirations of children, families and communities,” said Dr Sanderson.

Behavioural Science student, Alice Calder said the trip to Uganda was extraordinary. “We met refugees, orphans and HIV sufferers, yet despite the harsh circumstances all we received were beautiful smiles and warm welcomes. Our group was greeted with enthusiasm and joy, people opened their hearts to us and we heard many stories of survival.

“I felt personally humbled as I witnessed the power of faith and spirit in the lives of the Ugandan people. Their sense of humour and every readiness to laugh was contagious and a powerful reminder that life is not to be taken for granted,” said Ms Calder.

The trip was part of the growing partnership with Notre Dame and Caritas Australia aimed at helping students link their studies in Social Justice and Environmental science with exposure through their work in poor and developing communities.

Media contact:

Moira Saunders 08 9433 0611, 0408 959 138