A Port Alberni man will be learning first hand what humanitarian work in Africa is like after being chosen for a four-month internship in Uganda.
Brendan Hamilton, 19, credits his former high school teacher, Kama Money, with helping him get the internship — and instilling in him the need to learn about the broader world, and the desire to help.
“I would have to go back to my Grade 10 year in my social justice class, when my eyes were opened to the problems in the world and what people can do to help out in any way they can,” he said.
Hamilton graduated from Alberni District Secondary School in 2010, but has kept in touch with Money. It was she who alerted him to the Ugandan opportunity.
“One day she posted on my Facebook page that there was this program that I should apply for,” he said.
Hamilton will spend four months in Jinja, Uganda, the largest town in the African country and second-busiest commercial centre besides the capital of Kampala.
Hamilton is going with WomenFirst, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides business management training and startup funds to women and groups in Uganda and Kenya.
He will assists in skills training in income-generating activities and will have to deliver workshops on environment, cultural exchange and youth life skills.
Hamilton already knows quite a bit about Uganda and its social and political strife through his social justice class. He has been doing some additional reading to prepare for his upcoming trip.
He has also been receiving weekly updates from the project co-ordinators, and will head to a one-month orientation in Victoria on Jan. 15, before leaving for Africa on Feb. 15.
“It’s still sinking in,” he said.
“I’ve never done something of this magnitude before.”
Hamilton will return home on June 23.