New Challenge In Africa For Member Of Local Church Team
Emily Braybrook is leaving Chiswick to work with Mission Direct in Uganda
A family holiday with a difference has pursuaded a young woman to take up a career working with disadvantaged young people in Africa.
Emily Braybrook (24), who has been working at Christchurch Turnham Green for the past two years, is off to Uganda shortly to take up a new challenge with the charity Mission Direct. Emily will work with volunteer teams helping with education projects for disabled children in the Rukungiri district, an impoverished area about a ten hour drive from Kampala.
Emily says that the church community in Chiswick has been "incredibly supportive" with sponsorship and suppport - a fundraising party last week raised over £2,000 to help defray her travel and other expenses. The party was attended by 130 people including Emily's parents and sister.
Emily's decision to go and work in Uganda was inspired by a life changing experience in 2008 when her parents suggested that the family should replace their annual holiday in France with a two-week volunteering stint in Uganda. Her time was spent working in the Rukungirl area, where Mission Direct is involved with several projects, including building accessible facilities at Kitazigurukwa School to enable disabled and able-bodied children be educated alongside each other.
When Emily finished her two-week volunteering trip she knew that Uganda had captured her heart, and on her return to Birmingham University, she took a gap year, changed her course from European languages to African studies and committed herself to a future working in the developing world. She has since made several return trips to Uganda to continue her volunteer work. But now she intends to stay in Africa for a longer period and this week Emily will say farewell to Christchurch Turnham Green and after spending time with her family, will fly out to spend the next year working with Mission Direct.
Originally from Lincolnshire, Emily arrived in Chiswick two years ago as a Ministry facilitator at CCTG, helping out with a variety of tasks, ranging from co-leader of senior citizens' groups such as the St Andrew's Fellowship, to helping with the children's playspace and with general administration.
She has made 'friends for life' in Chiswick. "It's hard to leave but I feel the time is right and I am going to the right place".
Mission Direct works primarily, though not exclusively, with disabled children in Rukungiri, building accessible facilities in schools, and providing them with dormitories and classrooms. Many children born with a disability in the area are stigmatised. They are often excluded from normal family life, and kept hidden away, she says. The charity has organised a venture known as the Chilli Kids Project, where families are encouraged to grow chillies as a means of earning money.
Mission Direct also organises Life Skills clinics, where staff offer training and advice to parents of disabled children. The charity also has projects in Zamba, Brazil, Cambodia, India, and other developing countries.
One of the major problems for villages in Uganda is the 'lost generation' arising out of HIV-Aids, where grandparents have been left as the principal carers for young children whose parents have died from the disease. Local people depend on subsistence farming to make a living and the land is poor. Malaria is also a big killer of young children and medicine and malaria nets are badly needed.
Emily is continuing to raise sponsorship for her year-long visit to Uganda and hopes that she can extend her time there and carry on her work.
Donations can be made to Emily at: