Teacher flies much needed resources to Ugandan slums

The team from 2015 who worked with the same community in Uganda that Paul and his students will be with next month.
The team from 2015 who worked with the same community in Uganda that Paul and his students will be with next month.

A PE teacher from Clitheroe is flying out to Uganda next month to provide much needed resources, education and even pre-loved bras to those living in the slums.

Paul Earnshaw (39), who teaches at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, will travel to Kampala, the capital of Uganda, on February 11th until February 23rd with a 19-strong team of sixth form students.

Paul, who is married to Emma and has two children, Abigail (13) and Isaac (nine), is passionate about extending young people’s horizons and life experiences while at the same time helping those who do not have the same chances in life.

“It’s something I’ve had a real passion for to take people out of East Lancashire to experience something different,” Paul explained.

Paul went out to Kenya in 2010 to run a sports leaders trip with some students from Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley.

Since then he has been to Uganda three times taking out sixth form students from across East Lancashire.

His school works with CRED - a charity which has links with Uganda and East Africa - and Links International.

The trip to Uganda, which takes place every two years, sees Paul and his students work with displaced tribes people who have been affected by civil war.

Left with no schools and no means of education, make shift schools have been set up in the slums of Kampala for those people who have been forced to leave their homes.

Educational resources, including stationary, are priceless, as is clothing for the tribes people – particularly school uniforms for the children.

Responding to this need, Ribble Valley Supplies in Clitheroe has donated any defunct school uniform lines to Paul to pass on to Ugandan children.

And prior to his trip out to Uganda next month Paul has been appealing to friends and work colleagues for donations.

Learning more about the people he is working with and struggles that they face in Uganda, means the area of need that Paul focuses on can sometimes diversify.

“I was talking to ladies in the community and they were telling me how many women are raped or sexually abused because they don’t wear a bra,” said Paul.

He explained that women are less likely to be raped if they wear a bra as they are perceived as being from a better background.

“It’s not something that anyone would necessarily hear or know about unless they had actually spoken to these women face- to-face, but, once relayed back home, this issue has had quite a big impact with sixth form students, members of staff and friends who now know about it raiding their lingerie drawers,” said Paul.

Working in the slums often proves a wake up call for many of the students who accompany Paul to Uganda.

“It is a huge culture shock for our students and we ensure that they receive the proper counselling once they return home,” Paul said.

Anyone who would like to make a donation of educational items, clothing or pre-loved bras ahead of Paul’s trip to Uganda can email him on paul.earnshaw@daca.uk.com

Alternatively, drop them off at Darwen Aldridge Academy reception.