This report just in from International Class (2008-9) alumna Celiane Camargo-Borges, recounting her recent trip to Uganda to volunteer with Hope for Youth Uganda, founded by fellow International Class colleague Peter Nsubuga.
Celiane, a Brazilian psychologist living and working in the Netherlands, met Peter six years ago when both came to New York as part of their residencies for the Institute’s global training program in social therapeutics, contributing their richly different histories and cultures.
On July 7, I began an experience of a lifetime. I took off for Uganda to work with my friend, Peter Nsubuga and Hope for Youth Uganda. The NGO he founded in Central Uganda’s Mukono District supports vulnerable young people.
Peter does fantastic work; and since meeting him in New York at part of our International Class program, I had always wanted to get a closer look. Now, six years later, I made the decision to visit; and together with two colleagues, we developed a project to co-create with the community there.
The project we undertook was based upon photo-voice and storytelling. These are methods which embrace the perspective that life is multifaceted, polysemic and complex where meaning is always created and re-created. However, even though there are many ways to give meaning to life, sometimes dominant (negative) discourses prevail. Appreciative and strength-based approaches aim at introducing other voices that might not be heard or noticed.
And so, that was our focus: to bring to fore other meanings beyond the dominant ones of poverty, violence and disease. We wanted to generate stories that could also portray the beauty of Uganda and empower its people.
The result was a bricolage of stories collaboratively developed with the youth. We had an exhibition for the community to see their creation, and that too was inspiring and empowering for the kids.
I had a fantastic time working with the young people, visiting the community and learning from the local people. I hope that this summer’s project will mark the beginning of a long and productive collaboration with Peter and the Hope for Youth Uganda community.”
Dr. Celiane Camargo-Borges is a psychologist and researcher, currently working at Imagineering Academy in the Netherlands. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Health and has approached community health care with a social constructionist orientation. As a native of Sao Paolo, Brazil, she participated in her country’s innovative national health care program, before later taking a teaching position at Yan Ming University in Taipei, Taiwan.
Peter Nsubuga is a community worker in Kampala, Uganda. A trained accountant, Peter switched professions to respond to the need for help in communities suffering from disease, dire poverty and lack of clean water. He is the founder of Hope for Youth Uganda, an organization that provides food, clothing and education for 120 children. Since training with the Institute, he has introduced a creative spin-off of the All Stars Talent Show Network model, along with social therapeutic inspired group therapy for elders.