Kristin Frye (MID '13, MPH '13)
My summer (2011) internship with Bright Kids Uganda was the perfect opportunity to put my GSPIA skills and knowledge into action. As an MID student, it was exciting to gain first-hand experiences NGO management, environmental sustainability, and website design. In addition, I participated in a variety of educational activities. I traveled around Kampala and to Masaka to study sustainable development practices and to Gulu in Northern Uganda to learn about the development of post-conflict areas. I visited the Mild May Medical center, which provides free HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, and met with the UNHCR, World Vision, Invisible Children, GUSCO, and Save the Children.
My supervisor, Victoria Nalongo Namusisi, is an inspiring leader. She taught me how to make things happen with very little funding, how to show compassion in difficult situations, and how to maintain transparency and legitimacy in an NGO. I gained admiration for the resilience of the people living in poverty, and an appreciation for the opportunities I have here in the USA. What’s more, the management, proposal writing, and fundraising skills I acquired are invaluable.
In addition to Victoria, I was inspired by one of the “Bright Kids” named Edrine (Eddie) Bukenya. Eddie is a 15-year-old boy who lost both parents to HIV/AIDS. Eddie walks 30 minutes to school each day in hopes of becoming a “computer scientist,” but the school he attends has no computers. For only $600 a year, Eddie could board at school with computers and potentially achieve his dream. With Eddie in mind, I began to get involved with several other organizations that are supporting Bright Kids Uganda: GSPIA’s Purposeful Penny, Bright Kids Books, and Bright Kids Uganda Foundation, U.S.A. Furthermore, I am planning to return to Uganda next summer to continue to build my relationship with this organization. Because of this internship, my interests and career goals have become more focused. I plan to continue studying the impact of poverty, disease, and conflict on the children of Uganda and East Africa. Specifically, I want to research how sustainable development practices can remedy or lessen this impact. Thanks to GSPIA and GSPH for helping me get to Bright Kids Uganda!