Published on 25 October 2012
25 October 2012
The University of the Sunshine Coast has teamed up with Buderim’s own version of Santa’s workshop to bring smiles to the faces of orphaned children in Tanzania this Christmas.
A group of USC Nursing Science students will deliver handcrafted wooden toys made by volunteers from the Buderim Men’s Shed to children at Upendo Orphanage and Nursery School in Moshi on Christmas Day.
The orphanage is one of the facilities the nursing students will visit during four weeks of voluntary work in Tanzania. Other venues include the Rau Day Care Centre, St Joseph Hospital and Mawenzi Regional Hospital.
Buderim Men’s Shed coordinator Norm Thursby said the group’s toymakers made about 800 toys every year for disadvantaged children.
“When Leonie Williams from USC told us that the only toys that the children in the hospitals played with were inflated rubber gloves that volunteers supplied, we were only too happy to help out,” he said.
“Because the availability of toys over there is zero, anything is better than nothing, so we are making basic toys – things like blocks and small trucks.”
USC’s Senior Lecturer in Nursing Dr Leonie Williams said the students were looking forward to seeing the children’s reactions on Christmas Day.
She said the volunteer work, in both hospitals and health centres, gave students an insight into the tough lives and working conditions in an underdeveloped nation.
“It's a life-changing event for many students,” she said.
“The hospital I was working in when I was over there last time had no running water or insect screens in the wards, and candles were used for night lights.
“This type of work prepares students for disaster relief and gives them an understanding of the hardships should they choose to work in a third-world country.”
Dr Williams said participating students were required to be vaccinated for diseases including yellow fever, cholera and typhoid fever prior to leaving Australia.
“There are many diseases over there that we are not familiar with,” she said.
“We don’t see children with malaria here, or the level of gastroenteritis, or children with HIV. So we learn about those things from them, and what they learn from us is nursing best practice.”
— Michelle Widdicombe