The daughters of a Scottish aid worker have gained some perspective after a trip to Uganda, their mother has said.
Ziz York, born in Inverness, was tired of her youngsters – nine-year-old Nia and eight-year-old Robyn – describing themselves as “poor”, so she took them on an expedition to Africa.
Ms York, who currently works for the Welsh charity Teams4U which specialises in educational work on sexual health in Uganda, paid for the pair to accompany her on a trip to the country – which she said was “mind blowing for them”.
Teams4U aims to teach girls about their periods so they are not too ashamed to go to school, as well as to provide lessons to women and girls in family planning.
Ms York said: “Before we went to Uganda, my daughters had been complaining ‘Oh, we’re so poor’ because they’d seen friends get holidays to Disney World or getting an Xbox for their birthdays and stuff like that.
“I turned round and said ‘You have a roof over your head, we have loose change in our pockets, we can buy pretty much what we want in a supermarket, you have freedom of movement, we are in the top 5% richest in the world’.”
The youngsters did not believe their mother, saying they didn’t have “a mansion or servants”, so Ms York decided to show them the conditions some in Uganda are forced to live in.
She said: “We do live in a suburban bubble, so Uganda was mind-blowing for them.
“I think the biggest eye-opener for them was just the lack of clothing. They were seeing children that were a quarter dressed because their clothes were that ragged.
“They saw the lack of basic supplies we take for granted. The Ugandan kids didn’t have pens, paper, underwear, a lot of them didn’t have shoes. There were no toys.”
Although Nia and Robyn did not see the malnutrition suffered by some children in the country, or those dying from malaria, Ms York said they were given enough insight to understand why Uganda needs help.
She added: “I wish more British people could get that perspective.”
Teams4U works with more than 1,000 community leaders in the country to tackle the problem of overpopulation – with the birth rate in the country at 5.6 children for every woman.
The Department for International Development (DFID) aims to support 360,000 women and girls with family planning – as well as ensuring a further 200,000 are able to access education.
Teams4U was in receipt of a £36,000 grant from DFID to help with their work in the country through its Small Charities Challenge Fund.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The UK Government’s Small Charities Challenge Fund was set up to make it easier for smaller UK organisations, which do vital work around the world, to access the crucial support they need to help end poverty.
“UK aid has helped Welsh charity Teams4U expand their work to improve sexual and menstrual health awareness among girls in Uganda so they can thrive at school and reach their full potential.
“We want more small charities, doing important, life-changing and live-saving work in developing countries, to apply for a grant, so they can grow, and support jobs in the UK, while making even more of a difference globally.”