Monday 23 October 2017

moses mulimira sukhwinder singh red cross uganda refugees

A University of Northampton lecturer’s international charity work with refugees in Africa has been recognised at our recent social enterprise and innovation awards.

Sukhwinder Singh, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, was named Global Changemaker of the Year at our annual Changemaker Awards held at the Guildhall in Northampton.

Changemaker is a University of Northampton-wide initiative which focuses on staff and students finding solutions to environmental or social problems to improve people’s lives, either at home or abroad. The Changemaker awards recognise and reward the most innovative and impactful projects.

photo changemaker award sukhwinder singh
Sukhwinder Singh with his Global Changemaker of the Year Award. Image by Paul Michael Hughes Photography

When Sukhwinder isn’t teaching the next generation of Social Workers, he works in his spare time as a Special Envoy to the Ugandan Red Cross.

He travels to Uganda, East Africa leading a team of 30 people on projects to help support and counsel children from war torn South Sudan who have travelled to Uganda in search of shelter and protection.

Sukhwinder has just returned from two weeks in Uganda, where the University of Northampton is a key partner with Health Education England and the UK Health Alliance in integrating health programmes across the country.

The University’s Faculty of Health and Society are already looking into new ways to develop the links we have with Uganda.

Projects underway following this last trip include balancing midwifery provision more equally between refugee and civilian areas of the country and introducing psychosocial interventions to help different tribal groups socialise together, for instance football leagues for children.

moses mulimira sukhwinder singh red cross uganda refugees
Moses Mulimira from the Uganda UK Health Alliance and Health Education England and Sukhwinder Singh (left) and some of the people they have been helping.

Sukhwinder, who hails from Coventry, said: “The University of Northampton’s ethos is all about getting out of the lecture theatre and into the world to lend a hand when it is needed, so I’m glad that my team’s work in Uganda has been recognised with this Changemaker award.

“Of course, it isn’t all about trophies and the work still continues. With an estimated 1.2million Sudanese refugees already in Uganda and more expected to follow, it is feeling the strain. We are working on a number of much needed projects that, over the next few months, will see us continue to make a real, positive difference.”

Dr Steve O’Brien, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Society, seconded Sukhwinder’s thoughts: “At the Changemaker awards, I was struck by the number of fantastic projects the university is involved in. Congratulations to Sukhwinder and the other nominees, who were all winners in my eyes.

“At the Faculty, we have a vast array of experts in a number of disciplines and we are using their skills and knowledge across the board in Uganda and other countries as part of our international ‘Changemaker’ approach.”

Robert Kwesiga, Secretary General, Uganda Red Cross Society, praised the work of Sukhwinder and his team: “Dr Singh’s contribution to our humanitarian work in Uganda is immeasurable. He has been at the forefront of our South Sudan refugee operations and has worked closely with our teams throughout the country to enhance reach and impact.

“We always have no better words to use to express our gratitude to Dr. Singh and we are happy to learn of this great achievement of an Award. He is indeed a change maker. Congratulations Dr. Singh, We are proud of you!”

Conflict has been raging in South Sudan since war broke out there in 2013, leading to many South Sudanese fleeing across the border to their Ugandan neighbours. Uganda has one of the most welcoming refugee policies in the world, giving land parcels to displaced peoples for instance.

For anyone who is interested in joining Sukhwinder’s team providing vital assistance in Uganda, email: sukhwinder.singh@northampton.ac.uk

For more information about the Ugandan Red Cross and to donate to their appeal.

See our website for more about our Social Work (Ba hons) course.

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