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What happens to debates winners?

Bandon Grammar School won the Concern Worldwide debates in 2012. Their prize? A trip to Uganda, where they saw our work firsthand. Here’s an account of their trip, written by the students themselves.

On our first day in Uganda we visited Concern’s office in the bustling capital city Kampala. After meeting the team we made the nine-hour journey northwards to Pader. This gave us an opportunity to take in the magnificent scenery and also get a glimpse into the everyday lives of Ugandans.

Charity work in Pader

For many years, Pader was badly affected by conflict. Many people there were forced to leave their homes. Concern are doing amazing work helping the people in the area recover from this crisis. 

We witnessed the help given to people affected by gender-based violence. We visited farmers who had learned essential skills needed to produce life-giving crops. We also saw water and sanitation projects. Very impressive!

Fellow debaters

During our stay, we also visited Ligali primary and Rackoko secondary schools. Both schools welcomed us with open hearts and enquiring minds. We even got to give an impromptu debating workshop to the debating society in Rackoko! It was a privilege to pass on the skills we had gathered throughout the year to such interested fellow students.

Journey home

We also had time to do some sight-seeing in Murchison Falls National Park in west Uganda. 

The eight days passed quickly and it was with heavy hearts we made our final journey over red-soil roads back to Kampala, and onwards home to Ireland.  

Changed for life

It was a highly successful trip. We learned together, laughed together and above all, grew together. In this way it was not unlike our “trip” through the Concern debates competition. Both have changed us for life.

And finally...

We made a video of our trip - we hope you enjoy it!

This piece was written by Conor Barry, Georgie Tarr, Colin Kingston and Josh O’Regan of Bandon Grammar School.