Blog: Cairdeas Scholars: Updates at end of 2023!

Hannah Ikong
16th November 2023

Cairdeas International Palliative Care Trust is pleased to offer scholarships to partnering individuals and we currently have four Cairdeas Scholars. Hear more about each of their progress and their update below!


Godfrey Oziti
Studying a Diploma of Nursing in Gulu, Uganda

I am so delighted to talk and share some updates on my school! I am in the second semester of nursing and passed all my classes well last semester. In this semester, there are several topics to cover and papers to write and one of the topics is palliative care. We have also been covering community-based healthcare, primary healthcare, disaster management, and some occupational healthcare. Four of the papers that I have been writing are based on these theories, and the last paper is practical. It’s been wonderful to formally study palliative care, to better understand it as a whole and add to what Vicky Opia has taught me at Peace Hospice Adjumani. 

Much of our palliative care course contains what we taught to the Village Health Teams, the VHTs: kinds of chronic, serious illness, holistic care, pain and symptom management, and communication like breaking bad news. I led my group members in being able to assess pain. One of the core palliative care instructors is a preacher as well, and he has taught me about assessing and addressing spiritual concerns in end of life. He gives us many “real life” examples in his teaching and has helped me better understand the role of spirituality in palliative care. 
So really, I am really, really excited to be in this nursing programme; to go to school and gain knowledge. The knowledge that I am adding on now, is what I will bring to the community. I want to give special regards to Cairdeas IPCT for this scholarship. And after the end of this semester, by the second week of December, I will be going back and working at Peace Hospice Adjumani during the holidays.


Phillip Amol Kuol
Studying a Bachelor of Social Work in Arua, Uganda

Since our last communication, I have completed the Diploma course for social work and administration, and so I am now in my first semester as a Bachelor’s student. Let me explain quickly: for students without any diploma, their Bachelor degree would be three years, but since I was able to study for the Diploma with a Cairdeas Scholarship, I am halfway through the Bachelor’s degree. Now that it has been some time after COVID-19, the university is no longer offering online classes. I now live in Arua and attend all my classes in person.

In my classes, I am finding that some of the examples given where social workers are needed touch me personally. Either in my own experiences or experiences in the community; these familiar textbook examples remind me that I am part of humanity and also makes me remember my life in South Sudan. Social workers are needed for so many South Sudanese people; due to the war there, we now have so many different crises, suffering and abuse in our community [including refugee settlement camps]. Social work also addresses and touches the way people behave, including how we are brought up and what influences us to live certain lifestyles. I see the effects of war in our communities from issues like bankruptcy, cattle stealing, and domestic violence.

The way that the Cairdeas team has supported me makes me want to support others. It began when I was in Nyamunzi Camp in Adjumani, supporting clients with chronic illnesses and working with Vicky Opia, Dr Mhoira Leng, and Godfrey Oziti in palliative care. Helping others also has led me to join an organisation this year, a community-based organisation (CBO) called Dongriin Foundation which has the main activities of supporting education and providing mentorship to the youth in refugee camps. And so that is why I continue to say that the way Cairdeas has supported me, I want to support others; through providing guidance, mentorship, books and when possible, with finances. 


Toko Friday Santiago
Studying a Masters of Social Work in Kampala, Uganda

How are my studies? I am doing well, I passed my first semester and now I am in the second semester. School is really about hard work and reading hard, and it has helped me grow in my knowledge base of social work and has given me some skills. An example is with the monthly social work reports I write for PcERC; I’ve discovered a more efficient way to report our social work activities from my classes.

Currently, my studies have given me some input on how to approach children on the ward [both paediatric patients and young family members] and one item of interest to me is play therapy. Another area of interest is advocacy in social work and how to support human rights. I am very interested in advocacy and would like to find more opportunities to do so in the team. I feel like in my undergraduate studies in social work, everything was so compressed in our syllabus, but with my Masters, I have been able to explore and go deeper in class. 

The PcERC team has been helpful and flexible with giving me times of study leave, as well as time to go complete my exams. I have been able to balance work and school. I am grateful to Cairdeas for the scholarship and this opportunity to study social work at a postgraduate level. I also want to give thanks to God; without God, things would not have been possible. While it is not always easy to juggle work and school, as well as other pressures in my personal life, I am encouraged by the work. Seeing the connections and areas of need gives me resilience and the desire to keep doing what I am doing. In my Masters of Social Work, I have realised that I am the right person for the social worker’s role.


Vicky Opia
Studying a Masters of Public Health in Gulu, Uganda

I am in my first semester and my studies are going well. During the weekend classes, we have been studying areas like research, biostatistics, epidemiology, and public nutrition. My papers and work completed so far are receiving good marks, and I am eager to incorporate issues related to prevention at Peace Hospice Adjumani. I am interested in prevention especially in the communities we work with in home hospice care, as I have been observing similar factors in some of the chronic illnesses presented, including cancer. Peace Hospice Adjumani and my studies are also correlating in an area of my course research, where I am planning a research methodology in refugee and host communities. 

The last few months have been so busy. There has been partnership work we’ve been doing with the Ministry of Health (Adjumani Hospital) and with Peace Hospice Adjumani to provide community health. I am also a Rotarian, and so we are planning a cancer run on November 25 as a Rotary Club. This cancer run is to raise awareness, support current patients with cancer and their families, and to fund those who need to travel to Kampala to visit the Uganda Cancer Institute or Mulago Hospital. In addition to all this, we are still keeping in touch with the Village Health Teams (VHTs) that were trained in palliative care. We invite more partnerships and activities in the future, and are so very grateful for the support from Cairdeas IPCT.

Cairdeas Scholars: Updates at end of 2023!

Between classes, he takes a selfie with a fellow nursing student: Godfrey Oziti.

Cairdeas Scholars: Updates at end of 2023!

Phillip Amol Kuol at Arua Christian University. In the past, Phillip had online classes but now he is attending in person.

Cairdeas Scholars: Updates at end of 2023!

Toko Friday Santiago advocating for PcERC, our partner in hospital-integrated palliative care at a Charity event this November.

Cairdeas Scholars: Updates at end of 2023!

We congratulate Vicky Opia for beginning her first semester as a Masters student in Gulu University.