Champlain in Uganda and the Malayaka House in Vermont

This past May, a group of Champlain students headed to Entebbe, Uganda, for three weeks. It was the fourth annual Teach for Tomorrow trip that enabled ten students to visit the Malayaka House and get the experience of a lifetime.

Led by two Champlain staff members, Abby Mendenhall, assistant director of LEAD, and Maggie Melvin, assistant director in the Center for Service & Civic Engagement, these students went to the Malayaka House, which is a home started by Robert Fleming in 2005. The house takes in abandoned children, as well as five hired Ugandan women ("The Aunties") and creates better futures for all of them.

Not only does the Malayaka House change the lives of those children, it changes the lives of Champlain students every year. "The stuff that I learned and took away from this trip, it's going to impact me forever," explained Samantha Hoeltge '15. Hoeltge was one of the ten students who went on the trip. Billy Boos, Chloe O'Brien, Micheala Herrmann, Nina Knorr, Meg Tighe, Billy St. Louis, Chelsea Day, Fletcher Ramsey and Jess Lowell also went on the trip. Mendenhall, Melvin, and several of the students gathered together earlier this summer to present photos and memories about their trip.

The students discussed everything from their viewpoints on feminism and how it changed during the visit to which kids they had fallen in love with. With each person that spoke, it was clear to see how much they had been impacted. They all discussed how much they wanted to go back.

At the end of the presentation, Robert Fleming, founder of the house, stood up and told his story. From the trip in 2005 where he rescued a newborn baby to the establishment of the home to how grateful he was for the Champlain students who visit each year. "It benefits the children so much. It's unforgettable for them," Fleming raved.

Champlain College students at the Malayaka House in Uganda.Two Champlain students with some of the kids from the Malayaka House.A Champlain student with some kids from the Malayaka House.

It seems to be unforgettable for everyone, and many students seem to be itching to go back. For those looking to go on the trip, applications begin in November. Staff and faculty are also encouraged to go on the trip. For more information on the Malayaka House and the trip and the school email Maggie Melvin at mmelvin@champlain.edu.


Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Quebec and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 60 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 379 Colleges: 2015 Edition. Champlain was named a "Top-Up-and-Coming School" by U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges and is ranked in the top tier of 2014 Regional Colleges in the North. For more information, visit www.champlain.edu.