By Spark of Life Team © Dementia Care International
At an international dementia conference in 2016, a chance meeting led to an invaluable opportunity for CommonAge Scholarship Delegate Richard Semanda, Founder and Executive Director, Geriatric Respite Care Foundation and his colleague Jesca Nakibirango – both from the African nation of Uganda – to receive cutting edge dementia care training in Australia.
In 2009, at the international IAHSA conference held in London, Dementia Care Australia received the International Excellence in Ageing Services Award for the Spark of Life Culture Enrichment Program that facilitates dementia rehabilitation and rementia. Six years later in Perth, at another International IAHSA conference, Dementia Care Australia was again acknowledged for its development of the International Spark of Life Master Course and for bringing its profound philosophy to eight countries.
At the 2016 conference, Richard Semanda from Uganda met Jane Verity, Founder and CEO of Dementia Care Australia and Hilary Lee, President of Spark of Life. Richard said, ‘Jane and Hilary showed genuine interest in our work in Uganda, and this connection became the catalyst for an exiting project to come to fruition.’
Recognising there are very few resources or training opportunities available for people working in aged care in Uganda, Dementia Care International sponsored Richard and his colleague Jesca to attend the 3-week International Spark of Life Master Course in Dementia Care in Perth during November 2016.
Spark of Life President, Hilary Lee said, ‘We were delighted to be able to offer Richard and Jesca this sponsorship. It goes to show what can be achieved when we work together for a common goal.’ ‘These two are so inspiring and passionate and have immersed themselves wholeheartedly into every aspect of the course. It is so good to know that through Richard and Jesca many people in Uganda will greatly benefit,’ she said.
Richard explained, ‘Through this education, I have learnt I can change people’s negative perceptions about people with dementia and start a specialised Dementia Care Centre. Undertaking the Spark of Life Master Course has enabled me to join a global network of pioneers in dementia care as well as empowering me with a deeper understanding and the skills to enrich the lives of people in Uganda.
Having initially sponsored Richard to attend the IAHSA conference, CommonAge, a new organisation supporting leaders in aged care in developing commonwealth countries, are excited that Richard and Jesca can benefit from implementing this philosophy of care in Uganda and see it as a tremendous outcome from having sponsored Richard to the conference.
‘The opportunity given by Dementia Care International is a great example of what can be achieved as we work towards our vision of advancing the interests of older people throughout the Commonwealth by building capability and capacity in health and care service,’ said Andrew Larpent, CommonAge Chairman. ‘Our many thanks go to Dementia Care International for finding a way to sponsor Richard and Jesca to attend the Spark of Life Master Course in Perth and we express our heartfelt thanks to the supporters of our scholarship program who have made this outcome possible”.
If you or anyone you know can offer further support towards sponsoring scholarships for people in developing countries to access the Spark of Life International Master Course, please email us at: