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Sharing Christmas cheer in Tanzania

Twenty nursing science students from University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) are set to leave for Tanzania to help bring smiles to the faces of orphans this Christmas.

USC joined with volunteers from the Buderim Men's Shed, who made handcrafted wooden toys to deliver to the children at Upendo Orphanage in Moshi.

Co-ordinator Norm Thursby said the group's toymakers made about 800 toys every year for disadvantaged children.

"Because the availability of toys over there is zero, anything is better than nothing, so we are making basic toys - things like blocks and trucks."

In what is planned to be a four-week trip, the students will also gain insight into the tough lives and working conditions of an underdeveloped nation by working in hospitals and health centres in the Mt Kilimanjaro region.

"The practicums are a life-changing event for many students," said USC senior lecturer in nursing Dr Leonie Williams.

"The hospital I was working in when I was over there last time had no running water or insect screens in the wards, and candles were used for night lights."

Williams said this type of work prepares students for disaster relief and gives them an understanding of the hardships should they choose to work in a third-world country.

"We don't see children with malaria here, or the level of gastroenteritis, or children with HIV. So we learn about those things from them, and what they learn from us is nursing best practice."

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