21st April 2018
Writing: Orla Fawcett (Year 13)
Photography: Orla Fawcett (Year 13)
Editing: Flo Copp (Year 13)
Back in September I was set on going to university straight after A Levels. However, when my friend told me about her summer, her visit to the Isle of Coll and the gap year she was going to embark on, I looked on the Project Trust website and felt inspired. I then decided to go on a selection course to find out more about Project Trust. The course was in November on the Isle of Coll in Scotland and I was selected soon afterwards to go to Nepal to teach English and ICT. Even after this, I was unsure whether I was going to be able to raise the £6200 needed to go so I applied for university without deferring the entry, and hoped for the best. Looking back to January and my total of £200, I am amazed that I have managed to raise £6000 in the last few months, along with studying for A Levels and the mocks that have happened between January and now.
I will be in Nepal for 12 months and living in very basic accommodation alongside a Nepalese family in a rural area. Given the limited electricity in Nepal I will teach using very minimal resources: a cardboard keyboard perhaps, and a blackboard and chalk. I will be teaching in a country where there is a lack of employment opportunities and an under-resourced education system which results in the majority of Nepalese people from rural areas being forced into one of two life choices: to stay in their local village as a farmer or move to a big city in Nepal, or the Middle East, and become a labourer. A more expansive education and increased English language abilities will help Nepali students access a wider range of opportunities than those currently available to them. I would like to use my knowledge of English in a positive way through teaching and, as languages are a passion of mine, I would also like to learn the Nepali language in order to improve my own language skills. I believe in Project Trust as a charity, and I’m excited to be part of something that has now been around for 50 years. I really like Project Trust because the volunteering is not voluntourism, and the projects are sustained over a long period of time.
In four months, I have applied to over one hundred charitable trusts, organised a cake sale at school which raised £500 (thanks to everyone who bought cakes and helped out), I’ve given a talk at the Soroptimists in St Albans, and, my most recent fundraiser: a quiz night! The quiz night was on the 21st April, at the Little Theatre in Chesham, and it was a great culmination of all the work that has been put in during the last few months. So many people helped out with this and it really showed what the help of a community can do: I asked around for a projector and a projector screen and managed to source both of these, as well as a PA system and even the hall itself was given free of charge!
The night consisted of homemade quiz questions on sport, music, literature and more. There was even a round where clips of different films were shown on the screen and you had to guess the language and also the film from each clip. Again, I couldn’t have done this without help. I think I underestimated the management and effort that needs to be put into a quiz! On the night, there were also four different dishes including chili and a classic Nepali dal, as well as baguettes and snacks. Zach Yarrow was on the piano improvising all evening to make for a jazzy vibe throughout the quiz. Taking out expenses from the night and also from leaflets and postage costs from before, I managed to raise £400.
The £6200 I have now raised will cover flights, insurance, support overseas, the residential courses and accommodation and food. This money also supports Project Trust in setting up new projects to support people all over the world.
I have some great opportunities ahead of me: a year in Nepal followed by (hopefully) going to the University of Manchester to study Spanish and Chinese. It will be challenging, but also rewarding, and although I’ll miss my family and friends, I think the year away will be a life-changing experience. I’m so grateful for all the support that I’ve been given through the past few months and I’m excited to have a cultural experience that I’d have never thought possible before Autumn 2017.
I still need to raise money for my visa and vaccinations, so I’ve set up a separate JustGiving page if you’d like to donate:JustGiving page
To find out more, you can visit my Facebook page (and also message me through this) and my Virgin Money Giving page:Facebook pageVirgin Money Giving page