I completed the NCS programme back in summer 2017 and absolutely loved it; I met some amazing people and really enjoyed camping and living in University halls but a big part of the programme for me was the social action project. Our group decided to volunteer in a local elderly and after completing this phase of the programme my team leader nominated me for the NCS Graduate of the year award by for taking a lead on our plan, organising the group.

All of us nominees were asked to propose an idea for how we would improve Jubilee Academy, a school in Nakuru, Kenya. I decided to base my idea on providing access to resources to aid the education of the children in the form of a secure library full of both text books and fiction texts they could read for fun. The nominee’s ideas were then gradually narrowed down to the top 5 at which point we were invited to the DCCT offices to complete a “Dragons Den” style presentation, to persuade the panel why our idea would be the best for the school. I’ve got to say that was a pretty nerve racking process but I was lucky enough to be selected as the winner of the NCS Graduate of the year award and given the opportunity to implement my idea in real life!

In the months running up to the trip I managed to raise £1600 for the school which we took out to Jubilee Academy. Amazingly, this managed to cover the costs of both the library and books still leaving some spare. This was used to secure the classroom in which the library was built by installing a solid metal door and large metal windows to let more light into the room to make the classroom bright and airy for the children. We also went out and bought food to cook a BBQ for the whole school, complete with hotdogs, fruit and juice. The library turned out better than I ever could’ve hoped for and the teachers and children were so happy to have access to their own personal collection.

The thing that I’ve found has resonated with me most since returning home is just how appreciative the children were for the things we take for granted so easily. A simple pile of exercise books and a few packets of crayons had them smiling ear to ear for the rest of the day and it was the most rewarding feeling to be able to add something positive to their school experience. I met some amazingly supportive people and can honestly say it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and am so grateful to have even been considered for the award and been given such an amazing opportunity.

Please see the Rams in Kenya page to register your interest for 2019.

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