Project Trust Update
In 2013 the JWT awarded a grant of £2,000 to Project Trust, to help four volunteers hit their fundraising targets. Project Trust is a wonderful organization, based on the Isle of Coll, which arranges 'gap year' opportunities focusing on educational voluntary charity work in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Project Trust was launched in 1967, sending three volunteers to Aba Hanna Jima School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Over the years the numbers of volunteers and diversity of the projects have been magnified. We are thrilled to be receiving feedback from the volunteers who set out at the end of last year to embark on their 12 month, yet life changing, projects.
In September 2013 a charismatic, enthusiastic and highly positive young girl, Jasmine Ojofeitimi, from Urmston in Manchester, finished school and set out for a year away from family and friends in the heart of Malawi. Jasmine worked in Joshua Orphan and Community Care, where she helped with the running of the orphanage and feeding centers, keeping the children washed, fed and helping to advance their English. Jasmine had thrown herself into the project and sounded like the most wonderful teacher, playing games, singing songs and was rapidly accredited with an improvement in the children's English! Her experiences really speak for themselves on her blog. It makes a heartwarming read and we highly recommend it!
Our next volunteer, Bushra Peart, was looking for an opportunity to do something completely unknown and worthwhile before settling down to study midwifery at university. She volunteered for a project based in Johannesburg, The Hamlet Foundation, a residential centre and protective workshop for children and young adults with learning difficulties and mental illness.
The Hamlet Foundation is divided into three sections; a residential centre, a protective workshop and The Hamlet School. Bushra was ultimately involved as a care worker across all levels of the Foundation, in what proved to be a very hands-on role.
Initially she worked as a volunteer care worker, rising at 6am to prepare the adults for the day. She would then accompany the more severely disabled to the holistic 'stimulation centre', where they enjoyed a full and interactive daytime programme, whilst the more able would spend time in the protective workshop. This fantastic scheme provides meaningful employment to 140 intellectually disabled workers. The workshop operates as a factory, with hand assembly and packing of products for commercial companies (including a couple of high profile South African companies, 'Dis-Chem' and 'Pick n Pay').
Alongside her day to day duties, Bushra opted to take on some extra responsibilities, including helping with extra cooking over the weekends (rather than having the time off) and organising a variety of events, both for the residents and to raise money and awareness for the school. From Special Olympics for the low functioning adults, to discos for the residents, to a 'Casual Day' where businesses involved with the organisation, staff and residents could dress down .. with a theme! 2013 was themed 'BIG' – think big hair, big glasses, big bows, big hats ...! She made a very positive contribution to the school and I'm sure they regretted having to let her return to England. A note from Bushra:
"Although I literally loved the work I did in South Africa I was encouraged to take time off to see the country. This allowed me to ride on an ostrich, play with baby lions, go to an elephant park and ride on a segway (which were all amazing)!
Overall I got to work and play in South Africa and both were enjoyable! I've been back in England for around eight months now and I still miss it, hopefully one day I will go back.
Thank you so much for contributing to this experience. This has been one of the most amazing opportunities to date in my life right now. If I ever get in the same position as you to donate, for a young person to volunteer abroad, I definitely would. Because there aren't enough words to describe how much of an amazing opportunity it was, and how beneficial it is to a young persons development."