Student Volunteers Jenny and Sanaya Welcomed to Club Meeting

Jenny Scotland from Harpenden, one of our student volunteers, has now graduated from Bristol University. Jenny came to our Club Meeting to reported back on her ICYE Inter-Cultural Youth Exchange 2 month project in Bolivia last year. Before she went the Club gave her a donation of £40 and she promised to come back and tell us about it. Jenny is pictured here with Club President Katherine Clark.

Jenny’s presentation is available to download here Jenny Scotland Volunteering in Bolivia The charity she was working for is called Alalay and helps the street children from Santa Cruz in Bolivia. She worked in a cabana in a rural area with 1 permanent member of staff supporting 11 girls aged 6-17 all with very different needs. She lived with a host family to immerse herself in Bolivian life and was able to visit the city of Santa Cruz and do a little travelling in the rest of the country before returning home. Bolivia has the highest rate of poverty in South America and there is a massive gap between the rich and the poor. Without the work of this charity the children would still be on the streets (if alive!). Jenny had a number of challenges to overcome and found that her inability to speak Spanish and understand the children made life difficult and made non-verbal communication really important. She had never worked with children before and had to learn to develop a thick skin because, as we all know, kids can be cruel at times as well as loving! Soroptimist Club Members asked Jenny lots of questions – there is an issue of what happens to girls after they receive an education, what does their future hold? These girls are traumatised and should have been receiving counselling but Jenny hadn’t seen evidence of it being given. Jenny has decided she would like to work in the field of International Development and is now planning to go back to Bolivia to see “her girls” because 2 months just wasn’t enough. We wish her every success.

On the same evening Sanaya Patel who has just finished her 1st year at Loughborough University and lives in Batchwood came to sell us cakes to fundraise and tell us about her forthcoming trip to Uganda with East African Playgrounds – the charity was set up recognising that play is important for children’s learning, wellbeing and for healthy brain development. While Sanaya is in Uganda she will be in a team building a playground and will also have the opportunity to work with the Ugandan Wildlife Authority on a conservation project with the endangered Ugandan gorillas. See Sanaya’s fundraising page for more information www.eastafricanplaygrounds.org/fundraisers/sanaya-patel-volunteers-in-uganda-2019-help-sanaya-give-the-gift-of-play-to-underprivileged-children   the presentation she gave on the night Sanaya Patel Uganda 2019  and also watch the video on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qvq2TmBnbY The Club gave Sanaya a cheque for £50 and Members made generous donations of £54.40 – we have to say she is a very talented cake maker and her cakes were absolutely delicious (see pic of Sanaya showing that the lemon drizzle has nearly all gone!) sorry to those who couldn’t make the meeting…. Sanaya was absolutely thrilled and said “I have so nearly made my target – thank you so much this is brilliant! I can’t wait to come back and tell you all about my trip” – we can’t wait to hear about it either!

The Club’s support for female students with overseas projects is managed by the Club’s Learning Opportunities Team. It is a great personal development opportunity for young women – understanding global problems for women and girls, experiencing different cultures, taking them out of their comfort zones in many ways including giving a presentation to the Club before and after their trips – fulfilling the Soroptimist three E’s of Educate Empower Enable.