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Passport to opportunity

 

  For more than 50 years the Round Table Trust has been doing more by providing opportunities for the young people of Britain and Ireland. 

 

The Round Table Trust, founded in 1962, offers travel grants to young people who volunteer for community service projects overseas. 

 

There can’t be one Table that hasn’t had a request for funding to assist a young person looking to give their time to a worthy cause in some corner of the world. 

 

These are life-enhancing opportunities that deliver tangible benefits to the recipient, the cause they support but also Round Table as they become ambassadors. 

 

Aside from promoting applicants, the Trust also requires donations to be able to provide support to young people. Why not consider a donation at your next business meeting? 

 

We have supplied two case studies of recent beneficiaries of the Trust, reflecting on the impact it had on them and the communities they went to. 

 

To qualify for funds 

 

There are a number of criteria that each applicant has to fulfil to secure funds. The full list is available on the Round Table website but they must be over 18, tangible benefits to the community they go to, placement at least three weeks, provide a written report upon return. For more information search for Round Table Trust on the Round Table website.  

 

Application process – if the candidate can fulfil all criteria, then they need to complete an application form. With limited funds, each application is considered on its own merits. An endorsement by a local Round Table or Ladies Circle could strengthen the application. 

 

To find out more 

www.facebook.com/roundtabletrust to ‘like’ and share with your friends; 

 

Text BoxCase study 1 - Emily Dickson, Kenya 

 

I was one of seven people that flew to Kenya in July 2015 for a five-week project. 

 

After arriving in Nairobi we were driven to St Mary’s Boarding School for Boys. Our project was based on the building of accommodation for teachers.  

 

Throughout our time there we helped to build two of these homes, aiding the builders in various tasks; from carrying cement powder, rocks and sand, to cutting bricks to the correct size for the building. 

Throughout the first few days our main task was focused on moving bricks, and as the time progressed we moved onto creating the homemade scaffolding, and the roof beams. Back home we are so used to metal scaffolding and machines to do the work, I never comprehended the difference.  

 

One of the focuses of St Mary's School is that it is a rescue centre, which means that it takes boys in whom previously lived on the streets due to issues such as being orphaned, and domestic violence, or lived in the slums and therefore couldn't afford an education. St Mary's normally takes these boys in at a young age, and supports them through their Primary and Secondary education.  

 

We were so humbled by the people we met at the school, from the amazing life stories about their life before St Mary's and their struggles now, to the ambition and commitment of the boys to their education and future careers.  

We spent free time playing football with the boys or attending homework sessions. We also went on various trips, from the Maasai Mara safari, to the Menengai Crater in Nakuru. These immersed us in the culture of Kenya. 

My visit to Kenya was nothing like I had anticipated. The influence it has had on me will remain with me forever. While we only spent five weeks in Kenya, the accommodation we built will house teachers for many generations. I will always hold the memories of this place close in my heart, and am so grateful for the opportunity I had. 

 

 

Case study 2 – Ben Cushion, Cambodia 

 

In July last year, I set off as Deputy Leader of a group of 13 students from Durham University to embark on a life-changing experience. Over the six-week expedition, I learned a lot about the unique country, its people and its culture, as well as about myself.  

The six-week trip focused on a four-week volunteering project in Battambang with the Future Sense Foundation on their “Challenges Abroad” programme,  

 

One of the main features of life in Cambodia that remains underdeveloped is education. Children receive government-funded education in the morning, but in the afternoon must rely on private lessons. The poorest families cannot afford afternoon education. In Battambang, the local charity Children’s Action for Development, has sought to address this by setting up CAD schools run by volunteers to provide Khmer (Cambodian language) and English lessons to some of the poorest and most vulnerable children. 

The Future Sense Foundation provides English speaking volunteers to support local volunteer teachers and lead lessons. The Future Sense Foundation also provides volunteers to help with renovation and building work of the local area, where many live on the poverty line.  

 

Over four weeks, our mornings were spent building kitchens for two families and painting a local high school, and afternoons were spent teaching English in one of the CAD schools.  

For the first two weeks of the project, mornings were spent in a rural area half an hour from Battambang, building a kitchen for a family of four and a family of five. The experience of building something from scratch was an incredibly rewarding one. As well as the building work, we left both families with a six-month package of cooking basics to see them through the winter.  

 

In weeks three and four, mornings were spent painting classrooms in a local high school alongside a group of sixth form volunteers from the school. 

Teaching English was by far the most challenging but most rewarding aspect of the trip. We arrived with little teaching experience, but left feeling we had made a significant contribution to the children’s development.  

After the project, we had a bit of time to unwind in the tropical islands off of Sinhanoukville – Cambodia’s beach town – and Kampot – a laid-back river town, before heading to the capital, Phnom Penh. Here we visited the famous Killing Fields and S-21 prison – remnants on the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. 

 

It was a fantastic experience and I am extremely grateful to everyone who supported me. I feel I have grown as an individual and I feel that our work has added real value to the community we worked it. 

Of the £2,850 I fundraised for the expedition, £800 was given to the Burma Education Partnership. The charity works in refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border providing teacher training programs and migrant schools. 

 

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