November 27, 2023, by Rebekah
Global Placement Grant – Learning Mentor Volunteer
by Serene Anderson, Economics student.
After graduating from the University of Nottingham in June 2023 I was keen to volunteer abroad before officially entering the workforce. I got into contact with a charity called the Daneford Trust and they arranged a placement for me for September. I worked in a non-profit educational facility called the Helping Hands Centre which serves children with all types of disabilities. The primary objective of the Helping Hands Centre is to develop the children’s daily living skills, including motor skills, language training, self-help and socialisation. The centre helps some of the most vulnerable members of St Vincentian society, while raising awareness around disabilities and leading fundraisers for medical treatments of their students.
During my time there I was a learning mentor, organising group activities in various subjects and offering extra support in the classroom. I assisted the teachers of the St Vincentian school with general day-to-day tasks, such as helping students get into and out of wheelchairs and other tasks they cannot perform on their own.
I thoroughly enjoyed leading educational games which helped the students to learn new skills and explore new ways of learning. It was extremely rewarding to feel as if I had played a part in building the self-confidence of these students. At times it was challenging to cater to the wide range of special needs the children had as I had not previously worked with children with disabilities. However, I quickly learned the different needs of each child and it was a pleasure to help out where I could.
I would highly recommend doing a placement abroad as it will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and it is an opportunity to embrace a different culture and learn new skills. This placement has been an unforgettable experience that has not only made me more open-minded but also taught me skills that will continue to be useful throughout my life, both in professional and personal settings.
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