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Outstanding student helps disadvantaged children in Bulgaria 

Rebecca Newby

Primary Education student, Rebecca Newby spent a week teaching disadvantaged children and helping in developing the facilities of a school in Varna, Bulgaria. 

Rebecca, from Peterlee, has taken all the opportunities available throughout her programme and has engaged in several teaching placements. During her second year placement she made excellent progress and was graded as an ‘Outstanding’ trainee. The 21-year-old, felt she had more to give and applied for the Bulgarian volunteering programme Gavroche to work with children on the edge of Varna town. 

Thanks to the Futures Fund Student Opportunity Scholarship Rebecca was able to fund this life-changing experience. 

She said: “The Roma still live in inadequate housing (some in shacks), and it is common to see children with signs of physical abuse, such as cigarette burns on their arms. Gavroche provides a variety of different types of support not only for the Roma children, but also for victims of child abuse, working closely with social services. 

“I decided to take this opportunity to experience and to learn about the culture, education, and needs of children who live a disadvantaged lifestyle in a foreign country, and to challenge myself to work in a very difficult, diverse environment, developing my skills. 

“I have a very clear understanding of how opportunities such as this can be used to develop my future employability, and I am also very keen to gain as much experience from within and beyond the programme as I possibly can, which is why this was a perfect opportunity!”

Rebecca Newby

Rebecca Newby

During her stay Rebecca worked with the Roma children to help them build self-confidence and to help them integrate better socially. She also worked with children who have varying learning difficulties, such as Autism. 

She concluded: “Overall, this was an extremely eye-opening, heart-wrenching, and thoroughly rewarding experience and if I was ever given the opportunity to do something like this again, I would not think twice! 

“I would like to thank the Futures Fund’s donors for the extremely honourable donation which allowed me to make the most of this opportunity and provide the children and their community with as much as possible. The children were extremely grateful, not only for the gifts we brought with us, but also our company.”

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