Give Back > #SupportSunderland - Jennifer Donnison

Opportunity Scholarship - Jennifer Donnison

Jennifer Donnison set off for a three-week voluntary mission while studying Primary Education to a township preschool outside Capetown in South Africa, her life-changing journey made possible thanks to £500 from the Futures Fund.

“I was studying Primary Education at the University and this project was shown to us during a lecture in our second year and I thought it sounded like a fantastic experience.”

Jennifer couldn’t afford to travel to South Africa, but in her third year found out about support available for students looking to help others while improving their professional development.

“In three weeks I learned so much from the staff and children at the school, which is run by four ladies who live in the township. None have teaching qualifications and two of them juggle teaching with cleaning jobs elsewhere, sometimes leaving only two women to run the school, which educates 60 children in two classes.

Jennifer worked in a class of 30 five and six year olds, teaching shapes and colours, the alphabet, writing and counting through games and hands on activities.

“The teacher helped translate and it was a fun and effective way for the children to learn. The teacher told me she will continue to take on my suggestions and move away from learning by rote.

“The children also taught me a lot. They are extremely happy and really appreciate learning new things. They taught me songs, dances and games from their culture too.

“The experience that the University’s Futures Fund made possible was life-changing for me and will be invaluable to employers. I’m so grateful to have been able to volunteer in a South African school; it’s an experience I won’t forget.”

Jennifer has recently completed her NQT year in the UK and has been made permanent in a school. 

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