Sophie Littlejohns came through Edukid’s Global Citizenship Programme as a former student of Bideford College. She joined the Edukid team in early 2018 as apprentice and alongside her role as a Schools Worker, has studied Project Management. Sophie now manages partnerships between Edukid and schools across the UK, delivering assemblies, supporting fundraising, and leading trips to Edukid’s international projects.
Here she reflects on her journey with Edukid…
“A year 7 assembly established my early interests in Edukid. Inspired by regular assemblies from Edukid staff, and the steady flow of older students returning from trips with Edukid, I spent my secondary school life waiting for the opportunity to go to Uganda to meet the children that Bideford College supported through education. When the moment came, I was the first in line to sign up for an Edukid trip.
Visiting Uganda in 2017 completely transformed the way I viewed and lived my life. Witnessing how desperate children were to attend school and how little people had really pushed me to value my education more and appreciate how easy everyday life here is at home, a very powerful lesson for somebody on the verge of A level exams.
On entering the first school we were warmly welcomed by a huge celebration! This is a moment I will never forgot. Students were dressed in bright colours, we were all dancing and singing and were completely emerged in the beautiful Ugandan culture. Although this is a lovely memory, I remember looking past the school gates and seeing children who couldn’t afford to come to school peering in at us. It made me realise that most of the students within the school gates would be in the same position if it weren’t for Edukid and its supporters. At this moment, the initial interest that had been sparked from a year 7 assembly quickly ignited into a passion for Edukid and its cause. I was seeing first hand the impact education had on those trapped in poverty, and invested much of my time thinking about ways I could help.
My life had been so hugely impacted by the Uganda trip that during my gap year solo backpacking across Asia, I decided to volunteer in Edukid’s Cambodia project for a month. I taught music, drama and games to a class of children aged between 13-17 in a small rural village. My overall aim was to build the confidence of students. At first this was difficult as it was hard for me to communicate with them. Their teacher, Sinoerun, explained that they felt insecure about speaking English to me, so I began learning basic Khmer. By the end of the month I had learnt how to hold a conversation, and had been able to build good friendships with the students. I still speak with many of them now to help them practice their English, and they help me with my Khmer!
As part of my voluntary work, I also travelled to several different rural villages across Cambodia helping to give first aid training to families. I was shocked by the general lack of knowledge coming from some of the parents. We taught CPR and what to do in number of emergency situations. The next week we found out that a man on the course had saved the life of somebody caught in a road collision by performing CPR on him. I couldn’t believe the impact that just one lesson had made. I left Cambodia wanting nothing more than to stay.
On my return I was offered the opportunity to be a part Edukid’s apprenticeship scheme. I now deliver workshops, lessons and assemblies to primary and secondary schools that are designed to educate students about the issues that surround poverty, and inspire and empower students to exercise their roles as Global Citizens.
During my employment with Edukid I have managed the development of our new teaching resources and helped to build the website you are currently using. I have helped to set up projects such as the plastic project in Cambodia, write newsletters, updates and form strong sustainable partnerships with UK schools. I now visit both my old secondary and primary schools, as well as a large number of schools spread out across the UK, to teach students about the work Edukid is doing and the impact of their support and fundraising.
My hope is that I can be a part of inspiring the next generation of students to become forward thinking, compassionate, Global Citizens with a passion for supporting others and making a difference in the world.