Posted on September 6, 2019
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With summer holidays merely a distant memory and the new school term in full swing, now might be a good time to reflect on how we filled those sunny days of freedom. Many children and young adults fight their way through the final term of the year with the glorious end goal of 6 stress free weeks of holiday. Many plans are hatched, but one week of relaxing inactivity stretches into another and before you know it the 6 weeks are over and little has been achieved, except of course for a higher score on the latest video or online game, or numerous fights with your siblings. But not for all, because over the summer groups of 16 years olds have been using their extra-long summer to make a big difference.
This summer our African Child Trust offices in both Croydon and Birmingham have been working with teams from the National Citizens Service (NCS). ACT (African Child Trust) was formed in Croydon 20 years ago. We are local, yet international in our focus. Operating in 8 African countries, we work with orphans and disadvantaged children to escape poverty by providing them with an education and training, giving them the opportunity to achieve their potential in life, as we will wish for our own children. We also support needy widows through training in business skills so that they can generate income in a sustainable way for them and their families. Locally we are championing global citizenship by raising awareness among young people in Croydon and giving them experience of international development.
The NCS scheme engages teenagers in the summer to use their time by being involved in socially responsible activities in their community. Having just finished their GCSE exams, rather than squander the time, 30 young people from across the Croydon borough, working in two teams, dedicated 4 weeks of their summer holidays exploring the work ACT does in Africa and using the knowledge to develop practical ideas which they then used to help raise awareness of the work of the charity locally and also fund raise. Not only were they able to support the work of the charity, the exercise helped to develop their project management skills, communication and team working.
On their first day at the ACT Tamworth Road office, in Croydon (behind Centrale), ACT Office Manager, Diana, made a presentation introducing them to the work of the charity. They interacted with volunteer staff work for the charity to find out their story, how they got involved and what inspires them about ACT. There was a break for interactive educational games and broadening their knowledge of Africa. Back at their centre, the teams set about planning their event days, preparing budgets and the logistics. They also spent time pitching their ideas. One of the teams organised a colour run, involving team members and members of the public running around a set course at a local park in Croydon. They raised funds by giving the public opportunity to throw coloured paint powder at the runners. Another project they organised was an awareness day in central Croydon. They made greeting cards to sell, and created activities and resources to publicise our work.
These young people have held the baton of social responsibility by sacrificing their summer for a good cause as global citizens and are passing the baton on to a wider audience with this challenge – How did you spend your summer?
Are you inspired by them and would you like to take on the baton and do your bit to continue their sacrificial work? Would you consider walking alongside ACT to make a difference in the lives of orphans and disadvantaged African children and widows? A good way would be to sign up to sponsor an orphan child through their education or to make a one-off donation. Click here
Find out about volunteering in the ACT Croydon office by clicking here.