It’s Goodbye for now from Eleanor!

by ACT

  • Posted on November 26, 2019

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Eleanor with colleagues at the ACT Croydon office

… Good luck with your next steps!

Losing a member of the team is a bit like losing an arm; Eleanor you will be sorely missed!

For anyone wondering what volunteering at ACT is really like, here is Eleanor’s experience, written by her for you.

November 12th marked the end of my internship with ACT and put simply: it was an emotional day!

I was lucky enough to be introduced to ACT at a volunteering fair hosted by my university in February of this year. Being an International Relations and Development student and having previously interned at children’s mental health and education charity, I was drawn to ACT immediately. ACT’s message resonated with me; educating, empowering and enriching; as I have always passionately believed that access to education is the key to sustainable development, no matter where you are in the world. Interning with ACT was an opportunity I could not miss!

After my initial introduction to ACT, I was invited to interview with Nicola, the Office Manager at the time, and Kunle, ACT’s Director. It was great to get a feel for the environment and the kind of work I’d be doing. I was excited to learn more about the ACT Widows’ projects and the Ulemu project that is tackling period poverty among school girls in the African countries where we operate. Widowhood and period poverty are widely ignored elements of the female experience due to existing patriarchal structures.

My journey with ACT began in June. Between then and now I worked on a number of really exciting projects. My highlights were updating the website, coordinating two National Citizen Service (NCS) summer waves, and representing ACT at the Scout’s Annual Gilwell reunion. From my first day to my final day I was given the support and encouragementI needed to carry out my work across the diverse set of projects I was involved in.

I have learnt so much since June. Working in a relatively small charity with a huge mission allowed me to explore all the theoretical knowledge I have accumulated so far from my degree. I learned the importance and need for strong communication links between the ACT (UK) office and each of the collaborating partners in Africa. Other charities are often criticised for failing to meet the needs of their recipients.  ACT on the other hand excels at staying up to date with each supported child, widow and community. With an understanding of the particular needs of each community, ACT has been able to implement projects such as the ICT Project in Tanga, Tanzania and the Sitikho Water Project in Kenya. I can’t wait to see what is next!

But the most important thing I learnt was that ACT is more than staff and volunteers; it is a community made up of inspirational recipients, dedicated workers, and devoted supporters stretching from Africa to the UK and further. Each story I read or heard of transformation from true hardship to success solidified my belief that everyone deserves the right to education, no matter what circumstances they are born into.

For now, I will be focusing on my undergraduate degree at the University of Westminster and completing my applications to start a master’s degree in September 2020. I look forward to watching ACT flourish and grow to support even more children, widows and communities across Africa.

A big thank you to all the lovely people I had the pleasure of working with during my internship, you’ve all been amazing!

If you are interested in working in the not-for-profit sector, I can’t recommend ACT enough!

For volunteering and career opportunities at ACT visit our website click here.

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