A recent graduate has thanked Edge Hill University for supporting her incredible charity work bringing the joy of reading to children living in Kenya.
Georgia Batchelor Robbins, from Tamworth, began her charity work in 2017 when she discovered the Project Elimu initiative, run in Kibera, the largest urban slum in Kenya, by ex-professional dancer Mike Wamaya. The project aims to improve education standards through extra-curricula activities within informal settlements.
Georgia said: “I first started working with Mike and Project Elimu in 2016 after seeing via social media they were in need of dancewear and shoes. As a dancer I was able to use local connections to collect over 250 outfits and pairs of ballet shoes for the local children. In order to continue our work together Mike asked me to become the UK ambassador for Project Elimu.”
After starting her Primary Education Degree at Edge Hill in 2018 Georgia told the university about her plans to start collecting books and develop a reading for pleasure programme for schools in Kibera. Georgia was awarded an excellence scholarship to support her charity work and allow her to carry it out alongside her studies.
“It was amazing to get the scholarship. I felt honoured that my work with the project had been recognised by the university and it was exciting to see how Mike and I could continue to work together. The scholarship funded my flights to Kenya and gave me freedom to keep doing my charity work.
Georgia added: “Through visiting Project Elimu and volunteering in a local school, the headteacher expressed the need for books, we also found that the limited books available only represented western culture in which the children couldn’t relate to. As a result, we decided to begin to collect children’s literature that represented the children and portrayed Kenyan culture.”
In the summer of 2019, Georgia was able to supply over 200 books from donations from publishers and authors to the children at Project Elimu.
Georgia said: “I was really proud of the number of books we managed to collect. It was amazing to see the children access a range of books that really represented them and to see them enjoying reading and sharing the books together. Moving forward we are looking to develop a creative writing project where we hope to provide a platform for the children to write and share their own stories in a published book creating a legacy of authors from Kibera.”
Since graduating with a First-class Honors degree in July Georgia is now planning a career as a teacher and eventually wants to work on projects promoting education internationally.
“In the short term I’m hoping to complete my ECT year and teach internationally. Long-term I hope to continue working with Project Elimu and work towards a PHD and far into the future I would love to work on global education initiatives like the UNESCO Malala Fund promoting education for girls around the world.”
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