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This week, students who volunteer with East London Connect, a mentoring charity helping students from underrepresented backgrounds get into university, had the opportunity to attend a talk on “Being a part of the African solution.”

Many of the student volunteers are of African heritage, with countries including Nigeria, Eritrea and Cameroon represented at the meeting. This meant that the students had a personal interest in finding out how they could help young people in their home countries, and their high levels of participation during the talk reflected this.

The talk was highly interactive, with students engaging in productive discussions with the charity’s representatives, Richard and Korede, and important topics such as educational inequalities and the place of for-profit schools were brought up. Particularly engaging for the students was the debate on “Voluntourism”, with attendees expressing some strong opinions about its worth – or lack of it – for local people in various African countries. 

By the end of the session, students and charity members alike had come up with some insightful and innovative ideas for solving the problems faced by many schoolchildren across Africa. Students were empowered to engage further with charities working in different regions of Africa, and were even encouraged to set up networks of their own! The talk was also an opportunity for students not previously involved with East London Connect to find out more about the charity and its valuable mentoring work with disadvantaged teenagers.

Written by Josephine Mizen - UCL Photojournalist.

If you’re interested in hearing more about tutoring and mentoring roles, or volunteering with young people, take a look at our Volunteering Directory.

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