‘’Remember, the difference between a boss and a leader... A boss says "Go" A leader says "Let's go".”
Despite being a leader for many months now, I believe there is always room for improvement, I know I’m not perfect, in fact, I’m so far off being perfect, but, I accept this and I’m learning. My motto in life is “learn from your mistakes and others around you” - you will never stop learning, no matter how clever or how long you’ve been a leader for; you always have the capacity to grow and learn from everyone you meet. I believe the perfect opportunity for one to expand their knowledge is through travelling and saying “let’s go” instead of “go”, hence, my participation and one of my committee member’s participation in the South Africa Challenge.
I aim for this trip to expand my knowledge of the wider world and through self- reflection discover what sort of leader I am and areas which I can improve on. This will help both me and my team in the long run. The biggest and greatest lesson I’m hoping to take away with me is how to manage different groups of people from different cultures, as a leader it’s about learning to respect different groups of people whether they are from different; ethnicities, religions and countries and knowing how to approach and manage the different groups, I know, due to my lack of travelling, that I lack this as a leader and hope to understand more and empathise with different cultures after experiencing such a diverse one first hand.
I’m excited about extending my knowledge further and to have this new experience.
I have always had an ambition to set up my own education based charity in Africa, having worked in schools in Kenya and seen first-hand the remarkable difference between our own education system and theirs. The children there who have so little begged us not to leave their classroom for lunch, and appear to take every word with such hunger. On the other hand, the children here who have so much, myself included, were able to take education for granted and sometimes even resent it. I feel this is such a backward notion.
I originally heard about the project through a colleague in my role as a Student Helper at Loughborough, and she put me in contact with Peter to discuss how he runs the project and how he came about to work on it. Initially my meeting with him was to focus on this, however as we discussed the project itself it captured my interest. It is an opportunity in which you can not only develop yourself through a very demanding and challenging project, but also see the effect and appreciation of the individuals and communities that we may be lucky enough to work with.
After discussing the project at length I was hooked, and decided to seize the opportunity as it presented itself and so signed up that night. Following my sign up, through research into the area my desire to work with education in the area increased even further. Shocking statistics, such as a 55% student dropout rate, with many schools forcing students out of education if they underperform to protect their statistics proved the problems that the SA education system struggles with are still deep set, with huge racial inequality, and a teaching standard that is far below standards that would be acceptable in many countries.
I believe that as a country we are remarkably lucky, being born into a privileged society, with excellent health care, education and financial support, and I also feel that we can have a large impact in poorer countries, even if just on a few individuals. These people did not choose to have the situation they were born into, but equally they will never be able to progress if we spoon feed our services. With this in mind, I have joined the project to attempt to provide people with a means of improving their own skill sets that could have a snowball effect on other areas of the education of local students.