A News story by Sophie Marren 13 June 2018

How are you spending your summer holidays? For Sophie Marren, an English teacher at Parkwood E-ACT Academy, the six-week break presents an opportunity to make a difference. She’ll be travelling to Njmobe, Tanzania to volunteer for the Limited Resource Teacher Training (LRTT) Fellowship Programme, which will involve her mentoring teachers in a limited resource context.

In Sophie’s first piece for us, she fills us in on her motivation for taking part in the programme and her fundraising efforts…

Teaching has always been my passion. I can remember being a little girl and playing teacher with my friends. I imagined my life in the future; educating young people and making a difference. Fast forward 20 years and here I am, a teacher at Parkwood E-ACT Academy, Sheffield, making a difference in the lives of young people every day.

I went into teaching in order to improve the life chances of disadvantaged young people. So when the prospect of volunteering for LRTT in Njmobe, Tanzania this summer came up, I knew it was something that I just had to do.

The LRTT’s belief that no child’s education should be limited by the context that they are born into mirrors my own vision and belief exactly, which is why I have decided to volunteer with the organisation.

Being a fellow on this programme is something that excites and inspires me. Equipping teachers and young people with the skills they need to do well and giving them the tools and the opportunities to escape the constraints of their socio-economic background is something that won’t just be personally rewarding, but is also the right thing to do.

Throughout my career, before and after becoming a teacher, I have been committed to empowering others to overcome the barriers created by poverty. With this drive as well as my skills and experience to date, I believe that the impact that my contribution will have will be outstanding.

I have been fundraising in a number of different ways to ensure that I will be able to take part in this important project. Last month, I ran the MayHEM run and raised money through my JustGiving Page (I managed to run the 10K race in 53 minutes…my personal best!) and in July, I’ll be raffling off some fantastic prizes that were kindly donated for the cause. I am currently £600 in to my £2000 target, and I am determined to reach my goal. But for me, these events haven’t just been about raising money: with very few people understanding the difficulties that people face in places like Tanzania, particularly when it comes to education, it’s crucial that we work to raise awareness and inform people of the facts.

In just over two months I will be getting on that plane to Njombe for the summer. Am I scared? Do I know what I am letting myself in for? Will it be challenging? The answer to all of these questions is yes! But will it be worth it? Of course it will be! I’m excited to be taking part in this project with 25 other teaching fellows, working together to make a difference. It’s the right thing to do.

Keep an eye on our website for updates on Sophie’s volunteering experience. If you would like to sponsor her on her journey, please click here