Written and edited by Sarah Franklin

Our Moon Education is based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. We have a number of volunteers and trustees who are also based here and who have a passion for education and development. Their drive and enthusiasm help us operate the charity, fundraise, and manage social media posts. We are very grateful for the vital support they give to us. Enjoy reading about what they get out of volunteering. And let us know if you would be keen to join our volunteering team by contacting Helen at helen.leale-green@ourmoon.org.uk.

Alice Radley

Volunteer and trust consultant, Alice Radley

Master’s graduate in Latin American Development at King’s College London with an undergraduate degree in Economics and Spanish. Alice currently works for The African Foundation for Development. Volunteer with Our Moon from Tunbridge Wells. 

Experience: Alice has worked with Our Moon Education for almost two years in a range of roles, from a Social Media Volunteer to Trusts and Foundations Consultant. During her university studies she volunteered with AFFORD, IRMO, and VSO and has participated on development programmes in Latin America and Africa. She now works for The African Foundation for Development in London as The AFFORD Business Club Project Assistant. She is currently working on the ABC Benin project which mobilises and supports diaspora entrepreneurs, investors, and volunteers across Europe through expert advisory support, training, grants, and loans to create jobs within Benin. She continues to support Our Moon Education with grant applications. 

Alice started volunteering for Our Moon Education in 2018 as a Social Media Intern where she sourced and shared updates on projects and students. She has also supported Helen with fundraising initiatives such as the summer tennis tournament and charity ball. 

Why Our Moon: The thing I have enjoyed most about working for Our Moon has been working with the students themselves. When my role was more focused around social media, I engaged with the students regularly online and enjoyed talking to them about how they were finding their transition to international universities. This year I have been fortunate enough to meet some of our students currently studying at the University of Edinburgh at our fundraising events. It has been funny hearing their first impressions of Scottish weather and the aspects of British university life that have both delighted and confused them. I hope to visit Zambia in the future and meet everyone on Our Moon’s site. 

I am passionate about Our Moon and educational charity work because: Despite it being a small organisation, it has a huge and powerful impact. Having been involved in a larger organisation previous to Our Moon, I had been disheartened by the running, morals and use of donations by some charitable organisations. Our Moon fully restored my faith in the sector, and I have really enjoyed working with Helen. I have learnt so much in such a short amount of time about how a charity is run and what goes on behind the scenes. Recently I have been helping Helen with funding applications for the Young Leaders Programme which is a residential course at our new learning centre site in Chibombo. It is based on our philosophy of education established around four interrelated cornerstones. With the success of the Young Leaders Programme, we are introducing new projects that benefit students, workers, and their families. I really value the importance that Our Moon gives to everyone on our site by creating new opportunities for everyone involved. I am excited to be involved in these programmes and see the Our Moon community strengthen and grow.

Rachel Cameron-Potter

Rachel Cameron Potter – volunteer from Kent

English graduate from the University of York. Volunteer with Our Moon from Medway. 

Experience: After managing the Our Moon social media in 2017, Rachel has helped organise various fundraising events for Our Moon. She is currently creating a careers advice spreadsheet for students. The spreadsheet aims to give scholars a wider perception of what they can do with their degree, as well as inform them of the extra steps they can take to help them secure their dream career. Often students graduate unsure on what to do next, while others may feel restricted by their degree choices. However, Rachel aims to show that every degree offers a vast variety of transferrable skills, meaning that career opportunities are never as narrow as they may seem at first. Rachel is currently working as a Generalist Intern at myTamarin, where she is overlooking their social media and aspects of marketing.

Why Our Moon: I was drawn to volunteering with Our Moon because their mission strongly aligned with my values and I leapt at the chance to help those that hadn’t had the chances that I’d been given in life. 

I am passionate about Our Moon and educational charity work because: I’ve always believed that education is the key for social change, and I was desperate to share my passion for learning with others. Since I began volunteering here I’ve learnt so much about the educational sector – particularly how the education system is structured in Zambia – and I’m looking forward to getting involved in more projects in the future.

Alfie Blake 

Tunbridge Wells based volunteer, Alfie Blake

International Development student at the University of East Anglia. Volunteer with Our Moon from Tunbridge Wells. 

Experience: Alfie has worked for Save The Children and as an ambassador for UEA for the study abroad team. He has studied abroad in Japan and will now be attending his final year at UEA.

Why Our Moon: I chose development because I was always interested in current affairs and geography and I also wanted to learn why there was such a disparity in standard of living across the world when there is so much money. Helen has previously said something about equity being more important than equality which was really interesting – not everyone wants the same things, but everyone deserves a chance at a good life.

With Our Moon, I hope to gain an insight into the day to day operations of a charity and learn what goes into decision making and how to fundraise, as well as building on skills I have learnt in my degree. 

I am passionate about Our Moon and educational charity work because: Education is my biggest passion because through my studies and research I believe this is the best way to drive change. Teaching is much more effective than giving. Education has also massively helped me in my life and allowed me to have greater interests and have a desire to do more. Helen has said similar things and I think it is great she realises that education should be the driving force behind development. 

Sarah Franklin 

Kent based volunteer, Sarah Franklin

Modern Languages graduate from the University of Birmingham. International Development Master’s student at SOAS. Volunteer with Our Moon from Sittingbourne. Experience: Sarah studied French, German, and Mandarin at university, including a year abroad in France, Germany, and China. Upon graduation she returned to China to intern with China-Britain Business Council and Mubus, a small tourism company based in Beijing. She is about to begin her Master’s in International Development at SOAS where she hopes to specialise in East Asian and African development. 

Why Our Moon: Our Moon is a small charity that operates through a bottom-up approach, working with and employing local people to help run the charity and define objectives. After some students have completed their education through the charity, they then return to help work within the charity. I think this says a lot about how positive and beneficial the charity is for Zambian communities when alumni are choosing to return and use their influence to support the cause. Through involving local communities in the operations of the charity, I think that the impact Our Moon has can be as valuable and impactful as possible. 

Through volunteering with Our Moon, I hope to gain a practical understanding of how the charity operates and a deeper insight into the impact that education has and how it helps stimulate development. Finally, I’d like to understand how I can best utilize my impact to help others on the other side of the world. 

I am passionate about Our Moon and educational charity work because: Education is a basic right that we can often take for granted and fail to realise how it can broaden our horizons and influence how we view the world. After having studied abroad myself and noticing the impact that this has had on me, I would like to help provide these valuable educational experiences for others. This way, they are also given the rightful opportunity to establish strong roots in the world to grow from after they have completed their education.

Vanessa Strauss 

Tunbridge Wells based trustee, Vanessa Strauss

Supporter of sustainable development within business. Founder of her own ethical Property Management company in Tunbridge Wells. Trustee of Our Moon from Tunbridge Wells. 

Experience: Vanessa was brought up in South Africa and moved to Tunbridge Wells 25 years ago.  From an early career in advertising and copywriting, she changed direction and worked for 12 years for Business in the Community and within the Social Responsibility sector, focussing on engaging businesses to work with charities and NGO’s.  She believes that all businesses can succeed in becoming more sustainable and ethical by working within their local communities and that combining this with volunteering can be one of the best ways to affect change. Vanessa now runs her own ethical Property Management company in Tunbridge Wells. She has been a trustee with Our Moon for nine months.  

Why Our Moon: The charity is entirely unique and makes a real tangible difference – there is so much scope to grow and develop the programme and support young, gifted Zambians. I am so proud and privileged to be part of Our Moon.

I am passionate about Our Moon and educational charity work because: Our Moon prides itself on personal relationships, support, and inspiration – and that is what makes all the difference in life.  Through education and learning, people grow and affect positive change – the ripple effect of hope and opportunity spreads through their lives and lives of others.

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