3,420 hours of scholar volunteering recognised in virtual award ceremony

Chevening Scholars gave 3,420 hours of their time to different volunteer causes in the UK during a challenging time for people around the world.

129 scholars gave their time to 329 organisations around the UK, working on a variety of projects from conservation to teaching digital skills, and much more.

Normally scholars would have the opportunity to visit the historic home of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Westminster to receive awards and meet one another at our annual volunteering awards ceremony. This year the ceremony was brought to their homes through an online event organised by the Chevening team.

One scholar's examples of volunteering

Anjelia San Buenaventura: “Some of the amazing volunteering experiences I had in the UK included supporting various church activities, planting trees for the Leeds flood alleviation project, growing vegetables in a community garden and assisting at Oxfam’s online shop to raise funds for projects helping children”

Dr Alice White, Digital Editor and Wikimedian in Residence at the Wellcome Trust spoke to scholars via video link about the impact of volunteering in sharing knowledge globally, and the extra skills that volunteers can pick up.

‘You should feel very proud of yourselves that you have made a contribution to projects that you care about alongside your studies.’

A scholar's volunteering experience

Nashwa Naushad: “I’ve had a very rich volunteering experience in the UK, with two full-time roles mentoring a teenager and reading with children respectively, and several one-off opportunities assisting organisations with activities for children and the elderly, helping bring smiles to their faces!”

Seven scholars were presented with a gold award for contributing more than 100 hours of volunteering alongside their studies during their time in the UK. It’s a significant achievement given the movement restrictions brought in during March.

Scholar Omar Elarbi at Chevening Orientation

Omar Elarbi: “I volunteered with the Canal & River Trust, which is a charity organization that looks after around 2000 miles of waterways and canals across the UK. This has given me the opportunity to not only contribute to my community but also allowed me to meet and chat with friendly and amazing people and this, in turn, has positively affected my mental wellbeing. So, it’s a win-win situation.”

The Chevening team also gave out special awards for volunteers who had made impressive achievements in specific categories to mark the United Nations’ 75th anniversary year.

  • Peace: Sadashiv Nayanpally, from India, studying Education and International Development at University College London
  • Planet: Omar Elarbi, from Libya, studying Financial Computing at QMUL
  • Prosperity: Yugendra Balachandran,  from Malaysia, studying International Business and Emerging Markets at the University of Edinburgh
  • People: Lanvell Blake from Jamaica, studying Public Health and Health Promotion at Swansea University
  • Partnerships: Kudawashe Ngogodo from Zimbabwe, studying Civil Engineering and Management at University of Glasgow

Scholars finally had the chance to move into smaller themed groups at the end of the ceremony to discuss what they had gained from their volunteering experiences throughout the year.

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