Chevening Scholars contributed 5,000 hours of volunteering to communities and causes across the UK in 2017/2018, sailing past last year’s total of 3,000 hours.

More than 200 scholars from 61 universities contributed to this total, giving their time to over 300 organisations around the country.

The total represents a 66% increase on the hours contributed in 2016/2017, and a 525% increase on the 800 hours recorded by scholars in 2015/2016.

Presentation of certificates

The contribution of 41 scholars, who were among those who gave the most time to volunteering this year, was recognised in the annual Chevening Volunteering Awards Ceremony, held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Thursday, 7 June 2018.

The map room at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Scholars were presented with certificates to recognise the number of volunteering hours they had contributed in the UK. Overall (including those who couldn’t attend the ceremony), 43 scholars received bronze certificates for more than 30 hours of volunteering, with nine scholars receiving silver certificates for more than 70 hours of volunteering. Gold certificates were given to seven scholars who contributed more than 100 hours of volunteering to UK organisations.

Scholars gave their time to a huge range of volunteering causes in 2017/2018, including gardening, befriending the elderly, charity fundraising, mentoring, supporting refugees, and much more.

The Chevening Community Volunteering and Outreach Programme aims to support, encourage, and document Chevening Scholars’ engagement with their UK communities throughout their time in the UK.

The programme provides scholars with the opportunity to volunteer in both one-off projects, as well as long-term engagement with selected organisations. This allows scholars to increase their understanding of community outreach approaches in the UK, and see how they are applied and delivered by UK organisations. Scholars record details of their volunteering in our Chevening volunteering log.

Ben Coates, Head of the Scholarships Unit at the FCO, welcomed Cheveners to the volunteering ceremony and thanked scholars for contributing to their local communities in such a meaningful way alongside their busy academic schedules.

The value of volunteering

He was followed by Mathieu Pendergast, Senior Project Officer for the Conservation Volunteers; and Sally Haynes, National Corporate Volunteering Manager at the Prince’s Trust. Both spoke about the value of dedicated volunteers to the work of their organisations.

Mathieu Pendergast from the Conservation Volunteers

Sally Haynes of the Prince’s Trust

Panel discussions

Three scholars were selected to participate in a panel discussion at the ceremony chaired by Jon Benjamin, Director of the Diplomatic Academy at the FCO. They were Leah Schmidt, studying an MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies at the University of Cambridge; Rayon Mclean, studying an MA in Applied Theatre (Drama in Educational, Community and Social Contexts) at Goldsmiths University; and Chellah Silavwe, studying an MSc in Information Technology with Business and Management at the University of Sussex.

Jon Benjamin, Director of the Diplomatic Academy at the FCO

Scholar panel

These scholars had all made an outstanding contribution to volunteering in their UK communities and they shared their motivation for volunteering, as well as what their experiences had taught them about the UK.

Jon Benjamin said: ‘Hopefully volunteering has enriched your experience of studying here. You have the chance through volunteering to meet a lot of different people in Britain: part of our very diverse population from all sorts of social, cultural, and geographical backgrounds. I hope that the experience has given something back to you too.’

‘Volunteering helped improve my confidence’

Mexican scholar Alondra Maradiaga Aguilar volunteered at a school in Coventry alongside studying an MA in International Political Economy at the University of Warwick.

Mexican scholar Alondra Maradiaga Aguilar

Alondra, who was presented with a gold certificate for doing more than 100 hours of volunteering, helped a secondary school Spanish teacher with her language classes. She said: ‘I liked being with the kids because it took me back to their age. They didn’t know what they would do with their lives in the future so I liked being with them and trying to help them.

‘Volunteering also helped me with my confidence, and improved my public-speaking skills because that is what I had to do in the classes. Through volunteering you get more involved with your community, and I learned more about the UK when I was volunteering than in my normal days at university.’

Scholar volunteers


  • Alondra Carolina Maradiaga Aguilar, Mexico, University of Warwick
  • Claudia Castilla  Colombia, LSE
  • Gonzalo Baroni, Uruguay, University of Birmingham
  • Jinghong Wen, China, University of Sussex         
  • Leah Schmidt, Canada, University of Cambridge
  • Nabhojit Dey, India, University of Sussex
  • Warren Williams, Jamaica, University of Dundee              


  • Ahmed Medien, Tunisia, University of Strathclyde
  • Attique Ur Rahman, Pakistan, University of South Wales        
  • Chellah Silavwe, Zambia, University of Sussex    
  • Cynthia Lizbeth Matildes Mariscal, Mexico, University of Essex
  • Iman Rajeh Saad Al-Harithi, Yemen, Swansea University
  • Julius Cesar Alejandre, Philippines, Bangor University    
  • Nyabenda Ezechiel, Burundi, University of Bradford
  • Rayon Mclean, Jamaica, Goldsmiths, University of London          
  • Seona Yi, South Korea, University of Exeter


  • Adelakun Anuoluwapo Adenike, Nigeria, University of Sussex   
  • Alemi Emmanuel Todoko Wani, South Sudan, University of Westminster             
  • Ana Maria Daou, Lebanon, King’s College London            
  • Ananda Nidhi Lakshmikumari, India, Imperial College London     
  • Bolortsetseg Burneebaatar, Mongolia, Bangor University             
  • Chu Hao, China, LSE        
  • Dina Ahmed Reda Abdelaziz, Egypt, University College London 
  • Ericka Lalaina Ravoson, Madagascar, University of Birmingham  
  • Felix Chisoni, Malawi, University of Leeds            
  • Haleemah Alaydi, Jordan, University of Leeds    
  • Hoai Ngoc Dang , Vietnam, University of Birmingham      
  • Irene Wairimu Mwangi, Kenya, University of Reading    
  • Jasmine Parker, Turks and Caicos, Birkbeck, University of London            
  • Julio Eduardo Clavijo Acosta, Ecuador, University of Manchester              
  • Marilyn Chinwe Eze, Nigeria, University of Warwick
  • Matthew Amalitinga Abagna, Ghana, University of Bradford      
  • Mohamed Ali Azaiez, Tunisia, University of East Anglia  
  • Mohamed Moamen, Egypt, University of Birmingham   
  • Muh Achsani Takwim Mahendro, Indonesia, University of Southampton              
  • Muhammad Haniff Bin Abdullah, Malaysia, King’s College London            
  • Mukta Balroop, Trinidad and Tobago, Queen Mary, University of London             
  • Ronaldine Taku Ankengfuet, Cameroon, University of Birmingham         
  • Ruminda Herat Gunaratne, Sri Lanka, University College London              
  • Saholy Nadia Raharinirina, Madagascar, Birkbeck, University of London 
  • Shamilah Perumal, Malaysia, University of Manchester 
  • Tarinee Boonyawan, Thailand, King’s College London     
  • Tiffany Stewart, Jamaica, Brunel University London        
  • Unozha Tshegofatso Lejowa, Botswana, University of Sussex    
  • Vy Ton Nu Tuong, Vietnam, UCL Institute of Education  
  • Woroud Al Hasan, Syria, Durham University
  • Apoorva Iyengar, India, University of York
  • Ananda Nidhi Lakshmikumari, India, Imperial College London
  • Sindy Nur Fitri, Indonesia, University of Edinburgh
  • Oloruntoba Adefarati, Nigeria, University of Leeds
  • Johanna Absalom, Namibia, University of East Anglia
  • Hamid Khalafallah, Sudan, University of Bradford
  • Kellesia Ebanks, Jamaica, Brunel University London
  • Nurul Nadirah binti Mohd Sharif, Malaysia, UCL
  • Geni Maharani Widjaja, Indonesia, University of Bath
  • Ameera Maryam Azwer, Sri Lanka, University of St Andrews
  • Yasmine Fofana, Cote D’Ivoire, University of Surrey
  • Abdellah Iraamane, Morocco, University of Sussex
  • Chee Hong (Bryan) Choong, Singapore, University of Edinburgh
  • Akil Yunus, Malaysia, University of Birmingham