Queen Mary’s College has been given a unique opportunity to run up to 10 expeditions all over the world this academic year as part of the Challenges Abroad Global Citizenship Project.
£500,000 worth of funding has been secured from the Challenges Abroad Turing Scheme, meaning that the cost of a series of two-week adventures is fully covered for QMC’s sixth-form students. Expeditions, planned for India, Nepal, Peru, Thailand, Cambodia, and Tanzania, will involve volunteer work with the ‘FutureSense’ foundation, supporting community-based development projects. Students will also enjoy opportunities to experience the culture of the destination country.
The first of the 2023 trips are scheduled to take place in February, with 16 students and three members of staff each visiting Tanzania, Thailand, or Cambodia. They are looking forward to experiencing another culture, building valuable skills, and contributing to a better world. It follows the success of the 2022 expedition to Cambodia, where 15 students from QMC, accompanied by three members of staff, spent two weeks immersing themselves in the local culture and working alongside a community development program called ‘FutureSense’. The students focused on the ‘Supplementary Education Programme’ which aims to bridge the gap between the level of education supplied free by the state and what is needed for children to succeed in their education. Currently, less than 50% of young people in Cambodia complete their secondary education, and this has the effect of locking a large section of the population into a cycle of poverty. The Futuresense Foundation’s mission is to ignite compassion and create a generation of global citizens by providing students with unforgettable experiences that help them develop their skillset and grow as individuals. As a social enterprise, they are committed to providing ethical volunteer experiences that have a long-term impact and are mutually beneficial to both volunteers and the communities where they work. They believe that one student, one team, one programme can be a catalyst for change and that together we can make a difference. Every Challenges Abroad program QMC students are getting involved with supports the goals and objectives of The Futuresense Foundation, which operates in each of their six hubs all year round, creating and overseeing development programs that have a long-term and sustainable impact. Their values of Passion, Integrity, Empathy, Energy, and Innovation are at the heart of everything they do, and they are committed to providing our student volunteers with a wider world view and an understanding of other cultures, all the while helping them to tackle the challenges currently facing marginalised communities around the world.
QMC students and staff had an incredible impact during their first expedition last Summer. One of the major highlights of the trip was the students’ fundraising efforts to build two additional classrooms for the ‘Supplementary Education Programme’. The group was able to raise the funds needed, a total of US$10,000 (£7,600). Their success enabled over a hundred young students in the Battambang region to access the academic support provided by the Challenges Abroad programme. Photos and videos from last year’s expedition to Cambodia can be viewed on Facebook. Click here.
Mark Henderson, Principal of Queen Mary’s College said “I am delighted that 160 of our students have the opportunity to take part in the Challenges Abroad expeditions this year. They will be part of unforgettable experiences that help them develop their skillset, grow as individuals and have a positive impact on disadvantaged communities across the globe.” Staff and students are now busy raising funds for FutureSense Foundation to support rural, disadvantaged communities in the locations QMC is visiting this year. Click here to find out more more and/or to donate.