Charity Insights Visits #1

I’ve been out on my travels in the last week, getting the opportunity to visit some of our esteemed Charity Insights participants. I was pretty excited to get to see some of the first fruits of 2015 Charity Insights’ labour in full flow; following projects from application form to literal application in a professional setting.

First up was Farzana at London Tigers, just a short hurtle on the Hammersmith & City line away near Westbourne Park.  London Tigers engage with disadvantaged communities, providing employment and training skills programmes and running youth and sports clubs to young people in the capital and beyond.

A tiger
No literal tigers were spotted on this visit…

When I entered London Tigers’ HQ, I was greeted by Farzana and her supervisor, Business Development Director Taj Oberai. As we sat down to have a chat, I was instantly distracted by shelves loaded with hauls of sporting trophies, glimmering in the Westbourne Park sun. I commented that it must be nice to have very visual reminders of the rewards of the work those at the organisation put in, with which Taj agreed. Farzana would be continuing to volunteer with London Tigers on a part-time basis, and clearly valued the experience and skills she had been able to gain so far in her remit sourcing supporters and sponsorship for some of the charity’s events. Taj was also delighted to have had Farzana and her skillset on hand, declaring her an excellent intern  – a Charity Insights success!

Next up, I travelled the shortest of distances to visit Vaibhav, who was completing a comprehensive project report for Asha for Education. Vaibhav was focusing on one of the charity’s main areas: youth unemployment in India, and the subsequent need for setting up programs for skills development. It was clearly an undertaking that required the most of Vaibhav’s analytical and research skills, so as a massive fan of getting those transferable skills developed for your career, I was delighted! Vidhya, who had been supervising Vaibhav, also had only positive things to say about his work ethic, and how the project being done would truly aid Asha’s charitable mission.

My final visit on the first leg of the  ‘Charity Insights World Tour 2015’ was just up the way to our very own St. Mary’s campus, to visit Steph at the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI). After a period of genuine amazement that my Imperial ID card got me into a campus building I’d never been to before, Steph met me and showed me her workstation, loaded up with some of the mapping software she’d been learning to use.

Imperial's St. Mary's campus
Imperial’s St. Mary’s campus

One of the key things Steph had got from the project was the chance to learn R, and then use it in an applied setting in order to help the SCI map instances of the schistosomiasis disease in different African countries. Michelle, Steph’s supervisor and full-time SCI researcher, said that the code Steph had worked on was something that they’d been hoping to get done for a long time, but it was only because of the Charity Insights scheme and Steph’s being there that had actually got the task completed.

All in all, I was more than suitably impressed by the range of tasks that Farzana, Vaibhav, and Steph had being getting on with in their projects, and the whole host of skills and experience they had developed and used in a work environment. Roll on, the next leg of the tour!

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