Estimated reading time:8 minutes, 11 seconds
Everyone onÂ Islington Faces BlogÂ has a story.Â Â It’sÂ only two weeks since the summer holidays ended but Year 13 student at Camden Girlsâ School, Corinna Snashall, is not just busy studying for A levels, sheâs also pulling together a hectic round of fundraising events including a November Bonfire party. InterviewÂ byÂ Nicola Baird
âIâll invite a few friends, and have a few fireworks. Itâll be the same as always â fireworks in the garden, then pumpkin soup, baked potatoes and cake, but people will give a donation,â says Corinna, 17. The reason Corinnaâs got to charge her friends to come to her family’s back garden Firework Party is pretty exciting. If she can raise ÂŁ5,600+ by summer 2014 sheâll be able to spend the time between sixth form and university volunteering as a teacher for young children in a remote part of Namibia. It should be a life-enhancing experience for her, and a huge benefit to the kids who get to learn English from an English first-language speaker.
Itâs also a long way from the Gap Year of crazy holiday partying so wittily satorised in the YouTube clip Gap Yah, see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKFjWR7X5dU
Corinnaâs the first to admit that the fundraising for a year of living expenses, support for the organising charity, Project Trust, and a return flight, is a challenge. âIâm planning the Bonfire party, a ceilidh* and a Christmas party,â she says.Â âI raised ÂŁ40 at my first cake sale and plan to do many more. I needed ideas, so my mum said, âwhy not get sponsored to walk backwards to school?â And then I wondered if I could walk backwards to somewhere Namibian. I did some research and saw that the Embassy is in Marylebone.* So Iâll walk backwards to it from Islington on the day after 21 March, Namibian independence day (ie, Saturday 22 March 2014). Hopefully Iâll get a few friends to help me. They can say âmove leftâ, or âsomeoneâs thereâ, or âwatch the dog pooâ, and I can have collecting buckets for donations and hand out leaflets.â
Project Trust is a gap year charity http://www.projecttrust.org.uk Â that sends young people for 12 (or eight) months to work on community projects worldwide.Â Corinna went to a talk at her school, and then decided to apply. To do this she had to make her way to the remote island of Coll, western Scotland â taking a train from Euston to Glasgow, then Glasgow to Oban, and then a ferry.
âIt was really fun in Coll,â says Corinna who is studying Music as one of her A levels (sheâs also doing Biology and Chemistry) and plays the piano and trumpet well â sheâs working on Grade 6 for both. âI had to teach a lesson to our group. I did it on basic note value for crochets, quavers and minims. I got people lying on the floor to make minims,â she says laughing.
âWe also learnt about every aspect of life on Coll, dug a vegetable garden and climbed the islandâs highest hill. We all had individual tasks to help members of the community. I did stock taking, but others were sheep herding!â
Corinna was selected and offered a volunteer teaching opportunity with primary school aged children, or younger, in Namibia.
âIâm lucky as Iâve been to Namibia before,â she says. âMy dadâs a doctor and he was invited in 2009 to do some work with a Namibian doctor working on the uranium mines. The doctor said he should bring his family along. I was 13 and what I remember most is the smell you get as you step off the plane. Itâs kind of earthy, sunburned, gamey smell. That time we didnât really interact with the community but we saw a leopard sanctuary, walked up amazing red sand dunes and saw very old cave paintings. I even saw two giraffes mating â I held up my video camera to film one giraffe and suddenly another giraffe jumped on the other! We also got a CD of a Namibian childrenâs choir. Itâs a capello (no instruments) but they use a lot of clapping and stamping. A lot is sung in Xhosa which Iâd love to learn. There are three types of clicksÂ – itâs really impressive to someone who doesnât speak with clicks.â
Although Corinna enjoyed her time as a tourist, she also knows that living in a rural village will be challenging. âIâm dreading the spiders, snakes, insects and the vaccinations,â she says with a clear shudder. âIâm a total wimp when it comes to injections. I donât even have my ears piercedâŠâ
Namibia in a nutshell
Namibia only became independent (from South Africa) in 1990. Although itâs a sparsely populated country of 2.1million people â and some of the biggest uranium and diamond mines in the world â Namibia looks unlikely to meet key Millennium Development Goals. Child and maternal deaths remain high. Every month many women die after giving birth.
Learning to plan
Moving into the final year of sixth form is a long way from child-maternal deaths, but it’s still a tough time for most students. Not only do 17 and 18 year olds have to cope with more rigorous learning, they may also have to find jobs and a university place.Â Corinnaâs timetable is definitely tight. âThe idea is to apply for bio-medical science on a deferred place. But Iâm still thinking about studying medicine, â she explains.
Where do teens go locally? Corinnaâs time out in Islington
What I like about Islington
Itâs easy to get everywhere – shopping in Angel is only a bus ride away and it doesnât take long to get into central London on the tube. Transport is good in general – regular buses and tubes. Lots of parks around – Clissold, Highbury, Gillespie and Finsbury all within about 10mins. Most of my friends live around here, which means itâs easy to meet up at weekends, and for the people living further away itâs still not too difficult.
What I do in Islington
I like to go up to Angel with friends – can easily spend a whole afternoon looking around shops – H&M, Butlers, Paperchase, Book Warehouse (great for Dadâs birthday!), Cybercandy, Samba Swirl, Waterstoneâs etc… Lots of places to eat as well – both locally to go out with family and cheapish places in Angel to go with friends (Nandoâs Crew!). Handy to have a cinema close, also making good use of the Fieldway Crescent library (off Holloway Road) now, both for homework and looking up charitable trusts to hassle for grants.
What she is certain about is that the university she picks wonât be in London. âI was born in central London and then when I was tiny my mum and dad moved to Islington.â Sheâs been to schools in the borough â St Johnâs Primary School and Highbury Fields Secondary, both in Â N5, and is an Islington fan.
âItâs not about disliking London. Itâs about wanting a change and experiencing life in a new place,â she says before quickly focusing again on her fundraising efforts.Â âItâs not just money I need to get to teach in Namibia, itâs donations of prizes for raffles, or a free venue or publicity.Â I need to get the message out to everyone because someone may be able to help me, especially organising a venue for a ceilidh. I only got my fundraising pack two days ago, but Iâve already made a flyer and done a cake sale!â
Hereâs wishing Corinna very good luck with her fundraising efforts and a safe time volunteering in Namibia.
To make a donationÂ go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/corinnasnashall or toÂ suggest a fundraising idea, offer a venue or donate a raffle/auction gift please email Corinna at email@example.com
Corinna has also started a blog, see here.
More info about Project Trust here http://www.projecttrust.org.uk
Namibian High Commission, Marylebone â see http://www.namibiahc.org.uk Â Walking backwards the 4km (3miles) from Highbury, N5, where Corinna lives, to Marylebone, E4 sounds like a challenge, but the real distance between London and Windhoek, the capital of Namibia is vast – around 8,965km (5,571 miles) see here http://www.distancefromto.net/distance-from/UK/to/Namibia
Celidh â Scottish dancing party, ideal for mixed ages and usually a lot of fun. You donât have to know the dancers as a Celidh caller can shout out the moves.
Over to you
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This blog is inspired byÂ Spitalfields LifeÂ written by the Gentle Author.
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