Doing Good - Not Just Doing Well
Cambridge gave me more than just a transformative education, three enjoyable years and a great degree. It instilled a strong sense of social responsibility. I was the first person in my family to go to university, and as an undergraduate I was involved in charitable and community outreach projects such as RAG, the Cambridge Southern Africa Fund for Education, the CUSU Target Scheme and GEEMA. Having benefitted from a fantastic Cambridge education, I now spend a lot of my time working to give others the same opportunities. Cambridge taught me that giving back is important, and that doing good is just as important as doing well.Â
Since 2008, I've served as a governor of my local state primary school in east London. I work with our teachers, parents, pupils and the local community to make sure our children get a great education and do well in exams. I've also arranged educational trips for the children so they can see beyond their immediate surroundings. So far, they have visited Canary Wharf where they had lunch at my office and they will shortly be visiting Cambridge to look round some Colleges and university buildings. Cambridge gave me skills to make a difference, and the inspiration to do so.
I have also led the creation of a breakfast club at our school, working with child nutrition charity Magic Breakfast. As well as being a school governor, I am also a trustee of Magic Breakfast, and each morning we feed 20 hungry children by giving them a nutritious breakfast of bagels, cereal, fruit, porridge and juice before they start school. Our primary school serves a largely deprived inner-city community and we found that some children were coming to school without having had breakfast, which affected their ability to concentrate in class. I personally sponsored the cost of the milk for cereal to kick-start the club, and I also ran I ran this year's Royal Parks Half Marathon in London raising over £2500 for Magic Breakfast. The breakfast club at my school has been a great success, and we are now rolling out similar clubs at primary schools across the country. For example, in October 2010 I travelled to Birmingham to launch a new breakfast club with Conservative Party Co-Chairman Andrew Feldman, who praised Magic Breakfast for being an "inspirational charity".
My other community and charity work has included fundraising for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, organising charity fundraisers in the City for young professionals, and mentoring local sixth formers from state schools in London applying to Cambridge. Volunteering and supporting charities and good causes has given me the opportunity meet new people, develop key skills and give something back to the community. I recently launched Cambridge10, the University's new networking group for alumni who graduated in the last 10 years, many of whom are young professionals like me. We hold a range of social, networking, and careers events, and I have been greatly inspired by the stories told to me by other alumni of their charity and community work. Around the world, Cambridge alumni are putting into action the spirit of philanthropy and social conscience that has been the hallmark of our University fort the last 800 years, and which continues to be a source of great pride and inspiration for me as I do my little bit for the communities that I am part of.
For more information about Magic Breakfast's work, visit: www.magicbreakfast.com