This is the third of four blogs introducing the team that will be running the second ever kicking Off tournament in Ghana at the end of October 2017.
I guess you could say my involvement with Kicking Off began as the official sounding board, pretty much from the day Julian got back from Ghana, after his first trip in 2010. He had the seed of an idea, even then, and it has grown, gradually, until now, when it is really beginning to bear fruit. As his mum, I have been the listening ear, through all the stages in its growth and can’t wait to get to Mpraeso and start doing something to actively support.
It is perhaps, fortunate, however, that being Julian’s mum is not the only reason for my involvement in Kicking Off! First and foremost, I am that annoying person that everyone has in their life, who is always prodding their conscience and encouraging them to do things to help! I love people, and believe passionately that everyone should have equal access to basic essentials which will allow them to thrive. Sadly, that is so emphatically NOT the case, in our world, so I suppose my ‘hobby’ is raising funds and awareness for a number of charities, locally and abroad – in the hope that, I can help change someone’s world for the better, now, or in the longer term. In particular, my focus has been on local foodbanks, helping refugees in France, and also a school project, which involves long-term support for a charity in Sri Lanka – for which, in conjunction with my student teams, we have raised over £140,000 over 7 years. More than anything, I believe that aid should be sustainable, and should give people the means to flourish, once the aid-givers are gone. That is the model I have always worked to – and it is one of the most powerful features of Kicking Off: building, year on year, to create healthy, independent communities.
As well as my fundraising skills, I am deemed professionally ‘useful’ on this trip, as I am a senior teacher of English at secondary level, also responsible for training new teachers and supporting teaching and learning. Additionally, I work on student well-being, resilience and positive mindset. All this should come in useful as we begin to talk to local teachers and health-workers to ascertain what they would like to see in a local education resource hub, to be accessible to the local schools involved with Kicking Off.
Overall, I am really excited to be working as part of Ghana Project Team 2 and can’t wait, as I am sure I will, to fall in love with the people and places we will be visiting – even if it does mean taking my orders from my son while I am there! 😉