Written by Laurence

Last week we had two fantastic work experience volunteers from our Link schools working with us – PJ from Dr. Challoner’s Grammar School and Frances from Headington School. They both worked really hard to make the most of their time with us, and were a real asset to us as well as great ambassadors for their schools.

The following words are theirs and give an insight into how a grassroots education charity operates ‘behind-the-scenes’ and how amazing volunteers can make such a difference while with us.

If you are interested in sending Work Experience students from your Link school to work with us, please get in touch with laurence[at]linkethiopia[dot]org!

We’d just like to say thanks to Frances and PJ for being such a great help while they were with us, and we wish them well in the future!

At Sincil

‘I may be back’ – PJs time with Link

“For the past week I have been braving the Tube and making my way to Link Ethiopia’s London office for some work experience. Coming from a linked school I was aware of the charity and the great work it does for communities and schools in Ethiopia, but had no idea of the scale!

Neither did I know anything about the intricacies of running a charity with so many projects to keep track of. Now after a busy week I know a little bit more about the charity and how important it is to keep things organised!

Straight away on day one they had me in at the deep end helping to create guides on how to set up a Virgin Money Giving account, and how to write a blog – two things I knew little about, so I was learning to research and present my findings straight away.

Secondly, I helped organise a book donation which will be getting sent to Ethiopia for the Link Ethiopia ‘Libraries and Literacy’ project. We sorted the books by difficulty and then by title so that LE knew how many of each book they had. They are hoping to set up their own library to show local schools what can be achieved and where kids are able to come and take books home to read…

… After that, I was given the enjoyable task of helping select the photos that will be in next year’s LE calendar; I particularly enjoyed this as I got to look through lots of exciting pictures from Ethiopia.

Overall it was a great experience that I have taken a lot from and hopefully one day I will be back again – or on a trip to help in Ethiopia!”

‘Time away from the GCSE Dictatorship’ – Frances’ 2nd stint with Link!

“Over the last two weeks I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working in the Link Ethiopia office in London and have gained a lot from working with them. I’ve been lucky enough to work on a range of tasks involving so many aspects of what Link does. They’ve given me direction on tasks whilst also giving me the opportunity to use some initiative which was a breath of fresh air in contrast with the dictatorial style of GCSE work.

During the first week my knowledge of finance was put under scrutiny as I began to rewrite their finance guidelines and processes: thankfully I was shown how the systems worked prior to the write up. I do hope that any future finance employees of Link Ethiopia read it with great enthusiasm!

Probably the most exciting event was having the chance to share my views as a member of ‘today’s youth’ on how Link should develop their UK youth involvement work. Despite diverging off topic multiple times and debating over why Ethiopia and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are struggling with poverty, I do hope that PJ and I helped to contribute some useful ideas.

One of the more challenging jobs of mine was research into the trends of teacher absenteeism in Ethiopia. However, what I did manage to find in English enlightened me to some of the struggles of education in Ethiopia and helped me to understand what Link Ethiopia works to tackle.

Working with Link Ethiopia in London this summer coupled with the charity work I did with them in Ethiopia last year has really made me far more grateful for the education that we have in England.

Having seen their work in England and Ethiopia I’ve been able to really appreciate all that they do and I am very thankful for the experiences. I would encourage all young people looking for work experience to do some work with Link Ethiopia as it’s a fantastic experience and they’re the loveliest bunch of people. I’d just like to thank everybody with whom I’ve worked with for being so good humoured and jolly as well as having given me some nifty pointers about university and big scary adult world that awaits me.”