Jennifer MacDonald, a quality assurance technician at Norbord’s Inverness plant, swapped the Scottish Highlands for eastern Africa when she spent five days teaching pupils in a remote girls’ school in Muhuru, Kenya.
MacDonald volunteered to help at the WISER Girls School, which operates as a charity, to encourage people around the world to support the institution in various ways, from fundraising to practical support.
The aim of the school, which lies on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria, is to provide an environment that promotes education and health and gives its pupils confidence that they are in control of their own destiny.
As the school puts great emphasis on science, technology, engineering and maths, MacDonald was keen to use her knowledge and experience to contribute to its curriculum. She explained: “It was really hands-on as I spent most of my time in the classroom with the girls talking about entrepreneurship, how to come up with business ideas, looking at finance and budgeting and running your own business.
“It was very different from what I’m used to, especially as the electricity would only be available for a couple hours a day and all the water needed to be filtered as it was not safe to drink. Despite the limited resources the girls were very welcoming and enthusiastic and keen to learn new things – they were always happy and smiling and liked to hold my hand when we were out of class.”
She is now fundraising to return next year.