Tara has been visiting Kenya since she was a baby. For 5 years Tara’s family has donated clothes, stationary, food and baby products to the Mogra Rescue Centre, a children's home in Nairobi. Khan found inspiration in this, and decided to conduct weekly Zoom sessions with the nine to ten year old students, as part of her volunteering for DofE. 

When asked where the idea came from, she responds “I wanted to make a positive impact with my volunteering, this was an opportunity to connect with students and learn more about their way of life.” 

Every week on a Saturday morning, Tara would read storybooks and talk to the students about their aspirations, favourite subjects, and always ended the sessions with a favourite Disney song. “The students' enthusiasm was infectious” Tara recalls, “they are so eager to learn and asked plenty of questions about life in England.”

The rescue centre, founded in 2009, caters to orphans, abandoned, homeless, vulnerable and poverty-stricken children. Since its inception, Mogra has been home to over 565 students. 

Most recently, during the Christmas holidays, Tara visited the rescue centre, and had the opportunity to meet with the students face to face. "To see the faces I had seen on a screen in person was incredible." Whilst in Kenya, a friend and family funded donation of school shoes was offered to the rescue centre. 

Ayan Eswaran, a student at Trinity School, Croydon, was also completing the DofE qualification and did a similar volunteering activity. But this time with students at a children's home in Andhra Pradesh, India.  

Describing the experience, Ayan says, "I enjoyed seeing their smiling faces, and hearing their enthusiastic voices when I ask them questions." On discussing the challenges, Ayan goes on to say "Preparing for the lessons and thinking about what to include took time, and a couple of times I did the session at 6.30 a.m. before leaving for school. This was a unique and challenging project, but satisfying and memorable.”

For those participating in DofE, it is important to make the most out of your experience. Tara continues speaking to the children, and hopes to continue onto the Silver DofE Award, to get more students involved in the exciting project as well as collecting donations. This proves, despite the pandemic and being continents apart, it is always possible to bring joy into the lives of others.