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Grant from Diss-based Mason Trust helps Reepham College student Dex Scarlett fulfil his dream of teaching in Guyana

Dex Scarlett in South America. Picture: DEX SCARLETT

Dex Scarlett in South America. Picture: DEX SCARLETT

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A student fulfilled his dream of volunteering to help children in South America thanks to a grant from a Diss-based charity.

Reepham College student Dex Scarlett became captivated with the possibility of spending a year living and working overseas after a returning volunteer with Project Trust came to talk to the students of his college.

Project Trust is an organisation that arranges long-term voluntary placements for young people in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

“I was fascinated by the experiences she had undergone and I made the decision to investigate further,” he said.

The selection process for Project Trust was rigorous - Dex spent several days at its home on the Hebridean Isle of Coll with other applicants, undertaking a series of tasks to determine their strengths. This was followed by discussion about the different projects available to them.

Having passed this stage, they were given training in basic teaching techniques and useful educational activities.

He was finally allocated a teaching project in the interior of Guyana and the Diss-based Mason Trust helped by providing money for travel costs.

For a year Dex was teaching Grade Five pupils aged nine and 10 in a very different environment from the one he was used to - a two-room school, with each room further divided by blackboards to accommodate the various grades.

The children were each given a pencil, rubber and their books. Text books had to be shared, sometimes between four.

“In a way, the lack of facilities forced me to be more creative and could make lessons more interesting for both me and the pupils,” Dex said.

“I wouldn’t have missed this amazing opportunity for the world and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it anyone else. I would like to thank The Mason Trust for the travel grant which made my dream that much more achievable.”

The Mason Trust was set up in 2008 by Yvonne Mason, a successful businesswoman with over 25 years’ experience in the marine industry, to help people like Dex.

“The express aim of the trust is to help young people between the ages of 12 and 25 living in Norfolk and Suffolk to reach their full potential,” she explained.

“The trust works with schools and places of further education to forge stronger links between education and industry, to give students the widest choice when deciding on a career.”

“Project Trust’s challenging volunteering placements abroad allow young people to learn about themselves and develop a range of skills, which fits in nicely with the ethos of The Mason Trust.

“We were delighted that we were able to help Dex with his aspirational project.”

If anyone has an ambition or idea for which they require some assistance with funding, The Mason Trust may be able to help. Visit www.themasontrust.org for further information.

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