From a sustainable grass roots project in South East Asia to working with psychiatric patients in Sri Lanka, more than a dozen students at Plymouth University have been offered life-changing opportunities through an awards fund.
Thirteen undergraduates have been chosen to receive this year’s Roland Levinsky Memorial Fund, which means they can use up to £1,500 to undertake personal development activities.
Projects can include anything from participation in a sports club or society to undertaking a volunteering project overseas. Among this year’s winners are Tapiwa Madzingira, who is studying Healthcare Science. Tapiwa currently devotes her spare time to working with asylum seekers, refugees and youth groups, and is hoping to build on these skills by volunteering in South East Asia. She said:
“Receiving a fund from this project will not only support me in following a pathway I am passionate about, but through the education I will gain from this experience, it will also be contributing to the progression and development of projects in the local community and internationally that I aim to be a part of in the future.”
Psychology student Fran Wogden, will use her award to fund a trip to work with psychiatric patients in Sri Lanka. She said:
“The award has allowed me to go on a ten week placement, where I will be teaching English and computer skills in psychiatric units in hospitals, in mental health care homes, with people with special needs and with young Sri Lankans, with a view to helping to improve the patients’ future employment prospects.”
The Roland Levinsky Memorial Fund was set up in 2007 in memory of the late Vice-Chancellor, Professor Roland Levinsky. His widow, Beth Levinsky, presented the awards to the students at a special ceremony. Beth said:
“My husband was a keen supporter for students to have the opportunity at university to expand their own interests and he would have been immensely proud to know we have given them the means to do so.”
Maria Thaller, a recipient of an award in 2014, gave thanks to Mrs Levinsky and the other donors for giving her the chance to volunteer at a Vietnamese hospital, rehabilitation village and a leprosy colony. She said:
“It sounds clichéd, but it does change you. I am still in touch with my Vietnamese family and friends and they have carried over the work I did. I couldn’t have done it without the fund.”
Professor David Coslett, Interim Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, said:
“Philanthropic donations from our supporters are extremely beneficial to our students. They give our students the chance to enhance their University experience giving them truly transformational opportunities.”