Our volunteer web ‘master’

Introducing another of our band of volunteers, Jean Gordon, who is a social worker, researcher and educator and lives on the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. Her interest in education, and especially girls’ education, dates back from two very formative years in her ’20s teaching at a secondary school on a small island in Fiji.

As a social worker, and now university tutor and researcher, in the Scottish Highlands, Jean is particularly aware of the challenges of accessing education in rural areas. She’s been involved with the Mamie Martin Fund for about five years, first as a trustee, and now helping to look after the MMF website.

Video volunteer making a difference

We’ve been taking videos and trying to get better at providing you, our supporters and friends, with reasonable quality footage of our work in Malawi. Apart from Doreen, our Administrator and Bookkeeper in Scotland and Mercy, our Malawi Manager, we are all volunteers and learning as we go. Imagine our pleasure, then, to get an offer of help with our video editing, particularly the sound which is so challenging when filming in Malawi (you wouldn’t believe the level of background noise everywhere!). 

Richard Robinson is now our Video Volunteer and his work can be see in the two most recent videos we’ve published – Benadeta and the Thompson Girls. Richard’s background is in rural development and the environment. Recently he has been involved in local Scottish community projects addressing climate change, which led him to learn basic video-editing skills. His daughter’s school have a long established partnership with a school in Southern Malawi; she visited as a teenager and the family later hosted an exchange student. This led Richard to become very aware of the difficulties of education in Malawi, particularly for girls.

We are hugely grateful for this help. As those of you who have done any video-editing will know, it is a very time-consuming task and can be very frustrating. But you can look forward to better-quality videos now that we have Richard on board!

A fresh perspective

Kathleen Sargeant was part of the Falkirk High School visit to Malawi in 2008, when the group attended class at Bandawe Girls Secondary School for a week. The trip made a big impression on all the pupils and teachers, which included Mariot Dallas, currently co-convenor of MMF. 

Kathleen now works in a marketing role in London and has been enormously helpful in reviewing our website and suggesting improvements. Following a meeting in London recently, she was persuaded to extend her volunteering to managing a digital skills audit of MMF, which is part of our Action Plan following our recent Strategic Review. 

It’s hugely helpful to have volunteers taking on specific tasks like this, as we reported recently in relation to the sorting-out-images task that Sue Dumbleton is doing for us. It is also greatly appreciated when we have the input of young people like Kathleen. The average age of our Board is, like most NGOs in Scotland, much higher than we would like, given that we are in the business of education for girls. New perspectives are always helpful and input from younger people is especially welcome.

New volunteer on board

We are delighted that volunteer, Sue Dumbleton, has agreed to help us out with our images, which proliferate faster than we can edit and file them. Sue’s own photos are great and you can check that out on her Blipfoto blog, where she posts photos and ‘blips’ as ‘Tweedy’. Images are so important in our work but finding the time to get them into a sensible filing system and tidy them up is a challenge to the Trustees. 

Sue is committed to education, particularly to girls’ education and has been a supporter of the Mamie Martin Fund for some time. You might have seen our post-AGM news item which was taken from Sue’s own blog about the event. 

We are really appreciative of our volunteers’ time and commitment. Those contributions help us to keep the organization working efficiently and, we hope, effectively. If you have a skill that you’d like to offer us, please do get in touch at admin@mamiemartin.org