Beccles student off to volunteer in Tanzania

A student from north Suffolk who took a dramatic career path change is getting ready to work as a volunteer in Africa.

Kimberley Sparkes, of Goose Green East, Beccles, has already spent two years travelling and working in Australia and teaching English in Thailand and now she is setting off to Tanzania to help educate young people living there.

In September 2009 she arrived back in England from her first stint travelling to begin an Educational Studies degree after making a course and career change from wanting to be a lawyer.

'I suddenly felt my heart lay in teaching,' she explained.

'And since then I have never looked back. I also love exploring and meeting people so much.'

Then in 2010 she went on another trip to India and in June of that year she went to Italy for six weeks to work with a company called ACLE which runs English summer camps for Italian children all over the country.

She said: 'I loved working with them so much. It was a fantastic experience and so much fun although extremely tiring running around after children all day.

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'As soon as I finished in Italy in August I went straight out to Bali, Indonesia, and I spent most of my days teaching at a Yayasan – a community centre.

'I sometimes taught up to 70 pupils each day ranging from four to 21-year-olds. The children were amazing, so grateful and enthusiastic about learning.'

Last week Miss Sparkes returned to Italy and will stay there for 10 weeks to work with at ACLE's summer camp again, then in August she will be leaving for Tanzania.

She said: 'I am looking forward to meeting so many new people and learning all about their lives and try to make even a very small difference to them.'

Miss Sparkes will be working for the Map Foundation, a non-government organisation which was set up six years ago with the help of students at the University of Sussex.

'What is more important is raising money for the people and communities out there,' she said.

'I want to take books, clothes, teaching resources, medicine, toys and much more, even if it just puts a smile on their faces.'

Miss Sparkes will be writing a travel blog which you can keep up to date with at www.getjealous.com/kimberleysparkes. You can also use the same adderss to donate or sponsor her.

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