Hardman's Thoughts

Pretty much everything…


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Josh and Tanya’s Wedding

So, as many as you are aware, I was best man for Josh on his wedding to Tanya on Saturday. I thoroughly enjoyed the day, even with my many responsibilities. Emma has taken some great photographs from the event, which if you are interested in you should check out her page. She will be putting them up as she edits them, and more will be appearing in various posts on various people’s pages.

As part of my best man speech, Emma and I went around getting stories from those who know Josh and messages for him and Tanya. It got a great reaction from all present, and as a result, I’ve put the final version of it up on YouTube. I’ve made this blog post to shamelessly promote it!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to it, helped with the filming, editing and getting interviews for it. We really appreciate it, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Sorry to anyone who knows Josh and wasn’t in the video – we got to as many people as we could, but if you want to give your own message to Mr and Mrs Hockley-Still, please comment on this – we will make sure they see it.

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Introducing … Josh Still

Josh Still is on the eve of the biggest day of his life: his marriage to Tanya Hockley. The 23-year-old lives with Tanya down in Stone Cross, near Eastbourne, works for Conservative MP Nus Ghani, has degrees from LSE and Yale; and has a huge passion for sport. It was a wide-reaching conversation …

  1. How, when and where did you met Tanya?

Tanya and I met in America – I was studying at Yale, and she was on a placement there. We met at a mutual friend’s British-themed party, which is definitely something quirky to tell people

  1. What was the first thing you guys spoke about?

I don’t remember our first words, but I remember we spoke at length that night about the dissertation Tanya was writing about whether a robot could have a soul. I remember saying ‘what if humans don’t even have souls?’ I don’t know if I’d still say that now…

  1. Given what you’ve just said – do you consider yourself a Christian?

Yes, I’ve now been confirmed as such. That’s not to say I don’t have questions and doubts – I think that’s very normal, and signing up to dogma will never be my thing. I’ll also always be very sceptical of authority & systems that enable certain human beings to exercise too much power over others. There’s been too much of that in the church, and even the most cursory reading of what Jesus actually taught will tell you that’s not what he wanted. I think my faith is more personal to me – I don’t pay too much attention to what bishops & archbishops etc. are saying. Because while I say yes, I don’t think it’s the only way. I think all religions essentially do the same thing & ask the same questions, but that every culture & human society does/did religion in its own way. Maybe they all glimpse part of the broader truth?

  1. What advice would you give to people who are sceptical about the idea of religion?

I don’t want to tell people what to believe. I don’t think you need faith to be a kind and caring person, which is ultimately what matters. What I would encourage though is for people to always challenge the simplistic narrative that they’re fed. Our society & our media deride religious views as antiquated and irrelevant, which when you look into it more closely, isn’t really fair. As society modernises and becomes ever more capitalist and technologically driven, we’re becoming ever more anxious & depressed personally, and our jobs at work are becoming more insecure. We’re told that appearance; money and status are what matter. A tiny elite control so much of the wealth. Distrusting other people & being cynical are considered virtues. I think both as a society, and especially as individuals within it, we could use a bit more religion. It proves that there is a better way to live life, and gives us a message of hope and redemption.

  1. Has Tanya, or your experiences down on the south coast, directly impacted your thoughts on any other issues?

Yeah I think so. I’ve developed and matured as a person, no doubt. And intellectually, I’ve changed a lot as I’ve learned more about the world, but I think my core principles are the same. It’s just while I once thought that socialism was a good way of achieving them, and religion wasn’t, actually I think I got it the wrong way round. I now hate the idea of a government filled with people following their own agendas & interests telling me how to live my life & particularly if it’s ever run by the modern-day intellectually stunted left-wing activists that have decided that they know the right things to think, and so freedom of speech is now outdated. That will never be true. Different opinions are good, unpopular opinions will always be how you improve society & unpleasant opinions are the price that you pay for that. In the media, I always make sure I read the most controversial columnists from all viewpoints, because they’re the ones that have something interesting to say. I know I’m a bizarre mix really – I’m a contrarian religious advocate of the freedom of the individual who wants to leave the EU but let more refugees in. Which is crazily different, but I actually like that, and I look forward to seeing how my mind changes as the facts change in the future!

  1. What about the idea of marriage?

It’s good for us, and I like the idea of God blessing our union. Whether it’s best for everyone else is for them to decide, but I do find the modern trend of increasing divorce very sad.

  1. How do you think you will feel when you see Tanya walking down the aisle?

I’m sure I’ll cry. I cried on the train reading the end of a tale of two cities the other day, so I’m sure I will at the happiest moment of my life

  1. What are your plans immediately after the wedding?

Night at the ritz, 2 weeks honeymoon exploring America & being off work – sounds good to me!

  1. And then, general future plans – do you want the typical happily married with 2 kids and a dog or do you see you guys following a different path?

I’m not sure about the dog … But yeah, I’d want kids in a few years. I think it’s one of the most innate and powerful human desires that we have

  1. Do you have any ideas for names?

Yes, but I’m not giving them away yet!

  1. You’ve been to university on both sides of the pond, how did the experiences differ?

I think both could have been better. The academic systems were very different, and I found Yale’s harder – but maybe that’s because it was Yale! But I didn’t like the undergraduate drinking culture, nor the idea of what university is now – for middle-class people to get good jobs. It should be about education. And Yale was just too powerful – it owns like half of new haven, and their fees are ridiculous. But it pretends that if it can stop its students saying mean things about Native Americans, it’s all lovely and progressive. Absolute bull.

  1. For people who have never travelled there, just how different is America?

Well, we speak the same language & we have a shared history. So it’s closer to us than most European countries are. In a lot of ways, it’s the same but with different twists. But the cities look very different – the roads run in straight lines, there’s lots more cars and, of course, lots more ghettoes and racial segregation in a way we don’t understand here

  1. What is it like working for an MP? What are the most difficult aspects, and what are the more enjoyable ones?

I think the difficult and the enjoyable aspects are both to do with meeting people. MPs attract the local fools, who it’s never fun to deal with. But you also meet some incredible people too, which can be really quite humbling. And incredible when we can actually do something to help them.

  1. Do you still get a sense of wonder every time you walk into parliament, or is it now just your office?

It’s now just an office. And I hate that! I still do like taking people on tours though – if you’re ever interested (ed – I told him I was)!

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  1. Do you ever miss Nottingham?

Of course. I grew up there & love coming back. Most of my friends & family are up there too, as you know. I think Nottingham will always be a part of who I am. And Nottingham forest – a big club that wants to be successful, but doesn’t always succeed, and is small enough to be an outsider rather than part of the elite. I identify with that.

  1. Talking about Forest, just what can they achieve?

Quite a lot actually. I want you to shoot me if I ever become one of these fans that’s happy to accept middling along in 16th place for the next 5 years. Look at how sporting a city Nottingham is – we could sustain a PL club without question. And our squad, if they all stay fit, is definitely good enough to compete for the top 6. I want us to aim high. But we need to finally appoint a good manager rather than the dross we’ve had to put up with for most of the next 15 years, and then Fawaz has to back him with money and time, and hire people who know how to run the club and leave it to them. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Look at Wes Morgan, captain of a Premier-League winning side. He was in League One with us for 3 years so it shows you just what can be achieved. And we’ve produced players like Lascelles, who’s now a PL regular, and discovered Antonio, who is too. It can definitely be done!

  1. How do you feel about sport in general? Has it reached a point where it’s too based around money and winning or is it still an enjoyable spectacle?

Well, now I’ve stopped going to Forest so much, I find myself rapidly losing interest in football generally – which I think has sold its soul. But I think sport will always be a big love in my life, and I’m trying to get more into sports like tennis, rugby, county cricket, ice hockey etc. which have been far less corrupted by money so far. And I’m really enjoying it. Not to mention tennis, the best sport in the world, which is superb both for gender equality, and for the fact that only about the top 50 men and women in the world earn big money. Which I’m fine with, as they have insane ability. But the rest have to earn a living, so they’re more relatable for the fans.

  1. Finally, a bold question which I like asking people , how can we make the world a better place to live?

I don’t think there’s a set template. I think that everybody needs to do it in their own way. Take a look at yourself and discern what your calling is in life, and listen to the best parts of your nature, and you’ll know what to do. There’s a million and one different ways to help people and to change the world, and we need people to do all of them!

Josh and Tanya will get married tomorrow (14th May 2016) at St Luke’s Church in Stone Cross.


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Introducing … Emma Still

Emma Still, 19, has lost over four stones in a year. The only aspects of her life she directly changed were diet and exercising. However, it’s had a much greater effect on her entire life. It’s easy to say she’s happier; it’s more realistic to say she’s completely changed her entire perspective on life and health. She’s written a blog on her transformation, and it’s well worth a read.

  1. You mention self-esteem throughout the blog and I was wondering if there’s a connection between that and the weight loss. Namely, is that the reason this diet has succeeded where your others haven’t?

From my experience, weight loss and self-esteem do seem to have some sort of connection. I’ve always been happier and more confident when I’ve lost weight and miserable when I put on weight. Therefore, when I put on the 2 and a half stone in 2014 and was the heaviest I had been I was at my worst. However, weight loss isn’t the only contributor to self-esteem because I would still say that my self-esteem isn’t the best. I mean, I still find it difficult to talk to people I meet for the first time. You can’t depend on weight loss to boost your self-esteem because a lot of other factors contribute towards it. I think this diet succeeded where others haven’t mainly down to the fact that I felt like I wasn’t restricting what I eat too much. Yes, I cut out sugar amongst other things but there are so many alternatives that mean that I still eat almost everything I want to (especially brownies). My self-esteem was of course a factor because it was so low that I knew I needed to make a change because otherwise I would still be where I was today. It was gradually boosted over the course of the year down to the weight loss and a general love of my diet so it could well be the reason why this succeeded.

  1. A lot of this success is down to your change in diet. Which recipe book, and indeed recipe, is your favourite?

I have recently written a blog post on my three favourite bloggers/authors. These are The Green Kitchen, Anna Jones and Tanya Maher (Better Raw). They have each show me how to eat better whilst extremely enjoying what I eat and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am now if not for them. I’ve included some of their recipes in my recent blog post. There are other bloggers that I love as well but I could list them forever so it’s best to ask me personally for the full list. My favourite recipe book is joint between The Green Kitchen and The Green Kitchen Travels mainly because they are awesome recipes whilst containing beautiful photography, which is important to me. However, my favourite recipe is very difficult for me to choose because I have so many recipes that I love. Anna Jones’ Tomato and Coconut Cassoulet in her book A Modern Way to Eat is pretty ace and I tend to eat it every week. I also love pizza and eat that every Friday night using the pizza dough from Honestly Healthy’s first book and then making the topping from Anna Jones’ pizzette. Quite honestly, I don’t think I have a favourite.

  1. Where is the best place to buy these books?

That would have to be Amazon because they always do discounts on these cookbooks as they were all the trend in 2015. However, Waterstones stock all the books as far as I’m aware and I love Waterstones as a store so they’re always good to support even if the books are a bit pricier.

  1. Can you explain your exercise regime in more detail (i.e., what does the interval run consist of, when do you run, do you do anything on top of running)?

I run three times a week (1×16 minute interval run, 1×30 minute, 1×35+ minute) – normally with at least a day break between each run. Usually, it’s a Monday, Wednesday and Saturday although there are times when I’m busy and can’t do a certain day so have to change it. The interval run consists of a 5 minute warm up jog followed by 1 minute sprinting then 1 minute jogging for the next 11 minutes. The 35 minute run we are gradually building up every couple of weeks so we can eventually run further and further. The other days I go walking for at least 10,000 steps which I have an app on my phone to track it. I wouldn’t enjoy the gym or many other forms of exercise so I don’t want to force myself to do them because I wouldn’t keep it up.

  1. What is your favourite form of exercise and what exercises would you recommend to novices?

Nowadays, I actually love running. At the beginning I absolutely hated it because it made me feel so unfit as I was out of breath after about a minute. I’m a very self-conscious person and didn’t want anyone to see me out of breath and sweaty. Now I can run 30 minutes without really breaking much of a sweat and I really enjoy being in the fresh air, as it tends to clear my head. I also love swimming but I don’t go enough because it can be quite expensive to go all the time. Plus, after losing 4 stone I can say that my swimming costume almost certainly won’t fit now!

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For novices, I recommend the couch to 5k by Change4Life because that’s what helped me. It’s a 9 week programme which builds you up gradually to be able to run for 30 minutes. It seems daunting at first but honestly, if I can do it then anyone can because as I said I could barely run for a minute at the start.

  1. Exercising and cutting sugar out of the diet can be hard work. How did you keep going when it was easier to just stop?

Most people can’t go cold turkey like I did because you have to have a hell of a lot of will power to do it. I was completely desperate though on the borderline of being classed as obese and of course my high blood pressure. The way I dealt with getting rid of sugar, dairy, gluten and alcohol from my diet was to just remove the temptation from the house. I’m notoriously bad at feeding myself because I’m quite lazy so if I had bad food in the house then I would eat it, as it’s the easy option. The other way I combated my cravings was to find alternatives to everything I missed. Sugar is easily replaced with dates, honey, agave, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar and many others. I’ve reverted back to eating dairy and gluten because I can’t personally remove them completely from my diet. However, I’ve substituted milk for homemade almond milk, yoghurt for coconut yoghurt (which I either make myself or buy from the supermarket) and cheese can be replaced with nutritional yeast. The only dairy I eat is feta, goats’ cheese and halloumi and gluten wise I try to eat wholewheat products all the time. I drink alcohol rarely nowadays but I drink it on special occasions and if I fancy it then I’m not going to stop myself from drinking. I just don’t really want to drink it much anymore. I certainly don’t judge people who do – I’m really not preachy about my diet.

  1. Is it true that you’re difficult to feed?

When you look at my diet from an outsider’s perspective then it looks daunting if you’ve got to feed me. Honestly though, I’m really not that difficult to feed. Okay, I don’t eat sugar, processed food, most dairy and other things along those lines but ultimately day in day out I mainly eat very basic ingredients. My diet is plant based so if you buy in some fruit and veg or pulses like lentils and beans then you can feed me. I’m not a fussy eater so most likely I’ll eat what you give me. You don’t need to worry about feeding me but if you are then just talk to me about it – I’m very down to earth about my diet as I realise it seems really difficult to someone not used to it.

  1. What advice would you give to people who want to lose weight?

My advice would be to find what works for you. I can’t tell you how to do it because what has worked for me you may absolutely detest. You have to find your motivation to do something about it. However, you need to realise that life is more important than a number on the scales because you should start by being happy with the way you look. You’re never going to look “perfect” because there is no such thing. Like I could still complain that my stomach isn’t flat enough and that is how I feel sometimes but I’ve lost so much weight and I’m healthy so should I really be concentrating on one little flaw? No. So stop weighing yourself all the time and just aim on finding what makes you happy. I found a diet and exercise regime that I love and look where I am now.

  1. How big a factor was your “graduation” from school?

Quite frankly, huge. I’m an emotional eater and it’s fair to say my comfort eating may have been a cause for my weight gain. My two best friends left my school after GCSEs so when I got into sixth form I had barely anyone. I was completely isolated especially seeing as I had fallen out with a few girls a couple of years previously that had turned a lot of people against me. Of course, I was partly to blame for my isolation because I’m not the most talkative and I don’t like to force myself upon people so I didn’t try extremely hard at infiltrating a friendship group. It was difficult though because most friendship groups had been formed years before and they weren’t exactly looking for a new member. I spent my lunchtimes working or in the toilet (I know how sad that sounds but I didn’t feel like I had anywhere else to go) and I left any opportunity I could. No one really tried to involve me in anything and I’m pretty sure most people at that school either didn’t like me or were completely indifferent to me. They made me feel like I was worthless. The sixth form itself wasn’t exactly the best place either: too strict and too focussed on academic subjects. If I ever get successful then none of it is down to my school. In fact, I’m trying to completely disassociate myself with it. My self-esteem has massively improved since leaving in May and I can safely say I’m glad I’m shot of it.

  1. On top of this, you’ve started a photography degree. I know that this is very time consuming. You’ve managed to keep up the exercise, so how would you recommend that people stay active while working?

Some days it is difficult. I don’t eat the best I could; I haven’t done as much exercise as I’ve wanted to or something along those lines. It’s in my personality that I tend to beat myself up about it but my advice would be definitely don’t beat yourself up about it – don’t be like me. If there is one day that you have slipped then it isn’t the end of the world. If it is turning into more than one day then address the issue. You’ve got to be organised more than anything. I have to arrange my running around how my timetable for the week looks. Often, I get up early and do my exercise, which takes a lot of dedication but it’s worth it. It’s better to push yourself to do the exercise than to beat yourself up about it later. Also, I park a little way away from uni so I can go on a little walk before my lessons.

  1. What do you say to people who say photography isn’t a proper degree?

Erm, I’d probably swear at them? Haha no, I just think that is a very ignorant opinion. When people discovered I was going to do a photography degree whilst I was at school I got very judgmental looks and questions. The best was: oh so you’re going to just be taking pictures for three years? It’s not as simple as that. I want a career in photography so why would I take a degree in a really pointless subject that I’m never going to use again? It’s an important degree and an important job and people should stop judging people based on what they’re studying or what university they go to or what their job is. I couldn’t care less if you’re a doctor or an artist – both jobs are as important in our society. It’s more important that you’re a good person than what you do for a living. What I do isn’t “easy” either. It’s not just point and shoot like most amateur photographers do so please educate yourself on photography before telling me it’s not a proper subject and it’s easier than other jobs.

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  1. Finally, what does the future hold in terms of diet, exercise and job prospects?

The wonderful thing about life is that it will all probably change. I’ll find new foods that I love, new exercises that make me feel great and find a job that makes me happy. I can’t say what the future holds but of course I have some aspirations. I’m constantly discovering new ideas surrounding my diet so it will most likely change but not much because I think I’m content with the fundamental principles of it. Exercise wise, I would love to start swimming more when I have a bit more money coming in and of course I want to keep running and walking. I would also love to take up yoga and improve my strength a bit as I’m so weak to the point that I find it difficult to pick up saucepans sometimes. I also want to start meditating more to try and improve my self-esteem and general confidence. Concerning my job, I have always wanted to work for myself. I want my own business and be successful and happy with what I do. My main aspiration is to be a food photographer/stylist so my food blog is very important to me as it is definitely in the industry I want to break. I’ve started selling my photographs on Etsy as a mini start to launching a business so hopefully that’ll go somewhere.

Emma blogs on WordPress, has a Facebook page for her photographs and an Instagram account which she updates daily (to go along with her Etsy account).

If you want to contact her for anything than email her at emma.still@btconnect.com.


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Introducing … Imogen Hardman

Welcome to my new feature, taking a look into the lives of my friends and family. We start with my sister, who has a fascinating story to tell from her life in and around charity. This is slightly longer than I expect most of these articles will be, because I used a lot of this for part of my work at Uni. 

Imogen Hardman works with WaterAid. Before this job, she volunteered at home with Christian Aid and away in a collection of countries worse off than our own. With the release of WaterAid’s new winter campaign, I caught up with her to ask about life working in and around a charity.

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  1. What does your job involve?

I work in the Supporter Care Team at WaterAid, there is a team of six of us who are part of a larger Fundraising and Communications team at the charity. My job involves answering phone calls and emails from supporters of WaterAid. Supporters will ring with questions about our work, to make changes to our database or to set up a donation to our work. I also monitor and respond to comments and questions across WaterAid’s social media pages. As part of the team I have the responsibility for legacies and campaigns, this means I work with colleagues across the organisation to make sure we are able to effectively communicate information about legacies and campaigns to our supporters. My job is varied and means each day is different; I interact with a wide range of staff members and an even wider range of the general public.

  1. What is the best aspect of working for a charity? 

Ever since I visited Mozambique when I was 16, I have wanted to work for an international development charity. I saw first-hand the devastating effects of poverty and I have wanted to work for an organisation that works to change the structures that kept people like I met in Mozambique poor since then. So the best part of working for WaterAid is that I am part of an organisation that is doing this work every day. It is inspiring to see and hear about the changes and know that I am playing a small part in making this happen. I am also able to work with experts in policy and programmes work which is a great way for me to learn more about the sector and focus on what area I would like to specialise in in the future.

  1. Charity work can be seen as quite mundane, when are the brighter moments?

I have had many funny conversations with supporters, often they are very proud to support WaterAid and do crazy things to raise money for our work. I have spoken to people who have shaved their heads, dyed their hair bright blue, jumped out of planes and cycled around the world for WaterAid. It is fantastic!

Whilst we often work on serious issues, I have lots of fun with my team and even though our job can sometimes be stressful and we are faced with sometimes rude or angry people, my team is able to join together and have fun. We are also in a great position because we get the happy stories from our projects first and really enjoy the videos that our country offices send us from the projects. My favourite are videos of communities who are celebrating receiving clean water in their community for the first time, everyone usually gathers for the tap to be turned on and they dance and celebrate together. This makes my harder days worth it! You can see my favourite video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIoPrayaxXU.

  1. You’ve seen the front line of a charity (i.e. when you went abroad with Christian Aid), how does it compare to being behind the scenes?

Seeing the work of a charity in-country was really interesting as these staff members are on the front line of the work, they were the country offices and partner organisations implementing the work on the ground. Their role varies from the role of offices in the UK. Much of the focus in the UK is raising awareness of campaigns or the work of a charity to recruit more supporters, whereas the in-country offices have the role of ensuring that the money raised in the UK is spent effectively. There are often very different laws for charities in-country and complicated and varied cultural norms, so these have to all be taken into account when funding a project. This means a team of people from the UK have to work very closely with the team in the country where the project is taking place. This is of upmost importance in order for the charity to work and be as effective as possible to reach as many communities as possible.

  1. What is your campaign about this winter?

This winter we have a campaign which is focusing on maternal health in countries such as Tanzania, Malawi and Madagascar. This is our biggest ever fundraising appeal, we are aiming to raise £5m which will be matched by the UK Government, meaning we might be able to raise £10m. We hope to reach 130,000 mums and their families with clean water and safe sanitation. At WaterAid we believe that everyone everywhere should have access to clean water and sanitation.

This is especially important for mothers-to-be, some of whom have to collect water for themselves up until the day they give birth. For many this water is often dirty and can cause infections that are dangerous to mums and their babies. We are focusing on Kiomboi Hosptial in Tanzania, who deliver as many babies at Kings College Hospital in London, but all without a constant supply of clean running water. Throughout our campaign we will follow the midwives, doctors and patients at Kiomboi to find out their stories, often tragic stories of loss and illness. At the end of the campaign, we will revisit Kiomboi Hospital and see as they receive a supply of running water for the first time.

  1. How will you go about promoting and achieving it?

Our Winter Appeal, Deliver Life, is our biggest ever fundraising appeal so we are hoping to reach as many people as possible with our appeal to raise awareness and funds. We have started advertising our appeal on television, as well as on public transport. There is a whole website dedicated to the appeal and the stories from Kiomboi Hospital and the other countries we have maternal health projects. We have also been letting our current supporters know, as well as reaching more people with our posts on social media. We have partnered with The Body Shop, who are donating some of their profits to our projects this winter as well as partnering with celebrities who will also promote our campaigns with their fans. Finally WaterAid is also hoping to catch the public’s attention with our #firstbabyselfie promotion, we are asking people to share their first baby picture to raise awareness of our campaign as well as to get people talking about growing up with clean water and a safe place to go to the toilet.

  1. Which country has been the most rewarding to help out in?

I have volunteered in a few different countries but I spent the longest living and working in Malawi, so I think this was probably the most rewarding place to have volunteered. I lived with a rural community, working for a local community based organisation for three months and really got to know the people I was working with. This immersion in community life made it so much rewarding to see progress because I knew the people and context so well. I was also able to really get involved in long term projects and input my own ideas which made successes more rewarding. Whilst I lived in Malawi I was able to help an organisation find a new plot of land for their day care centre, being able to get involved in this from the beginning and see it through to the end was a brilliant feeling. It was also rewarding in terms of the vast experience I gained that I have been able to use when working back in the UK.

  1. What methods do you think are the most successful when trying to raise money for a cause?

I personally believe when you are trying to raise money for a charity you have to make the cause seem relevant and relatable to the individual’s life. If you can understand or put yourself in the position of the person you are donating to its much easier to envision how your money would help. I think it is also crucial to show progress and the positive stories of how donations have helped to change the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. This way you realise that you can make a difference but also don’t get fatigued or made to feel hopeless, I think that this is especially important when raising money for international development work as the people you are supporting are from such different situations. Also, there are many high profile campaigns, from Live Aid to Comic Relief that always seem to projecting an image that everyone still needs our help. I think this can sometimes cause people to think that donations aren’t making difference.

I think the best example of a successful fundraising campaign was by Save the Children and the TV advert they put together called, Most Shocking Second a Day, it was to raise money for the Syria Crisis Appeal and compared the life of a child in the UK and a child living in the war in Syria. I thought it was powerful because it makes what sometimes seems so far away, seem much more relatable. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBQ-IoHfimQ)

  1. What can we do to help stop suffering across the world?

I think that there are many ways to stop suffering but the most important thing to do is to fight against the structures that are keeping many people in poverty. These structures include a lack of access to essential resources such as water and shelter, lack of access to healthcare and education as well as no chance to make money. These are often caused by a variety of different factors such as those that are environmental, governments not being to provide these services and disasters such as war or extreme weather. Sometimes money can help solve these problems so donating to a cause you believe in can be very effective, you can lobby our government to ensure that they are doing everything they can to stop things such as climate change and tax dodging which affect some of the world’s poorest people first and worst, or additionally you can take action yourself. You can do this by living a more environmentally friendly life, such as recycling or not over consuming; also you can make sure you only buy from companies that treat the world’s poorest communities ethically. There are many ways to help stop suffering in the world, even just sharing the work of your favourite charity can help raise awareness of the suffering many living in poverty face.

  1. Are there any countries you want to visit, and why?

I would love to visit all the countries in the world! But realise that this isn’t possible, however I have never visited a country in South America so I would like to visit somewhere there next. I think it would be extremely interesting to visit Brazil, as it is a country that has such massive inequality. There are many really rich people in Brazil and they have a thriving and growing economy however many people still live alongside this in extreme poverty. There is a big gang culture and many cultural norms that I have never experienced before that I think would make it such an interesting place to visit. I think it would be very difficult to see such an inequality and would be hard to see the real Brazil as it has such violence but I would still love to visit nonetheless and of course try and see the rainforest!

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  1. Why did you have a desire to work for charities?

As I mentioned earlier I was interested in working for a charity ever since my visit to Mozambique at 16. It was an eye opening experience for me as I had never been to a country remotely like Mozambique but I fell in love with the people and the culture that I experienced. I met a local man who told me a story of aid, this story had a massive impact on me and made me determined to work for a charity that made an effective and sustainable change to the lives of people living in poverty. He told me about how a European government had chosen to send some aid to Mozambican farmers. So they sent 6 tractors on a ship all the way to the port in Beira, Mozambique. However they didn’t realise that ships docking Beira would have to pay a port tax, the ship didn’t see why they had to pay the tax as they were donating tractors, but the port authority insisted as all ships docking had to pay the tax. This went backwards and forwards many times and a compromise couldn’t be reached so the ship turned around and dropped the tractors in the ocean before returning back home. I was so shocked by this story and there were so many things wrong with this to approach sending aid that I decided I wanted to work for an organisation that took a different more community led approach and I knew that many charities focused on sustainable development.

  1. How can people get involved with charities?

The charity sector, just like many other areas can sometimes be difficult to break into with many more people looking for jobs than jobs available. However if you are passionate about a topic and willing to work hard in jobs that might not be the ideal then I think it is possible to develop a career. I also volunteered for a variety of charities both home and abroad which gave me a broad understanding of how charities operate and helped me to make contacts across the sector that have been really useful when looking for paid work. I think you need to research charities and decide which fit with your beliefs and ethics and keep an eye out on the jobs advertised and then try and get experience of the skills that are often listed as this really helps when applying. Most of all though I think you have to have passion for the cause.

  1. How do you encourage people to help out, and does their generosity really help?

I think as I mentioned before many people feel drawn to help out with issues that they can relate to, this is why in the jobs I have had before and in my current job when I talk about poverty and the issues facing the world’s poorest communities I try to make as many parallels between our lives in the UK and the lives of those living in poverty. I also believe that whilst money does make a massive different to the lives of the worlds poorest people there are also other ways of making a difference. One is to join a campaign and raise awareness of the structures that are keeping people poor, these campaigns and awareness raising are also equally effective and make a difference.

I definitely believe that people’s generosity makes a massive difference and in my current job I often speak to people who are giving the very little that they have to our work and I am constantly humbled by their generosity and selflessness. This generosity has meant that we have been able to halve extreme poverty, which is classified as people living on less than $1 a day, by half in the last 15 years and I truly believe that in the next 15 years we will eradicate it. I believe that people are becoming more aware of the issues people living in poverty face and the new Global Goals signed by world leaders in New York in September will mean that the public’s generosity twinned with a changing public opinion on global aid and development will make a massive difference to reducing worldwide poverty.