Volunteer assists in Health and Safety Training
For Madeleine Wright teaching schoolchildren health and safety skills in Ghana last year has changed her life. The 22-year-old university student, who is studying medical anthropology at the London School of Economics, taught at the Voice Preparatory School in Koforidua and quickly realised that health and safety was not a top priority.
"They had some basic health and safety laws but they didn't seem to take them very seriously, and the children had no training whatsoever," Madeleine said.
"Having gone through the British Safety Council's level one qualification before I started my gap year project, I was well-placed to give the children – and teachers - some potentially life-saving health and safety training.
The great thing for me was seeing how quickly they got into it and realised the importance of hazard awareness and carrying out even rudimentary risk assessments. They had an open fire in the grounds where they cooked, but the children hadn't thought about the associated risks until I pointed them out. We then conducted a check of the whole school and the children thought it was great fun."
Madeleine came up with elephant charts of the top three health and safety tips, and a clean hands chart to encourage the children to wash their hands before eating, which she said the children loved. "They had never done anything like it," she said.
"Local people are very appreciative of the volunteers who help with specific projects covering education, health or environmental sustainability, and we all benefit. For the volunteers it is an experience they will never forget."
Madeleine, from Newcastle, adds: "Many developing countries have a need for the skills we can bring and respect our commitment. When I saw what the British Safety Council was offering to gap year students I knew I simply had to sign up before going to Ghana and I was so pleased to pass on the skills to others. I will do so again when I go to Thailand later this year to work on further development projects."