Ten years after graduating from BSc Eco Tourism at UCLan, Therese Green is in to her second decade of running her MaaChild, a charity that aims to give Kenyan Children within the Maasai community a chance of secondary education. Something that, surely everyone, would view as truly commendable.
“My involvement with Kenya began over 11 years ago, whilst carrying out research projects on cultural transitions, responsible tourism, wildlife conservation and sustainable community development in the area,” Therese said.
It was through UCLan, however, that allowed her the opportunity to see first-hand the need for secondary education children in the Maasai community.
“During regular UCLan field trips I worked closely with the Maasai people in Southern Kenya, where I noted there was a significant lack of opportunity for the Maasai children to access secondary education,” Therese said.
“Despite free primary education being made available in 2003, there was little opportunity to progress to secondary level. My studies indicated a significant desire among many Maasai children to obtain secondary education and this is led me to set up MaaChild.”
Unlike the majority of undergraduates, it was always Therese’s ambition to work within the voluntary sector and she says her goals were made achievable thanks to the trip to Kenya with the University.
“I chose the field trip to Kenya as it provided me with the ultimate chance to engage and to learn both academically and practically at a local level. Furthermore it equipped me to realise my life long goal to work within the voluntary sector after graduation,” Therese said.
Reflecting on her time on campus, Therese says that the teaching was “inspirational” and that the most enjoyable aspects of the degree course were the “strong focus on independent learning” as well as working in the field.
In terms of the decision to go to University itself, Therese has urged anyone debating the idea to take the risk and reap the rewards.
“It is a huge step but so worth taking and one you will never regret. Take the chance, dare to step out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in the opportunities provided. When there are tough moments, dig deep and persevere. The extra value your time spent at UCLan will add to your life will remain with you.”