|BME Cancer Awareness Week|
|Monday, 04 August 2008 08:36|
The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, is involved in a huge amount of charity work. I have met a number of constituents in Tooting who have benefited from the Prince’s Trust scheme. Another charity he is involved in is "Business in the Community". You can find out more about BitC by clicking HERE. I attended an inspiring evening at the Royal Albert Hall where BitC Awards for Excellence were awarded to businesses doing some really good work in communities up and down the country.
One the most harrowing experiences I have had as an MP, was visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau last year. You can see details of my visit by clicking HERE. I was pleased that Graveney School (who provided two pupils for my visit along with Ernest Bevin College) have enhanced their teaching of the Holocaust even more as a result of the experiences of the students who came with me. Year 9 put on an excellent production of "And then they came for Me……..Remembering the world of Anne Frank". After the play, Anne Frank’s step sister Eva Schloss made a surprise appearance and mesmerised the students (and us non-students) with her answers to some really interesting, clever, thoughtful and insightful questions and comments from students from Year 9. The whole morning was extremely sad and thought provoking.
This year my first week of recess will be spent in Sierra Leone as a volunteer with the international development charity VSO. The VSO is an international development charity that uses volunteers to meet its goals. The average age of volunteers is now 38, and most come from skilled and professional backgrounds - the aim is to provide volunteers who can pass on vital skills and expertise to allow long-term development in the host countries.
Sierra Leone was ravaged by a civil war between 1991 and 2000, and there is still a lot of work to be done to rebuild the country in the aftermath of this. I will be working at the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights helping locals improve their para legal and advocacy work, which is vital to the re-development of civil society in the country.
As part of my preparations for the visit I have had a number of meetings and briefing sessions with VSO and experts to fully prepare myself for the visit and to ensure that the maximum is gained from the visit. You can see a photo of me with the other participants in this summer's programme HERE.
I recently hosted a reception for South Thames College in the House of Commons (click HERE to see more details of this). Last week I visited the College in Tooting Broadway to hand out certificates to all those students who had successfully completed various ESOL and carers course at the College. The morning was a huge success with hundreds of proud parents, husbands (all but one graduate was a woman!) and children expressing real pride in the achievements of their family member. One of the biggest challenges we have as a society is raising the skills base of the general population and potential employees. South Thames does a great job in giving women a real chance to improve their own life chances as well as their families by the wide choice of access and more advanced courses offered. You can click HERE to see a picture from the event.
The weekends in Tooting, in Summer, are always fun filled. This weekend we had fairs or fetes in at least four local primary schools; Eardley, Fransiscan, Sellincourt and Fircroft. I spent most of my time at Fircroft School with my children and had a great day.
I then joined the "Inter faith walk" through Balham and Tooting. This had begun at 10am and lasted until 630pm with upto 100 local residents visiting Hindu temples, Sikh Khalsa Centres, Muslim mosques and Christian Churches in and around Tooting. The highlight for me was the Q and A at St Peter’s Church in Beechcroft Road.
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