College student working in remote primary school in Guyana

The Mason Trust has helped an enterprising Reepham College student fulfil his dream of spending a year volunteering by providing a grant to assist him with travel costs to Guyana.

Dex Scarlett at the primary school in Kato, Guyana


Dex Scarlett became captivated with the possibility of spending a year living and working overseas after a returning volunteer with Project Trust came to talk to the students of the College.

Project Trust is an organisation that arranges long-term voluntary placements for young people in Africa, Asia and Latin America. “I was fascinated by the experiences she had undergone,” he said, “and I made the decision to investigate further.”

The selection process for Project Trust was rigorous: Dex spent several days at its home on the Hebridean Isle of Coll with other applicants, undertaking a series of tasks to determine their strengths.

This was followed by discussion about the different projects available to them, and having passed this stage, they were given training in basic teaching techniques and useful educational activities.

He was finally allocated a teaching project in the interior of Guyana, where he is currently working in Kato in one of the South American country’s remotest primary schools.

Dex is teaching Grade 5 pupils aged 9/10 years for a year in a very different environment to the one he was used to: a two-roomed school, with each room further divided by blackboards to accommodate the various grades. The children were each given a pencil, rubber and their books; textbooks had to be shared, sometimes between four.

“In a way, the lack of facilities forced me to be more creative, and could make lessons more interesting for both me and the pupils,” Dex commented.

“I wouldn’t have missed this amazing opportunity for the world and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it anyone else. I would like to thank the Mason Trust for the travel grant which made my dream that much more achievable.”

Mason Trust founder Yvonne Mason said: “Project Trust’s challenging volunteering placements abroad allow young people to learn about themselves and develop a range of skills, which fits in nicely with the ethos of The Mason Trust. We were delighted that we were able to help Dex with his aspirational project.”

The charitable organisation was set up in 2008 by Mrs Mason, a successful businesswoman with more than 25 years’ experience in the marine industry.

“The express aim of the Trust is to help young people between the ages of 12 and 25 living in Norfolk and Suffolk, to reach their full potential,” she explains. “The Trust works with schools and places of further education to forge stronger links between education and industry, to give students the widest choice when deciding on a career.”

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