I have always had a desire to be involved in international aid work and being at UWC made me aware that I needed some practical skills to be of any use in this field
Rosie Spooner from the UK attended Mahindra UWC of India from 2001 to 2003. She currently lives in London where she is studying for a Medical Degree at St. George’s University of London.
Since 2004, Rosie has been involved with running her University society, Student Action for Refugees, an organisation which aims to support vulnerable refugees in the local South London area. Since she began working with StAR they have developed a weekly children’s afterschool club, established links with social workers, gained funding and volunteer support. The organisation now run trips, holidays and mentoring projects for over 60 families and support 120 children. Rosie’s roles within the StAR committee have ranged from volunteer to advocacy coordinator. In 2008 she was awarded a Student Union prize in recognition of her commitment and in 2009 received the Lord Mayor's Dragon Award for Volunteer of the Year. Her involvement with StAR has challenged her to think creatively about the complex determinant of health.
In addition Rosie has fundraised for the Ashraya Initiative for Children – an organisation started by one of her UWC contemporaries in Pune, India, and Food Chain – an organisation which takes nutritious food to people with HIV in London.
“It is impossible to say how my life might have turned out if I had not been to a UWC! I know that I did not want to study medicine beforehand. Perhaps it was India which helped me to decide that the medical profession was the one for me. I have always had a desire to be involved in international aid work and being at UWC made me aware that I needed some practical skills to be of any use in this field. Inside medicine there are many career paths to be taken and I think UWC has influenced my decision to aim for a career in global health.
“I feel that UWC effectively gave me a global social consciousness. I hope I would have achieved this despite a UWC education but I’m sure the UWC helped. In my everyday life it makes me think of how my actions impact on the lives of others and theirs on mine. I don’t believe I would be half as politically (and otherwise) opinionated if I hadn’t had to question and examine and then re-examine all of my opinions and assumptions as a 17 year old.”
One of Rosie’s favourite UWC memories is the Indian festival of Holi.
“Imagine 200 students on top of a hill, sunshine a lot of brightly colour paints and a football field. I still have the images painted in my mind of all of us plastered with colours and mud. Pink, purple, orange, green, blue, violet. We even got the headmaster (and his dog) involved. Weeks later the some Scandinavians still had dye in their hair. This was a great day of happiness and complete loss of inhibitions.”