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I want to work hard and make the world a better place

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I want to work hard and make the world a better place

Thursday 24 June 2021

Alice Barker graduated in film and screenwriting from Sheffield Hallam in 2017 and is now an online brand ambassador for the Naankuse Foundation. The Foundation is a conservation charity dedicated to preserving the landscapes, cultures and wildlife in Namibia. It also supports the local native people, the San, who live in a rural community in Epukiro, a village about two hours away from the Naankuse Lodge in Windhoek.

Alice says: "Working with the Naankuse Foundation has been one of the best times of my life. There’s something really profound about the work we do, because we simply want to help the cultures and creatures we protect thrive, and that’s it. People have asked me why I don’t volunteer for a UK sanctuary; the truth is that, while there are many species in the UK that do need help to survive, there’s also something really primal about seeing a cheetah kick up desert dust, a scorching sun baking an arid landscape and the beatific smile of a San child. Africa is widely regarded as the cradle of humanity, and I think that having knowledge of that landscape is key to truly understanding things like the human impact on the planet, because ultimately, that’s where we all came from.

"My role as a brand ambassador means that I get to share this amazing, wonderful work with other organisations by telling them our story and seeing if they would be interested in collaborating with us. I also sometimes help out with designing promotional literature and coming up with ideas, and I have a fortnightly blog on Naankuse’s Facebook page, called Wheels in the Wild."

Through the Foundation’s Lifeline Clinic, Alice met Anaki a 17-year-old girl from the San tribe who, like Alice, is living with cerebral palsy. The Clinic has been supporting the impoverished San communities of Namibia’s rural east since 2003. Marginalised and fighting for survival, the San teeter on the edge of society. The Lifeline Clinic provides free medical treatment, nutritious meals and essential care. It was here that Anaki received her diagnosis of cerebral palsy as a child.

Life is hard on Anaki and until very recently, she and her grandmother were living under a tree, with no shelter of any kind. Thanks to fundraising efforts in December 2020, Naankuse volunteers were able to build Anaki and her grandmother a new home.

Inspired by the work of the Foundation and her bond with Anaki, Alice has launched a GoFundMe page to help build a house for Anaki’s mother who suffers from schizophrenia and is currently living away from her family. She hopes reuniting the family will enable them to live a peaceful and happy life together.

We are warmed by Alice’s work and her belief that ‘you have to be the change you want to see in the world.’

"Studying at Hallam helped me see that there’s a big wide world beyond my West Yorkshire village. Being in a bustling, vibrant city was a completely different environment to my home in the country, and I had the realisation that, in reality, the world is fast and busy, and in order for people to take notice of you, you have to stand out from the crowd and implement a change so monumental they simply can’t ignore it, or you." Alice said.

We continue to be inspired everyday by the difference our alumni community are making around the world and Alice’s work is a fantastic example of this.

If you would like to share your story with us and the alumni community, please contact: alumni@shu.ac.uk

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