Jacari’s Alumni Engagement Officer, Natasha Wooldridge, writes about the student charity’s work as it approaches its 65th anniversary and asks former volunteers to reconnect.
Were you involved with student charity Jacari?
Jacari is an award-winning charity which recruits and trains students from Oxford Brookes and the University of Oxford to tutor local school children who have English as an additional language, helping them improve their English and building their confidence. As Jacari approaches their 65th anniversary, they are searching for Oxford Brookes alumni who were involved as a tutor or committee member.
Since the 1950s, thousands of students in Oxford have been actively involved with Jacari, campaigning for equal opportunities and empowering children to speak English with confidence. While Jacari was originally founded as a student society at the University of Oxford to tackle racial discrimination, it soon expanded to becoming a joint endeavour with Oxford Brookes (then Polytechnic) with students from both universities volunteering to tutor children.
Currently, Jacari volunteers are tutoring over 100 children from 10 Oxford schools. Most of the children live in East Oxford and usually students would tutor them in their homes, however due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they are currently providing remote tuition with online lessons, phone calls and letter writing. These children have been disproportionately affected by lockdowns and school closures as many don’t have online devices at home and can’t access online lessons. The regular contact they have with their Jacari tutor is more important than ever in reducing social isolation and helping to get them back on track with their education.
Maddie Robertson is a 3rd year student at Oxford Brookes and has been volunteering as a tutor with Jacari for 18 months. She’s also on Jacari Oxford’s Student Committee as a Teaching Officer. She told us:
I decided to volunteer with Jacari because the committee was friendly and welcoming. I knew that this was the environment I wanted to be a part of. Quickly I became a volunteer and my experience was very enjoyable, especially at Christmas where my pupils and I enjoyed festive-themed lessons. Now I am a Teaching Officer and I train new volunteers so they are confident and ready to teach. Jacari’s work is so important because it removes barriers to learning for EAL children and offers a fun at-home experience. It is now especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic to offer children extra support with their learning.
Please get in touch with Jacari’s Alumni Engagement Officer, Natasha Wooldridge, if you were involved with Jacari and would like to reconnect with the charity.
Find out more about Jacari’s work: www.jacari.org