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PROJECT TRUST - anyones DC involved with them? Gap year worries !

(20 Posts)
snigger Fri 24-Oct-08 11:28:23

DSD has decided to embark upon a gap year, and has signed up with Project Trust.

There is a parent forum on the site itself, but to be honest, there doesn't seem to be a lot of activity on it, and I wondered if anyone here has any direct experience of Project Trust?

Mainly concerned with how well supported DSD will be once overseas, but any info would help.

snigger Fri 24-Oct-08 15:46:00


snigger Fri 24-Oct-08 19:54:14

....starting to think they are actual cowboys then.....

snigger Fri 24-Oct-08 21:04:40

One last bump, just in case.....

FAQ Fri 24-Oct-08 21:08:38

ok - I went to Zimbabwe with them in 1997. (so things could have changed a lot since then).

The before support was fantastic, and tbh I think I was just unlucky with the support I received while over there (not helped by the girl I was sent to my project with who was a lying, deceiving bitch and convinced the rep over there that the project we were based at were bullying bastards - they weren't it was a fabulous place to work.........if you didn't turn up to teach a class of 30+ boys music while still under the influence of drugs and alcohol....or even not turn up at all). I took "sides" with the project I was based at and it did rather get PT's back up.

The other 23 volunteers that went to the same country as me had no complaints at all (and admittedly I did tell 'em to get stuffed 6 months into my stay as I'd already decided to extend my visa myself and stay on in the country blush).

snigger Fri 24-Oct-08 21:20:20

Thanks, FAQ, at least their continued existence for that length of time is somewhat mollifying...

Having harangued the poor lass to expand her horizons and be independent, we're now a little hesitant to start undermining her trust in her gap year of choice, but a bit more info is always helpful.

Did you have to do the prep week on Coll in '97?

FAQ Fri 24-Oct-08 21:24:58

yes the selection (which was pretty thorough) and the pre-training on Coll was really good. The training was held just with other volunteers going to the same country/area (it was SA and Zimbabwe on that week) so not only did we get to know our partener but also other volunteers that would be in the same country as us.

It was a lot of money to raise, and despite the fact my parents were able to put precisely £0 towards it (they were really struggling financially) I managed to raise the full amount. However at that time (might be different now?) it was by far the longest length of time offered abroad - most of the others only offered 3-6 months - often for more /the same money!

snigger Fri 24-Oct-08 21:37:33

I suppose my problem is, the whole exercise is supposed to be about increased independence and self-sufficiency, but we still want to be there holding her hand!

I'm glad to hear the preparatory training was thorough - I'm going to post on their actual forum for more info, but as I said, there seems to be precious little recent input there.

Do you feel your year with the children was worthwhile?

<God, what a dumb question grin>

FAQ Fri 24-Oct-08 21:41:17

oh I loved my 2 1/2yrs out there (yes after the incident(s) with my partner turning up drunk to lessons, and claiming "victimisation" pmsl, she was moved to another project, I was asked if I wanted to move somewhere as there was no other volunteer to send to me with them.......I then told 'em to get stuffed - so I could concentrate on getting my visa sorted to extend my stay grin

I met my (now ex) H out there at the start of my 2nd year, and I have 3 wonderful 1/2 Zimbabwean children as a result grin

(oh did I mention that after 2 1/2yrs out there I came back married and 4 months pg wink).

I can honestly say that my time out there were the best times of my life. The travelling I got to do, the people I met, the children I worked with, having a chance to be "independant" was simply amazing.

snigger Fri 24-Oct-08 22:08:13

<<rocking back and forth whilst gently sobbing at the 'I came back 2 years later, pregnant' - DH's ex wanted DSD to leave school and do an apprenticeship, if anything I suggested leads to pregnancy I really will be Evil Step Mother grin>>

2 1/2 years, settling far from home, alone - I really hope DSD gains enough from the experience to allow her to make such brave choices, it's all we want for her.

Thank you so much, I just needed some reassurance they were a legitimate company and that she'll be safe smile
- if she ever finds out about this post I'll be castigated for the controlling witch I really am grin

FAQ Fri 24-Oct-08 22:13:52

well actually there were 2 of us that year in Zimbabwe (don't know about any other countries) that met "someone" - another girl brought her man back to the UK and married about 2yrs later here (have no idea if they're still together).

I had my University place sat ready and waiting for me - but realised not very far into my first year that actually I had no interest in my degree I'd chosen, didn't really know what I wanted to do.....then I met exH and decided to get married and start a family.

I start my degree with the OU in February next year grin (in a totally different subject to what I was going to do)

I would have stayed out their with my exH if things hadn't started to deteriorate rapidly in my 2nd year out there (PT stopped the projects to Zimbabwe at the end of '97 volunteers returning home due to the political situation- which at that point wasn't even that bad - obviously now it's terrible).

Was in incredible year (2 1/2yrs??) and it was good to have something "solid" (ie a project) that I was based at to give me focus - rather than just travelling (although I did plenty of that too grin.

snigger Fri 24-Oct-08 22:26:38

Do you know, this is just what I needed to hear?

DSD is in the midst of applying for a place on a Midwifery course, and, from the outside, I would have said it's close to, but not perhaps her ideal, career choice.

She was set on starting her course and taking a gap year mid-way through the course, but DH and I felt if she was going to do something that was likely to broaden her horizons and allow her to know her own mind better, this would be better done before embarking on her course.

I really hope she does this, enjoys it, and makes her choices based on her new experiences.

Thanks for the experiences - funnily enough, I'm thinking of starting OU this year too, after years of putting it off! Hope it goes well for you!

FAQ Fri 24-Oct-08 22:38:44

I must say even though my marriage fell to pieces and we split 8yrs after marrying (9yrs together) I'm glad I made the choice I did. I just know that had I started my course in Edinburgh I would have dropped out as I had no interest in it at all.

It's funny as the last few years as I've started to consider starting my "further education" I've been umming and aahing over what route to take.

Initially I was involved in 2 projects out there (split my time between them) - one of them was a school/home/hospital for children with disabilities (there was no integration into mainstream education for them) . I really enjoyed the work there, and something inside me stirred with the inequality that they was shown towards them. Sadly the involvement with that project was cut short (because of my partner.......god there's always one bad egg gets through these things isn't there - sods law I ended up with her lol).

However several years later (after having DS2) I found myself doing work as a Care Assistant - the work was "ok" but I wasn't happy there at all and after I left I vowed never to go back into any kind of care work. Then I had DS3 and my marriage fell apart.

Since then (March this year) I've been looking at the OU website to try and decide where I want to go - went round in circles and eventually opted for the BA in Health and Social Care.

Some of the courses in Level 2 and 3 go into the Social side of things - with inequality etc quite prominent. I get quite "passionate" on MN threads about racism/immigration/inequality etc, and have realised that actually this is the line of work I'd love to end up in once DS3 is at school.

And to think those early passions were sparked by my time abroad.......

Hadassah Fri 24-Oct-08 22:45:42

Also in 1997, a girl who had done a gap year with Project Trust came to talk to the 6th form at my (then) school. She'd had a very good experience (somewhere in South Asia IIRC) and was convinved that it helped her get into medical school.

FAQ Fri 24-Oct-08 22:45:58

sorry waffling slight there in my last post, and it's rather random as I just wrote it as it came into my head blush

I think what I'm tryng to say is that I had passions stirred in me 10yrs ago while abroad that are now impacting on my future career choice......

snigger Sat 25-Oct-08 23:28:41

Thanks for all the info FAQ - just read your very moving Zimbabwe thread - passed the article to DH to read, he was raised in SA till he was 13 - very very sad, must be terrible for you with such roots there.

<<FYI - DSD is here tonight, and after my relating the gist of your posts has been dancing round DH taunting him with the possibility of her going away and staying away .... with a BOY..... your name is mud grin>>

FAQ Sat 25-Oct-08 23:35:23

lol - well my partner was a girl (think they only send same sex partners) .......but there were plenty of boys to meet out there wink

Yes is terribly sad what's happening there - I was there on "Black Friday" which was the start of the economic downturn when the markets crashed on the Z$ lost 75% of it's value in the space of a few hours. Infact I was out there for the last of the good times, until a few months before the 2000 elections - when packing up all exH's stuff a few months ago I found a newspaper we'd bought a few days before we left.

We'd bought it because on the front page was the news of a white farmer that had been brutally murdered - it was so shocking it was front page news - we just couldn't believe that it had happened.

Little did we realise that it was only the start and in the months/years after we left it would go the way it is now. Barely months after we left stories of white farmers being murdered, and MDC supporters being beaten/killed were so common place that it was a miracle if they even had a short paragraph somewhere in the depths of the paper sad

snigger Sat 25-Oct-08 23:47:51

DH also feels the worst betrayal is that these actions by so few help to support entrenched attitudes regarding custodianship of Africa - it makes an easy headlining argument for the wrong kind of people to catch hold of, and the true perpatrator will swan off with his diverted wealth at some point and live in amoral luxury.

I hope you achieve your dream of taking dc's back 'home', and under happier circumstances.

FAQ Sat 25-Oct-08 23:54:18

thanks snigger - I have hope that by the time I've raised the money for the airfare (was about £3000 when exH and I flew out 2yrs ago with just 2 DS' lots and lots and lots of saving to do first - going to take me years) that things will be stable enough for me to go with them.

DS1 was almost 6 when we went for those 3 weeks, so remembers quite a bit, DS2 was only 2 3/4yrs so doesn't remember much - and obviously DS3 has never been.

Would be lovely to take them back one day to show them somewhere that was such a huge part of my life - I feel like it's "in my blood" now. I could take them to SA, show them Cape Town, the Garden Route etc that I also visted......but it wouldn't be the same without being able to cross the border and show them parts of Zimbabwe that mean so much to me - and to visit some of exH's family. 95% of their family on exH's side still live out there.

eilidhhmac Wed 21-Jan-15 08:55:56

My child had an awful experience with project trust.
The older of my two signed up for selection last November.
She was not accepted for the dull course and they called me telling me that the reason was due to their concern over her eating. They told me she barely ate and went to the bathroom a lot. They told me that they called the school and a girl in her year ( who she has recently fallen out with) told the school she had problems.
Obviously I freaked out. I took my daughter to two doctors and they told me despite her being very slim she was a healthy weight and there were no signs of throwing up. I then asked her to write down everything she ate and asked her about the toilet thing. She was eating her three meals plus the occasional snack so I was very confused. Whenever we are put she always needs the toilet and is always drinking water so this didn't concern me. Especially when she noted that the group were required to tidy up the dinner hall for about 10 minutes after every meal and so she couldn't have thrown up it would have been too late. Finally she said that the host that she stayed with told her and her partner that she herself bad suffered from an eating disorder, so may have had some input.
I have arranged a meeting with the school and am furious that they took the word of a teenage girl who was clearly acting out of spite or jealousy. Which has resulted in a negative impact on her future. Imagine that were to affect university!
I called project trust and they were hugely unrepenting when I assured them that everything was fine. They however then retracted the statement about the eating disorder and blamed it on the fact that she was vegan and would be very hard to place. I asked her about this and she said that she told the staff in interviews that she was completely flexible, she was obviously not about to go into an impoverished community and refuse the only food they had. Also she noted that during her time she ate apple crumble which had butter in it and the man on the phone replied "apple crumble- big deal". I was appalled and rather hurt on her behalf. The company seems very odd, very elitist and somewhat corrupt.
My daughter is now fundraising for a different company and it is almost half the price! I think there are many scam companies, many offbeat companies and then a few good ones. I think it is important that these experiences be shared in order to tell the difference.

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