ISSUE 15, October 2005
Editorial
Historic: Nelson and Freemasonry
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's Speech
Grand Lodge: Quarterly Communication
Hurricane Katrina: Grand Charity Relief Chest
Royal Arch: John Knight
Masonic Embroidery: A stitch in time...
Travel: Walzing along the Danube
Specialist Lodges: Martial arts
Library & Museum: The two Freemasons' Halls
    Anniversary: Jersey's Liberation
Anniversary: Dorset's 225 years
Obituaries: Lord Swansea OSM
Pro Grand Master: Whither directing our course?
Charmian Hussey: A Mason's wife on Masonry
International: The Grand Lodge of Israel
Education: Sheffield's big plans
Education: Forthcoming events
Education: The Second Degree
Masonic Charities
Letters, Book Reviews, Gardening

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Harriet (far right) and other members of the team, seen unpacking vital provisions for the school children in Ethiopia

Travel broadens the mind

In the last 12 months the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB) has awarded 119 travel grants to beneficiaries. These were in addition to their regular maintenance grants.
     Many travel grants are given to enable beneficiaries to go on school trips. Gone are the days of school outings to Blackpool or Bognor. Today’s schoolchildren are more likely to go to the battlefields of France or even on a rugby tour in South Africa.
     The cost of the trips can be substantial. Parents do not want their children to miss out on the opportunity, especially if most of their friends are going, but participating would not be possible in many cases without additional help from the Trust.
     Students also have wider opportunities for travel. It is not unusual for them to spend a gap year working with disadvantaged children in Uganda or trekking across the less hospitable tracts of South America.
     Increasingly, such trips, whether for schoolchildren or students, have become the norm and there is no denying the benefits they bring – experiencing different cultures and religions, understanding the incredible diversity that makes up the global village, seeing famous places previously only photos in a guide book, learning self-sufficiency and developing self-confidence.
     Some of the Trust’s subsidiary charities also make travel grants to Masonic children and young people, not all of whom have to be full beneficiaries of the Trust. The Empire Lodge Centenary Travelling Fellowship and the Prince of Wales’s Lodge Bicentenary Fund award travel grants to young men and women in their final year at school.
     The Globe Lodge 275th Anniversary Fund encourages students to study abroad, Croydon Lodge of Endeavour Travelling Fellowship promotes general foreign travel and, as one might expect, the Canada Lodge Travelling Fellowship gives grants for travel to Canada.
     All the Trust’s travel grants, whether to existing beneficiaries or not, are meanstested in the sense that each family has to demonstrate that it is unable to meet the cost from its own resources. Older children and young people in particular are expected to show personal commitment to their trip by raising some of the money themselves – the Trust rarely pays the full cost.
     Additionally, the Trust likes to see that a project has real educational value, but this can sometimes be hard to assess – especially since EuroDisney established its own education centre!
     Harriet was a recent recipient of a subsidiary fund grant. She is a senior pupil in a secondary school in Derby. In July this year she joined 12 other pupils and two teachers on a highly successful trip to Ethiopia.
     Harriet’s arrival in Ethiopia was not quite what she expected. It was two o’clock in the morning, dark, cold and pouring with rain. But this was entirely outweighed by the warm welcome they received next day from St Matthew’s Church in Addis Ababa and from the children in the church’s school.
     During her fortnight at St Matthew’s, Harriet taught maths, science, English, art, drama and music to the children. They especially enjoyed the drama and music lessons. The image of young Ethiopian children singing ring-a-ring-a-roses and dancing the conga is hard to dispel from the mind.
     In her time off from teaching, Harriet visited an Orthodox Church and a hospital run by Mother Theresa’s Sisters of Charity, joined a local family in their home and travelled through the stunning Ethiopian countryside.
     Harriet’s verdict?
     She said: “It was a fantastic trip which neither I nor the other members of the team will ever forget”.


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