#changeyourworld: Who’s having tea with the UN?

A massive thank you to everyone who entered our #changeyourworld Tea with the UN photo competition, which closed on Friday. We were completely overwhelmed with the quality of your entries – it has been great to read about the incredible projects you’ve been involved in!

The photos were considered by a panel of judges from SOAS, made up of:
– Co-President Activities & Events, Adwoa Darko
– Co-President Welfare & Campaigns, Ayeaha Abbasi
– Head of SOAS Careers Service, Philippa Hewett.

The judges were all awed at the quality of photos presented. Speaking about the competition, Philippa Hewett said: “It never ceases to amaze me that we are lucky enough to have students who care so much about the world and do such fantastic voluntary work. In my view everybody was a winner, and so I’d like to encourage you to continue sharing your images with us via Facebook or Twitter so we can keep showing how SOAS students really do change the world!”.

As it was such a hard decision to make and as the judges were so impressed with the entries, the Careers Service has decided to professionally print and frame all the runner up photos to display in around the Careers Service in SL57 and the Careers Learning Space beside it.

After careful deliberation, the judges selected this image as the winner:


Zipporah’s photo was taken while working for the Goodwill Foundation in central Bangkok. As, for the most part, funding came from only those who had been directly affected by the charity, Zipporah decided to write a few articles highlighting the need to give. Thanks to these pieces, there was an increase not only in donations, but also in others looking to volunteer. This photograph speaks to the giving and charitable nature of the Thai people, who incorporate daily acts of giving, in a scale that Zipporah found truly awe-inspiring.

The winner will join John Ericson, Chief of the Outreach Unit in the Office of Human Resources Management of the United Nations Secretariat in New York in the Careers Service for a reception after his talk at SOAS on Wednesday 16 November.

Keep an eye out for all the amazing runner-up photos, which will be on display around the Careers Service soon and make sure you register your place for the talk by clicking here.

The Runner Ups:


This photo was taken in the Nkomazi region of South Africa, while working for non-profit Imagine Scholar, and leading a Bollywood dance workshop. 


As a member of the Lions Club volunteer organization in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, this student visited orphanages & juveniles centres every month to donate food, clothing and books to the kids.


Taken in the South Sudan, this photo is of some of the students and teachers from Kuda Primary School. Working for The Long Well Walk, this student ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise support for a construction projection in the area to develop community-led water and sanitation projects in sub-Saharan Africa. As a direct result, 400 students, teachers and members of the community now have access to safe, clean, easily accessible water.


This entry is of the student arriving in Tangier, Morocco, having cycled from the SOAS Dinwiddy Halls in London through the UK, France, Spain and Morocco in June (2500km) to raise money for Refugee Council and other charities.


The Founder and President of a committee for LGBT+ trainees in the European Commission took this photo at Brussels Pride 2016. Supporting an initiative to create a safe, fun, and educational environment for trainees with any sexual orientation and gender identity from across Europe, this initiative resulted in seminars and social activities taking place throughout spring and summer 2016. This ranged from the Brussels Pride march to a successful love bombing campaign targeting the College of Commissioners.


This photo was taken during a visit to the Democratic republic of Congo as part of the student’s reign as ‘Miss Congo UK’. During the trip, she became aware that there was a campsite in which hundreds of refugees from Brazzaville were living in located by the city. The student contacted the ‘Miss Congo UK’ management team back in the UK to explain the situation, and over the course of the next few days helped to raise funds to purchase food, nappies, toys and milk to donate to the refugees.



Taken in Sierra Leone, this is of the sanitation drying area outside the Ebola treatment centres red zone. The student was working on an accountancy project based here – not your usual life as an accountant!


This was taken as part of ongoing community development workshops that the student started in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The ongoing weekly workshops focus on community development, critical thinking and encouraging equality through the medium of various forms of creative expression (street art, alternative music and creative writing). In the foreground this image depicts Khmer orphans, aged 7-10, learning how to create stencils, while the older members practice spoken word poetry in the background. The workshops utilise creative expression to encourage community development in a country where women are often seen as second-class citizens, and creative expression is stifled. 


This picture is of a demonstration, protesting against the government’s plans of privatising waste management services in the city of Pune, India. The student spent 3 years working with a trade union of Dalit ragpickers (garbage pickers). The women are all waste pickers from Pune, belonging to the Mahar and Matang sub castes.

ruwayda-shariffThis student changed a person’s life by buying these Eco-tourism products from family industry every day while in East Africa. The lady pictured asked that the student spread the word of her small-scale business to the ‘Western world’, which the student did via social media.



This entry was taken in Ecuador, following the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake this April, which left hundreds dead thousands more injured. One of the major services effected were schools, and local children had their term start dates delay to allow for emergency schools to be built. To make sure they did not miss out on International Day of Children, the student and a group of friends initiated a campaign, and garnered support from wider society – including lots of mothers and private enterprises. Together they were able to ensure that the Day was celebrated in Pedernales and Muisne, two of the most devastated towns in Ecuador.


Over the last ten years, this student has taken a group of sixth form students on an annual school trip to Uganda and Rwanda. The purpose of this trip is to promote an educational and cultural exchange between the groups of students. The photo shows one of the sixth formers about to meet pupils at one of the schools in Uganda. He was so influenced by the whole experience that he is going again next year, leading sessions with prospective new students to encourage them to go as well. The sixth former will never forget this trip and, perhaps, he will go one better than me by not only studying African politics in the future but influencing it too.


This photo was taken in Kenya, where this student started a group at the age of 12 called “Fab 15” to raise money for those less fortunate. The group focused their support on an orphanage in one of Nairobi’s worst slums. To raise funds for Christmas, the group ran a “Fill-A-Bucket” campaign, where they successfully filled 50+ buckets and raised over 15,000 Kenya shillings. This year, the team aim to fill 100 buckets for the same orphanage, and launch a mentorship program. While the student has started by helping people and empowering them in this village, they’re keen to go further – Kenya, Africa and the rest of the world.


This entry was taken in rural Malawi. The student has been running The Miambe Project for the past 2 years, working on sustainable building and education. This includes constructing buildings made with earth bags, and running distance learning initiatives including an online university programme to support local farmers.  

Alexis Fromageot


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