Recently a team of four students from Pitlochry High School entered the Youth Philanthropy Initiative in a bid to win funding for our Scottish based Imbewu programme. Rebecca, Mati, Oliver and Dan worked together for over 6 weeks putting together a presentation about why they thought Imbewu was an important programme, the impact it has on young people in Scotland and how the money would be used if they won.

Rebecca took part in Imbewu in May 2018 on the Glenlivet Estate. Imbewu Scotland is an intergenerational 7-day programme for young people aged 13 -17 years, who display an interest in the environment and/or working in rural employment or the environmental field, are targeted to take part. The project provides nature-based experiences that focus on personal development and offer leadership and skills-based learning opportunities within wild, rural areas. At the heart of the programme there is a three-day wilderness journey and wild camping on rural estates, led by wilderness guides and personal development facilitators. During the journey, participants explore the area, camp in remote locations and use the time to learn about the landscape and its wildlife and flora, alongside embedding a love for spending time in nature. Throughout the rest of the week the participants spend time on the rural estates, meeting and working alongside staff, volunteering and learning about rural heritage, conservation practice, estate management and sustainable land management. In the course of the programme, participants earn the John Muir Award and Leave No Trace accreditation. Alongside the formal accreditation the young people also develop numerous skills including leadership, communication, management of groups, presentation, working as part of a diverse team, resilience, growth in their confidence along with a more in depth understanding of the rural employment sector.

Rebecca described how her imbewu experience had a huge impact on her, in particular it boosted her confidence and she wanted to ensure other people had the chance to take part and have an opportunity to do the programme. Her friends and classmates, Dan, Oliver and Mati saw how much imbewu had impacted Rebecca and how it could benefit others, leading to them making a decision to choose the project.

I spoke to Rebecca and her team to find out more about the presentation and how they felt about winning. They all felt that taking part in the initiative had led to them developing their teamwork skills; they had grown in confidence and developed skills such as public speaking and communication. They spent over 50 hours working on the project over a period of 6 weeks.

The team wanted to create a memorable presentation, which would really depict the imbewu experience. Over the 6 weeks they interviewed many other students from their school who had taken part in imbewu. They made an animation and videos of other young people’s experiences. On the night itself they set the stage with a tent, a ‘pretend’ fire, couches, sleeping bags and tried to portray a little of what it felt like to be away on imbewu.

On the evening itself the team described feeling very nervous, there was over 100 people in the room and a panel of six judges. Along with five other teams they were competing against. Two of the group shared how English wasn’t their first language which made it all more the nerve wracking.

When the group found out they had won, they highlighted a whole host of emotions from feeling joyous, proud and excited to be able to tell us all at the foundation of what they had achieved. They were pleased that all their hard work had paid off and happy to be able to give something back.

I asked the team what they would say to anyone thinking about taking part in imbewu…

“It is a really good experience – everyone should do it, you will make lots of new friends and develop your confidence”

A big THANKYOU from all of us at the foundation to Rebecca, Mati, Dan and Oliver for the hard work they put into the Youth Philanthropy Initiative and for showing that if you work hard you can achieve anything! We are really pleased that the money they have raised will enable us to deliver an Imbewu in the autumn back at the Glenlivet Estate for more young people in Scotland.

Interested in finding out more about Imbewu then please get in touch