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NEWS > Alumnae Profiles > Fiona Tan is Passionate About Making a Difference

Fiona Tan is Passionate About Making a Difference

Fiona Tan left LEH in 2012 and went on to study Biomedical Sciences at Kings College London, before undertaking a Masters at UCL. She now works as a Campaigner at Save The Children.

I really got into volunteering while I was at LEH. There were many opportunities to get involved and LEH really fostered that passion to make a difference and give back. In the local community, LEH provided me with the opportunity to mentor students at Hampton High and create a lunchtime arts club at Crane Park Primary School. I was also a member of the Amnesty Club and the Oxfam Youth Group at LEH.  In addition, I was a huge part of the club that worked with the link school in Uganda. This meant I had a chance to go out there to Jinja and meet all the lovely girls.

At school I always had a sense that I wanted to help people and I originally wanted to be a Dr and study medicine at University, but at one of the graduation ceremonies at LEH, a teacher told me that she thought I’d do well working in the voluntary sector and it really got me thinking. 

After I left school, I was able to volunteer on a development project in an orphanage in Cambodia.  I was 18 and eager to be hands-on.  The people there were truly amazing and had a positive energy and great ambition.  They were very inspiring to be around. However, it also made me realise that I had not been able to see the full story and that actually the best way to create real change was at policy level. Doing my Masters at UCL in Global Health and Development helped me see that I wanted to work in the NGO space and most specifically in the area of international development.

I worked for a while as an intern at Cancer Research UK, and while I obviously cared about the cause, it wasn’t quite the right area for me.  I was much more excited by my role at Global Citizen, which is a global movement that campaigns to end extreme poverty.  International development and the humanitarian sector really speaks to me. I am very motivated by the human rights element and the possibility of helping people all over the world, people who are the most vulnerable in society. They face their difficulties through no fault of their own but simply due to the geographical luck of the draw and they are put in a situation they don’t deserve.

I now work as a campaigner for Save the Children with a special focus on communities mobilisation, which includes managing a network of campaign volunteers.  We have nearly 200 volunteers, encouraging them to contact their MPs, lobby Parliament, and hold events to raise awareness and make change on issues we campaign on. As a Child Rights organisation, Save the Children campaigns to protect children in conflict, ensure no child is left behind with a focus on achieving the SDGs, and ensures affordable routes of childcare for parents in the UK. 

Our volunteers are incredibly vital in helping to raise the profile of the issues we campaign on and bring about real change. I’m currently working on influencing the UK government to use their power to help bring peace to the conflict in Yemen and to bring justice to Rohingya children who are currently in the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. Our volunteers are a truly inspiring group of people who come from all walks of life, but come together in solidarity for Child Rights.

When campaigns are successful, our work can change the lives of millions of people forever and that is incredibly rewarding. For example, last year our campaign on Yemen influenced the Court of Appeal to find the UK's weapons sales to Saudi Arabia to be 'unlawful'.  And I was very pleased by the recent decision by judges at the International Criminal Court who authorised the opening of an investigation into the crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya in 2017. This is a major step forward on the path to justice and shine a spotlight into the huge injustices they have faced.

I am paid to do my job, but working with volunteers who support us in their spare time simply because they are motivated to make a difference, is inspiring.  Change take a long time, it takes years and years to see real change, so to hear their passion and conviction keeps me going and makes it all worthwhile.

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