Volunteer work paves pathway to new career

Few graduating teachers can tell their students they used to have a giraffe in the back yard.

University of Waikato graduate Amondi Ouku-Mowbray is looking forward to sharing her story and teaching children about difference and different cultures.

Originally from Kenya, Amondi graduates with a Bachelor of Teaching in early childhood education at Hamilton's Founders Theatre on May 1.

As well as studying, Amondi has been working with children since she came to New Zealand in 2006.

She has been a volunteer for GirlGuiding New Zealand as a Pippin leader in Cambridge, taught preschool children at Country Creche in Matangi and has worked with Congolese and Somali refugee families in Hamilton.

"When I came to New Zealand from Africa I began doing social work and working with kids and saw I could contribute more when working with children.

"The volunteer work enabled me to interact a lot with Kiwi children and their parents which has been a big plus for me in learning about my new country.

I bring my story from Africa, like how back home I had a giraffe that would come to the back of my property and eat the leaves off the trees.

"I've found when you want to impact change it's best to start with children. Children are so naturally inquisitive, aren't as inhibited as adults and have such a thirst for information."

It was through volunteer work that Amondi decided to study early childhood education.

Studying at Waikato has made Amondi understand how loss of language can lead to loss of culture and inspired her to study more about Kenyan history.

"The Bachelor of Teaching degree at Waikato is quite unique as it included applied cultural studies, which has motivated me to learn more about my own culture."

- Hamilton News

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