Latymer’s Lower Sixth students map out the world

Service in the Community is a rite of passage for Latymer’s Sixth Formers. Volunteering with local schools, charitable organisations and community projects is now a much-loved part of the curriculum with students running sessions at local schools in Latin, ICT, debating, Maths, after-school clubs and community homework clubs; visiting the elderly in care homes, working with refugees, supporting the homeless or organising disability sports and so much more – with many students continuing to work actively with organisations much longer than the minimum of one term they are required to do as part of their Latymer Diploma. 

Like so much this year, the global pandemic has frustrated how we deliver our external programmes. Due to Covid-19, our service partners are not currently accepting volunteers and the government guidelines require students to stay within their year group bubbles.

Latymer staff have worked tirelessly to find a suitable alternative and are excited to introduce students to “Missing Maps”, a remote service project run by an organisation called Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). Students will be helping to create digital maps of the world’s most vulnerable and ‘forgotten’ places, directly improving the lives of some of the planet’s most vulnerable communities by quite literally putting them on the map. 

HOT is an international team dedicated to humanitarian action and community development through open mapping. HOT is currently focused on two large-scale mapping projects and they have asked Latymer to help; the Covid-19 response, where 1 billion people are living in places that are partially or completely unmapped, and pre-emptive work ahead of the upcoming hurricane season, which includes mapping large parts of the Caribbean.

“At Latymer Upper School we are committed to creating genuine social impact and ensuring that Latymerians are not just academic but also rounded and grounded individuals who care about each other, and those in the local and global community who need their help. We aim to equip and inspire our students to make a positive impact on society and the world around them,” says Dan Wright, Teacher and Service in the Community Coordinator.

“We see the long term legacy of our programmes like Service in the Community in the high rates of volunteering and healthy attitudes towards community service after they leave school,” Dan continues. “In a recent survey of our alumni, 13% said that they are actively involved in philanthropic positions or charitable volunteering. They told us: “Something instilled in me from Latymer, I am still doing all the work I can to give back and aid those around me.” That is a source of enormous pride and why we were so keen to ensure that our Lower Sixth students were able to undertake something meaningful and impactful this year. Our participation in HOT’s Missing Maps Project promises to be an engaging and meaningful way to make a positive difference on a global scale during a time when help is greatly needed. We hope that students enjoy learning new skills whilst knowing that their time and effort will directly contribute to a huge international humanitarian effort.” 

HOT will start online training for students from Monday 16 November. Students will then be able to get mapping and the more time spent mapping, the bigger the impact will be. Every time students log into their homepage it will tell them exactly how many buildings they have mapped, or how many kilometres of road  they have added.

 

Andre, a Latymer student who volunteered with HOT last year said: “I have really enjoyed learning how to map and use the software, and I am going to carry on volunteering with them as I think it is a creative and accessible way of volunteering.”

carolineroberts
Author: carolineroberts

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