Yesterday The Vodafone Foundation announces six outstanding individuals who will put their jobs on-hold for a year and take their skills and passion to work for their favourite charities. The â€˜World of Differenceâ€™ winners include a barrister who will work with African prisoners and a London PA who cares for AIDS orphaned children.
In July, The Foundation announced that it would offer the opportunity to support four individuals with Â£25,000 towards their outgoings as well as Â£20,000 in expenses.
Now, following a huge response from hundreds of inspirational candidates, The Foundation has decided to select six winners instead of the planned four.
Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone UK commented: 'We were bowled over by the calibre and number of entries the foundation received - choosing the finalists was a tough decision. Weâ€™re all delighted to be able to offer these outstanding individuals the opportunity to make a huge difference within the charities they have chosen.
Seeing the successes that other World of Difference winners have accomplished around the globe I am certain that they will all achieve great things during the forthcoming year.'
'It is inspiring to hear the dedication and passion that these individuals have. Now, with the support of The Vodafone Foundation, these charities will be able to extend their reach or embark on new projects that might not previously have been possible,' said Oscar-nominated actress Samantha Morton, an advocate of the programme.
The six winners are:
Alexander McLean - African Prisons Project
Alexander set up African Prisons Project to improve the welfare, health and education of detainees in some African prisons. These include work to establish an education facility in a women's prison and to build a day-care centre for the children of offenders.
Miguel D Ramirez - SolarAid
Through the programme, the London based Texan will now research renewable sources of energy with SolarAid, whose work includes training local communities to modify devices, such as kerosene lamps, to use solar power.
Lucy Caslon - Msizi Africa
PA at one of the Worldâ€™s largest property advisers, Lucy set up Msizi Africa in her spare time, raising Â£30,000 to help relieve the hardship of children in Africa where the AIDS pandemic has left many children without any family.
Naomi Glass - Spitalfields City Farm
Dedicating the last nine years of her life to working with different charities, Naomi will work with the City Farm to extend its reach to educating disadvantaged young people and their parents, including those who find classroom-based learning a challenge.
Jean Westmacott - Cerebral Palsy Africa
Through her training as a nurse, Jean has developed a holistic approach to working with people including those with cerebral palsy. Jean, who lives in Hampshire, will now work full-time for one year with Scottish charity Cerebral Palsy Africa to establish a training/resource centre in the UK and link with key people in Africa.
Andrew Lamb - Engineers Without Borders UK
Andrew, a Cambridge graduate, will now lead the new UK arm of the organisation to obtain more funding and place engineers on voluntary projects to help relieve poverty worldwide.