Local trainee teacher and Brandywell regular, Brendan Henderson, is one of three University of Ulster students selected to travel to Malawi for a once in a lifetime teaching opportunity.
The 25-year-old Creggan man, who is currently studying for a PGCE in History and Citizenship at UU Coleraine will be travelling to the city of Zomba in Malawi on 29 May to teach for two weeks.
Each year the university, in association with Chancellor College in Malawi, sends three of its students on an all expenses paid scholarship where they will teach in three different Malawian schools. Brendan was selected to represent the university alongside fellow classmates Grace Calvert and Kerry Young.
Since being selected, Brendan has been busy raising funds for the children of Malawi.
“The trip’s all paid for by the university, so the money we raise goes to directly to the schools. It’s kind of like the ‘Secret Millionaire’ in that whatever we think they need, we buy it for them when we’re over there. For example, last year they went to a boarding school and the children were sleeping on concrete floors so they bought them mattresses.”
Brendan is a massive Derry City fan and never misses the Candy Stripes in action, whether it’s home or away. Naturally, he turned to his fellow Brandywell faithful to assist him with fund-raising activities.
“We organised two football matches. One was Derry City fans against legends and another against a Linfield fans’ team. The Derry City Supporters Trust were very kind in helping out.
“With the Linfield match, a friend from Belfast was running the London Marathon for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children and we split the money between us. We won 11-1, by the way.”
Brendan’s supporters team were unable to replicate their luck three weeks ago against the Derry City Legends team at Magee playing fields. They lost that game 7-5.
Brendan is currently undergoing his teacher training at St. Columb’s College and some of his pupils also helped out by hosting a charity football match for his cause.
Between raising funds for Malawi and teaching at the College, Brendan also has time to canvas with his younger brother, Dermot Henderson, the SDLP’s 18-year-old council candidate.
“My mum’s got a lot to be proud of with the both of us, but since he hasn’t been elected yet I’m going to say she’s more proud of me.”
To raise further funds for Malawi, Brendan is holding a secret auction for a signed British and Irish Lions rugby jersey, kindly donated by ex-Irish international and classmate Kieran Campbell. Anyone who wishes to bid for the jersey can send Brendan a message on his Facebook page.