Going backwards to look forwards

Annette Theu, right, and Chelsea Battle pictured outside Christ Church, are walking backwards around all the Oxford University colleges to raise money for an upcoming trip to Togo with the charity Y Care International

Annette Theu, right, and Chelsea Battle pictured outside Christ Church, are walking backwards around all the Oxford University colleges to raise money for an upcoming trip to Togo with the charity Y Care International Buy this photo

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

SHE’S walking backwards but she’s looking forward.

Annette Theu, 23, will walk backwards around Oxford University’s 38 colleges to help some of the city’s most disadvantaged young people.

The challenge will help her raise £800 sponsorship for a trip to Togo, West Africa, with youth rights charity Y Care International.

Then she will bring back what she has learnt about overcoming adversity from some of the world’s poorest to the young people in Barton where she grew up.

She is getting a bit of help from her friend Chelsea Battle, 22, from Blackbird Leys, who is doing the walk with her, but will not be travelling to Togo.

Miss Theu, who graduated from Swansea University with a degree in social policy in July, said: “My passion is helping people, getting them opportunities to find a job or whatever they want to do.

“It is lack of opportunity that creates inequality.

“I grew up in Barton, and I have always felt it is unfair that some people have opportunities to do things because of where they are from or where they live.

“You can’t blame someone for not having a job if they grew up in an area where education wasn’t valued. You can’t blame people for being victims of circumstance.

“I was never smart or rich, I am just one of the lucky few who went to a really good school and had teachers who inspired me.

“Y Care works with young people to give them choice and opportunity.”

If she raises the £800 she needs to go on the trip by September 19, she will fly out to Togo on October 6, spending 10 weeks in the country.

She will work with some of the country’s poorest young people, helping to educate them about their citizen’s rights.

When she gets back, she wants to give a talk to pupils at her old school, Cheney, in Headington, about what she learnt.

She said: “I feel like this is a really good project for places like Barton and the neighbouring area.

“You don’t need any qualifications, you just have to be over 18 and want to make a change.”

Miss Theu said she wants to work somewhere where she can help disadvantaged people get housing, claim their rights or improve their chances in life.

But before that, she needs to walk backwards around all 38 Oxford colleges next Wednesday.

Starting at Magdalen College, with the help of a hand-drawn map, she will endeavour to work her way around.

Annette added: “I don’t like running, I’m not good at it, and everyone does a run, so I decided to do something different.”

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