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Global 21 fourth quarter 2015

network Close-up Royal Victoria League for commonwealth Commonwealth Friendship The League provides subsidised accommodation in London and raises money for charitable causes in the Commonwealth The Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendship was founded in 1901 to promote a closer union between different parts of the then British Empire and to foster hospitality, understanding and good fellowship. The name was chosen in memory of the late Queen Victoria who had died earlier that year. Since its early formation, hospitality, fundraising, friendship and education have been important for the Victoria League. In the Boer War, assistance was given in tending war graves and helping British refugees, while education was provided in the form of libraries, books and magazines. During World War II, the League provided Commonwealth Servicemen in the UK with 1.25 million beds and four million meals. Over the years, the League has adapted to its ever-changing world and environments. Today, it has branches in England, Australia from more than a dozen Commonwealth and New Zealand and affiliated organisations countries staying at Student House. For many in Scotland and Canada, with membership of the students, this was the first time they had open to citizens of all Commonwealth been to England – the League aims to provide countries. In London, the League organises a clean and well-maintained ‘home away a calendar of events for members and from home’ for the students. welcomes members from overseas branches. With affordable rates, it is a safe place for The League’s main charitable work now is young people to stay, meet new friends and running Student House in Bayswater, which attend a calendar of special student events. provides subsidised accommodation for about Lifelong friendships are formed – and even the 60 students from various Commonwealth occasional marriage. Many former students countries. It is open to full-time students now hold senior posts in their country’s aged 18-30. The current chairman of the government or in international companies. League, Lyn Hopkins, was himself a resident Student House is fortunate in having two of Student House 40 years ago. grand pianos and there has been a long tradition In the last academic year, there were students of music students staying at the house, many Building a school in Sierra Leone In 2011, the trustees considered how to children often have to walk many miles to the League itself. commemorate the diamond jubilee of the reach the nearest available school. There was The permanent League’s patron, Her Majesty the Queen. After no permanent secondary school in the Pujehun secondary school, with three classrooms, was some discussion of various possibilities, they District’s Pejeh Chiefdom, so pupils had to make successfully constructed and opened in 2012, concluded that the best permanent way of an hour and a half journey each way to attend the the year of the Queen’s diamond jubilee. The celebrating the Jubilee was to construct a school nearest school. League is now fundraising for the construction of in Pujehun District in Sierra Leone, one of the The construction of the League’s school was another school in Sierra Leone. Due to the Ebola poorest countries in the Commonwealth. crucial to ensure that children in the area did crisis, government finances are even further Most young people in Sierra Leone, even in not drop out of school after primary education. reduced and the need for outside help is greater isolated rural village communities, have access Funds were raised by the members of the than ever. It is hoped that the Victoria League to a very basic level of primary education, but Victoria League and a contribution was made by School will be opened in 2016. 74 l www.global -br ief ing.org four th quar ter 2015 global of whom have gone on to highly successful international careers. Royal patronage has been a huge part of the history of the League since 1906 when the future Queen Mary, then Princess of Wales, became Patron. Currently, Her Majesty the Queen is the League’s patron. The League is a registered charity and receives no financial support from any government, with its funds having been raised by members over the decades. The League is an active member of the Council of Commonwealth Societies and is one of the four Loyal Societies of the Commonwealth along with the Royal Over-Seas League, Royal Commonwealth Society and the English Speaking Union. Student House in Bayswater, London


Global 21 fourth quarter 2015
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