Daniel Morgan-Blake recently graduated in BA Primary Education, completing his course over a number of years since 2012. During this period he also established a charity, The HummingBirds, with the aim of improving young people’s lives in deprived communities in the Caribbean by building sports facilities. You can watch a video of a current project in Jamaica here, and read Daniel’s story in the interview below.
When did the idea for The HummingBirds first take shape?
It was in my second year at Roehampton. I’d wanted to develop sports in the Caribbean for years and had got a bit involved with projects in the past, but then in November 2019 I attended a Black History Month event at Roehampton aimed at business entrepreneurs. Speaking to experienced business people made me realise that starting a charity was something I could actually do and so I decided then to pursue it.
Why did you choose Primary Education?
I definitely have a thing for teaching, coaching and development, which led to me working in primary and secondary schools, and sports clubs and with local teams. Doing so highlighted to me the importance of the foundations laid during the primary years. I wanted to know more about those foundations and how to lay them well, so Primary Education was the obvious choice!
You took the ‘long road’ to graduation, why was that?
There were issues in my life, mainly health issues, that I needed to accept, address and then find a way to progress with. I face such challenges a lot better now and I see my graduation as concrete proof of what I can achieve while dealing with these issues.
How did you manage the dual workload from the charity and your degree?
Two words: prioritising and sacrificing. My first priority had to be my health, and then university. I had to get the most I could out of my course and the opportunities it offered, but then came the charity. To give them both the attention they needed I had to sacrifice a lot of other things like how much sport I played and how much I socialised.
How is The HummingBirds Charity doing now, and what are your aspirations for it?
It’s moving along slowly. The reality is nothing like the fantasy where I would start it up and people would throw money at it. It is taking a lot of work to get the word out and get people on-board, but it’s work I am willing and able to do. I want to increase the support and raise its profile, so we have to get a famous name involved. Ideally, we will raise 10% of the funds needed for the first project within six months – that will be very difficult! But we are making progress and learning as we do.