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Rachel to share love of learning with youngsters in Ghana

Everyone can learn - that's the message a second-year Education Studies student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be spreading on a charity trip to Ghana.

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Rachel Djan will be speaking at schools and orphanages as well as delivering items from books to sanitary towels to youngsters in some of the country's poorest regions.

The visit is part of her role as Miss Ghana UK - and she is seeking help to raise as much money as possible ahead of her trip on 8 April.

The 20-year-old said: "Even a £1 donation goes a long way."

Rachel won the title in September 2016, becoming ambassador for the Miss Ghana UK Foundation, which supports national and international development priorities.

She was inspired to enter the pageant, which involved 12 weeks of rehearsals, after seeing what previous winners had achieved.

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Rachel said: "I'd wanted to enter for a long time and last year I thought I'd give it a go. The auditions were a scary experience! They ask about you, your interests and hobbies.

"We had to give a speech and mine was on confidence. I was so shocked when they called my name as the winner, as everyone was amazing!"

For Rachel, the contest was about having a platform to promote projects close to her heart, including education, empowering young girls and raising awareness of bronchiectasis - a long-term condition of the lungs.

"It affects me every day," said Rachel, who was diagnosed while at school. "I'm easily tired and get breathless and I also get more infections.

"I have asthma too and when I was at secondary school I found it hard to explain - for example asking people not to spray deodorants in the sports changing rooms."

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Since starting her degree, Rachel said she has been better able to educate people about her condition, meaning people are more considerate. She is also full of praise for the support offered at DMU, in particular by her tutor Ross Purves.

Rachel's message to youngsters in Ghana will focus on the importance of education and the ability to learn whatever your circumstances, as well as how university is helping with her goal of becoming a teacher or lecturer.

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The previous winner with the Miss Ghana UK contestants at Brixton soup kitchen

"Education is an everyday thing for me and I love to learn," said Rachel, who was born in Germany and moved to Coventry 10 years ago.

"In different countries, education can be downgraded or lacking, but you can still learn, you just have to look harder.

"For example, if an individual is intrigued by food they could go to different areas of Ghana to learn about foods from different cultures."

Rachel is also working on a personal project - the Queen's Organisation - to instil confidence in girls, which echoes the Miss Ghana UK Foundation ethos of inspiring young people to make informed career choices.

You can make a donation to her charity trip by clicking here.

Posted on Monday 3rd April 2017

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