Teenage Che-Lei Trott organises the 75-strong Amnesty Youth Group
Che-Lei Trott studied human rights because it was a required school subject and ended up running Warwick Academy's Amnesty International Youth Group. The 18-year-old is now preparing for the local celebration of Amnesty's 50th anniversary this May.
“We're planning a celebration open to the public, with music, entertainment and children's activities, just to celebrate human rights and Amnesty's involvement here in Bermuda. It's going to be on May 28 and we'll have more to say about it soon. For now, it's a work in progress.”
As an International Baccalaureate (IB) student, Miss Trott has to complete a programme called Creativity Action Service.
For the creative aspect, she writes for YouthNews and conducts the school orchestra. She practised highland dance with the Bermuda Pipe Band Association as part of her action requirement.
For the service aspect she teamed up with Warwick Academy librarian Francoise Wolffe, who also happens to be the chairwoman of Amnesty International Bermuda.
“Che-Lei is more than just a typical student,” Mrs Wolffe said. “It's been a real pleasure; she's always very reliable and open-minded.”
The two have been working closely on an open air birthday party for the organisation.
Despite her gentle manners, Miss Trott has “often shown determination, and she has displayed the qualities of a leader”, Mrs Wolffe said.
“I was not surprised to be informed in June, 2009, that she had been selected by our headmistress as the head girl for the 2010 to 2011 academic year.”
Working with the Amnesty International Youth Group initially required Miss Trott to manage a group of 75 students. It also inspired her to come up with a programme of her own.
She said: “Working with the youth group got me to start a pilot programme here called the Junior Urgent Action Network. It's pretty much a youth version of Amnesty.”
Her work has included writing letters for prisoners of conscience, sending out Christmas cards, organising tag days, and “helping our Year Seven students come up with an international picture campaign for Romani children who are being segregated in Slovakia”.
In 2010 she was put forward by Amnesty as the Best Volunteer of the Year.
Now in Year 12 at Warwick Academy, she dreams of getting more young Bermudians involved in human rights.
“I want to stay with Amnesty, but in terms of growing, with this pilot programme of Junior Urgent Action Network, I would like to see that spreading to other schools and develop into different divisions. It's worked in Warwick Academy so I think it can work elsewhere.”
In the meantime, she's focused on schoolwork.
The Sandys resident hopes to take a year off after graduation.
Down the line, she said: “I want to get my undergraduate degree in microbiology. I'm also going to study business entrepreneurship. I think it's best to keep my options open.”
Useful web links: www.volunteer.bm, www.amnesty.org.