The BSc (Hons) Web Design & Development programme of the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus (UCLan Cyprus) developed a close collaboration with the Cyprus Red Cross for the engagement of students with activities of the organisation that relate to the students’ studies.
As a result, recently, students of the programme, under the guidance of their Course Leader, Dr Christos Karpasitis, undertook the design and development of the activity book “I Play and Learn with Linos and Flora” for the Cyprus Red Cross Society. According to the requirements of the organisation, and in close communication with Ms. Andia Ntoa (Clinical Psychologist of the Program ” Home Care Program for Vulnerable People” of Cyprus Red Cross Society) and Mr. Nikos Papadopoulos (Psychosocial Support Officer of Cyprus Red Cross Society), the students (now graduates) Andreia Azevedo, Maria Polydorou, Kleanthis Loizou and Loukia Kourri, designed and developed the book’s main characters (Linos and Flora), activities and structure.
The book, which is now printed and handed over to volunteers of the Cyprus Red Cross Society and has been translated into 4 different languages (English, French, Greek and Arabic), aims at educating and entertaining children of immigrants and refugees based in Cyprus, between the ages of 6-13. The Course Leader of the BSc (Hons) Web Design & Development programme and project supervisor, Dr. Christos Karpasitis, mentions: “We hope that with this project we will help immigrant parents to spend some quality time with their children in difficult times. For us, it is not the end result that matters the most, but the fact that this book can spare a few smiles on the faces of these innocent children”. During difficult times, such as the current pandemic that challenges our everyday lives, but also during times of need where the instinct of self-preservation emerges and financial and other survival resources may be scarce, people could offer selfless help with their skills, experiences and special abilities to their fellow human beings.
With the above in mind, while designing the curriculum of the BSc (Hons) Web Design & Development programme at UCLan Cyprus, we try embedding volunteerism activities into various assessment exercises. Through these activities, our students have the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained from the programme to voluntarily provide assistance to organisations and people that need it the most. The impact of such activities is manifold, as students get to apply their knowledge in real life settings and thus, enhancing their practical experience and employability prospect, while at the same time, they can feel the satisfaction of contributing to the society and set a good example to the world with their actions.