Man Met student helps international students feel at home in UK with donations of kitchenware

  • Man Met student organises Don8 It project to give unwanted kitchen items a second home
  • A free shop for these donations was held during Welcome Week in the Union
  • Over 300 items were donated and given away as part of the project
  • International students found to have benefited most from donations

Overseas students are being made to feel at home in the UK by a Man Met student’s project for people to donate unwanted kitchenware.

More than 300 items were received from students and staff donations within the Don8 It project organised by fashion promotion student Caitlin Keeble.

All of these items were taken in less than five hours after the Welcome Week free shop opened.

The project has been a big success in helping international students manage the added costs of moving to university in a different country.

Don8 It project, kitchenware, the Union, donations, charity project

Caitlin, 22, said: “Some international students come with literally just a suitcase and move into a house with almost nothing, so they were really grateful for my project.

“Kitchen items are expensive, and not a lot of people may have spare pans that they don’t need at home.”

Maria Loray, the union’s international project co-ordinator, added: “Caitlin’s project helped students feel welcomed and supported.

“A lot of students are getting cutlery and glassware for themselves for the first time, so this project helped students get an idea of what they need now that they live alone.

“International students are not allowed to receive public funds.

“Therefore, if they are having financial issues, it is very hard to get enough money through work, as international students can’t work more than 20 hours a week, can’t be freelancers or start their own business.”

The Don8 It free shop is aimed at international students who struggle to afford pricier kitchen items.

The project began as Caitlin prepared to move home for the summer holidays and realised she had kitchenware items she no longer needed.

She reached out to the union to see if they held a donation facility, but decided to start one herself as this service wasn’t readily available.

Donations were open between June and the end of August to coincide with students leaving term-time accommodation, with donation boxes being held in the union and halls of residence.

The free shop took place during Welcome Week, with hundreds of items on display for students to take.

“We started setting up at half nine and by one everything was pretty much gone,” said Caitlin.

It is hoped the project will run next year expanding to items other than just kitchenware.

Caitlin is also interested in expanding her Don8 It project to cover other Manchester universities so that more students can benefit from the free items.

Other students are able to start projects similar to Caitlin’s through the university’s Make a Change program.

For international students struggling with finance, MMU also offers a day-to-day support fund.