The Padare group was set up in 2008 with just two female students organising academic and peer support. Since then Padare has been established in the field of Social Work and the inaugural Conference also launched the concept to other Schools and fields. Padare has already been presented at a Symposium in York and inspired published academic research.
Padare is the 'Zimbabwean' term for 'meeting place' and was the name chosen for by the students to help reinforce their sense of belonging.
The Vice-Chancellor of The University of Northampton Professor Nick Petford welcomed delegates. He said: "A student-centred approach is at the core of our teaching and learning through the recognition of the needs of our diverse student population. It is wholly appropriate that the date of the first Padare conference was chosen to coincide with the Day of the African Child. This marks those children that took part in Soweto uprising in 1976. Hundreds were killed in the protest against the poor quality of education for black school children."
The conference included interactive workshops, a book signing and a keynote speech from Dr Reineth Prinsloe, Senior Lecturer from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Dr Sue Allen, Executive Dean of the School of Health said: "Higher and professional education can be a very challenging time, especially when the cultural, learning styles and social situations can be very different to the environment which some students have grown up with. It is vital that initiatives such as Padare support like-minded students from similar cultures to thrive, grow and develop both personally and professionally."
Padare is a community that understands me as a black student on a social work training course in supporting me to achieve my full potential... Padare is a success because we share common life experiences and feel a sense of belonging.Padare Student