From the archives: the 1990s to 2010s
For our final blog about items in Jacari's student society archives, which are held in the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera at the Bodleian Library, we are looking at the period from 1990 to 2010s.
During the 1990s, Jacari was a thriving student society providing educational support to children across Oxford. Membership seems to have peaked in 1996, when an incredible 550 children from 20 schools were being taught through the scheme. The area covered by Jacari tutors seems to have expanded quickly. By 1994 volunteers were teaching all over Oxford - areas included Cowley Road, Cowley, Iffley Road, Rose Hill, Blackbird Leys, Abingdon Road, Hollow Way, Barton and Marston.
Jacari's committee organised regular events for children and volunteers including outings, parties and boat trips. As well as supporting children, Jacari volunteers also tutored adults and refugees in the 1990s.
One significant development was that Jacari got its first office in New College in 1995, which meant that the society and library no longer had to be run from college bedrooms!
This early 1990s newsletter tells us that most of Jacari’s efforts went into running the home teaching scheme, with students helping children with reading, writing and speaking English; maths and science; or with preparation for exams. Most of the children supported by Jacari were from Asian families, originating mainly from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Teaching English wasn’t the main focus as a lot of the children were born in the UK and had grown up bilingual.
Jacari also organised regular parties and events for the children and events for home teachers to share ideas and advice.
The first decade of the 2000s was a key period in Jacari's development as it moved from being a student-run society to registered charity with a salaried Coordinator.
There is a lot of information from the 2000s in the archive, which is largely thanks to the diligence of 2004/5 President Jamie Dear in keeping records and information produced by the committee. These items show the scale and scope of Jacari’s programme at this time as the home teaching programme continued, supported by a diverse range of extra-curricular activities for both children and volunteers.
Items from the early 2000s focus on the home teaching scheme with the below poster and information sheet about the programme. We also have this useful 2001 newsletter with a car quiz and crossword - children could enter their answers into a competition to win an alarm clock!
The 2004 Entz term card (left) shows the range of activities organised by Jacari including a trip to Cotswold Wildlife Park, a talk for volunteers from a primary teacher on teaching children with English as an additional language and the Jacari Olympics!
The Hilary 2005 newsletter (below) states that Jacari recruited 150 volunteers in the previous term, which culminated in the Jacari Winter party. It also mentions Criminal Records Bureau checks for all volunteers, a big step to professionalising Jacari’s tuition programme, and the importance of fundraising (which at the time was primarily through applying to College JCRs) to cover administrative costs and pay for kids’ events.
The April 2005 newsletter announces (with little fanfare) that Jacari has become a registered charity, alongside news of a trip to Cadbury World, a charming poem by Jacari pupil Madeeha Hussain and new Jacari sweatshirts! There’s more about the Cadbury World trip in the next newsletter, along with a piece by Sarah Markiewicz on her experience volunteering as a tutor.
One particularly interesting item in the archive is a 2004 newsletter which includes a piece by the Rt Hon Charles Clark, MP and Secretary of State for Education in support of Jacari’s work.
In 2008, Jacari employed its first paid Coordinator, Mona Sakr, and has successfully fundraised to maintain this position ever since. This meant the responsibility for recruiting volunteers and running the charity no longer fell to students.
From 2008 onward Jacari really established itself as a thriving Oxford charity. We continued our close links to Oxford University and Oxford Brookes, forming student committees made up of students from both Universities. Such was the success of Jacari's model, we decided to replicate it in another city and opened our Bristol branch in 2016.