Yes, I’ve started a new initiative on this blog, which is to interview readers about their lives and preoccupations; obsessions and talents. Next up could be YOU! But today we have Ben Ashby, known on Facebook as Ben Popkid.
Interview with Ben Ashby
Lizardyoga: So, Ben – how would you describe yourself?
I suppose I would describe myself as a person who likes to achieve things for others. I enjoy volunteering which I am currently doing. I like to socialise especially with those who have similar interests.
I like the phrase ‘achieve things for others.’ What kind of things do you volunteer for?
I mainly work in a human rights realm. I currently volunteer for Amnesty UK. We support student amnesty groups at universities and help them not only run their societies but also with campaigning. I am also an active member of Leicester Amnesty group and help with activities and events that we undertake.
What was it that drew you to work with Amnesty?
I found myself as a street fundraiser a number of years ago and in particular fundraising for Amnesty, and this enabled to me to gain more knowledge about the movement. I gained an interest from then on, although I have always been political (even though Amnesty is apolitical). I was not very active beforehand, well not as much as I am now.
Is there any particular situation Amnesty deals with that you would like to talk about?
Well there are two. firstly their work on the abolition of the death penalty. being put to death is against or basic fundamental human right of the right to life. It dehumanises an individual, it removes rehabilitation and lowers the state to the level of the criminal. Secondly greater rights for women as I believe that inequality is a swear word and incompatible with humanity as a whole.
I agree with you on those two. So what’s involved in helping students set up groups? Are you at both universities in Leicester?
Setting up new groups needs research on a number of issues at universities without groups: what type of subjects are studied (unis with Psychology, Politics, Law and Journalism courses are prime targets for groups). The size of student population is a factor, as smaller universities are hard to sustain groups at: also, whether said unis already have NGO societies such as Oxfam, is another factor. Yes we do have groups at Leicester Uni and DMU (where I was Amnesty Soc president 2011/12), we also have a group at Loughborough University.
Gosh! That’s more complicated than I imagined. Is there anything else you want to say about yourself? You mentioned socialising – what kind of things do you do to socialise?
Well like everyone else I do enjoy going to the pub, but I also love to go to gigs when I can and I would love for there to be more live music in Leicester as the last proper gig I went to was in Brixton. But a film with friends is also a great way of passing the time. Ooh and Scrabble! I love Scrabble.
Anything else you want to say?
Yeah in the words of Bill and Ted, “Be excellent to each other.”
Great ending. Thanks very much Ben. I’ll probably put this on the blog tomorrow. Bye for now
If you would like to be interviewed for this blog, please post a comment with your email address and I’ll get back to you.