University of Newcastle graduate Jasmine Horrocks shines at ceremony

Helping out: Jasmine Horrocks said she hoped to return to Tanzania one day. “I don’t know if I’ll recognise things anymore, but it would be lovely to be able to contribute in some way.” Picture: Marina NeilJASMINE Horrocks couldn’t help but reflect on her childhood in Tanzania when it came to choosing what to study at university.
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“I saw people in desperate, poverty stricken circumstances, who were struggling to make ends meet and to feed themselves three times a day,” Ms Horrocks said.

“I wanted to make a difference and a real impact, to learn about some solutions to create a more equal world – and an equal society here in as well.”

Ms Horrocks, 23, graduated from the University of Newcastle on Thursday with a Bachelor of Development Studies with first class honours.

She was also awarded the University Medal, Faculty Medal and the Honours Prize for the best performance in the Discipline of Geography and Environmental Studies.

“It’s a great feeling to have finished, especially because honours was a very intense and full-on year,” she said. “I was surprised and honoured tolive up to the expectations the university had of me.”

Ms Horrocks was born in but moved at six months old to Tanzania, where her parents Jeremy and Jill were missionaries and teachers at the International Christian School in the capital, Dodoma.

She returned to when she was four for preschool to midway through year two, then returned to Tanzania to halfway through year six.

Ms Horrocks decided after her three-year undergraduate degree to complete an optional fourth honours year.

She interviewed Compass Housing tenants and staff for her thesis, which probed how a person’s (aged over 60)experience of past and present housing impacted on their ability to create a sense of home.

“It was very clear that community housing enabled a better sense of home than private rental, where there is a lot of insecurity,” she said.

“Older people felt private rental was uncertain, that theyweren’t sure when they were going to be kicked out or if they’d manage the next price hike.

“Because community housing is more long term they were able to establish a sense of ownership by doing things like arranging furniture.

“Relationships were also important, including with pets, which community housing ismuch more flexible about.”

Ms Horrocks said n pensions were tied to the assumption people owned their houses, which could prove problematic in the future if housing remainedout of reach for many young people.

“The rental system really benefits landlords rather than tenants,” she said. “There’s room for improvement to promote the rights of tenants so they have more security in the housing they are in.”

Ms Horrocks said she relished her supporter engagement role atBaptist World Aid but was open to working in international aid and development in the future.

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