Southlands graduate receives honorary degree 69 years after qualifying

  • Monday, February 25, 2019

On 21 February 2019, Southlands College graduate, Vera Schaufeld, returned to Roehampton to receive her honorary degree in education from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul O’Prey. Vera completed her Certificate in Education in 1950, and was awarded this honorary degree in recognition of her achievements in education.

Image - Southlands graduate receives honorary degree 69 years after qualifying

Vera Schaufeld (née Lowyova) was born in Prague in 1930. Eighty years ago, this May, Vera was evacuated from her home as part of the Czechoslovakian Kindertransport organised by the British humanitarian Nicholas Winton. This scheme rescued 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia. None of Vera’s family travelled with her and once in England she was fostered by a very caring Christian family who respected Vera’s Jewish Faith. It wasn’t until after the end of the war that Vera learnt that her family had not survived.

Vera was educated at a Methodist school and in 1948, at the age of 18, Vera joined Southlands College qualifying as an English Teacher in 1950. Whilst at college Vera was a prominent member of the student community and was the college representative to the National Union of Students.

After leaving college Vera spent a year in Israel before returning to England to teach English in Brent, London. In 1972, Vera took the decision to use her experience of learning English as a child in order to teach English to a group of Ugandan and Kenyan children, who had recently arrived in Brent. Most of the children were of Asian descent and had been expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin – the then President of Uganda. The experience of being a refugee during the war shaped Vera’s life choices.

Vera will return to the university later this year to speak with history and education students about her lifetime experiences.