Spotlight: Meet TTs Youth Advisory Member David Donaldson

4 April 2018
David Donaldon

This month the spotlight is on Travellers' Times youth advisory member David Donaldson. 

My name is David Donaldson, I’m 19 and I’m a Scottish Traveller. I was born in Perth and most of my family are Perthshire Travellers. I attended a few different primary schools, having to continue to move due to discrimination and never quite fitting into the community. After moving house a few times it was eventually time for me to go to secondary school. My time at secondary school was relatively uneventful; however I am now studying Social Anthropology and International Relations at Aberdeen University.

Although I am at University most of the time I try to keep myself busy in my spare time. I’m a Counsellor at ChildLine and when I’m on holiday I always have a shift during the summer and enjoy walking.

I am very proud of my Traveller heritage and value my culture greatly. This pride has led to me becoming involved as a volunteer with Article 12 and HOTT (Heart of The Travellers). My work with Article 12 means I am an advocate for Traveller rights and represent Travellers at events and at council meetings. I really enjoy this work because it allows me to work with Travellers to fix contemporary issues we face, as well as allowing me the opportunity to raise awareness of these issues to those in Government. I am also on the board of and lead on the youth sub committee of Romano Lav a charity based in Glasgow challenging discrimination and promoting equality for the Roma people.

I have a great passion to learn about the history of my people. I have always been taught that you should know where you’ve come from and never forget it. Most of my folk are Scottish Travellers so I have become a member of HOTT, this group focuses on the conservation of Scottish Traveller history and so I really enjoy my work with them too as it allows me to learn more about the history of Scottish Travellers, and allows others to learn as well.

I have found that sometimes I’ll think of a project that would help Travellers, but that doesn’t fit within the remits of these groups. So, I also have quite a few projects going on that I take forward on an individual basis. One of these projects is putting in place an education transition programme at a local Traveller site for the bearns. This programme will help supplement and support the education they will get at the local mainstream school; and hopefully give them a better opportunity to go on to secondary school if they want to.

I really enjoy working with young Travellers to help better our lives, conserve our history and promote our culture in a modern world. In my eyes things always change from the bottom up and change is always led by the young.

David regularly writes for The Travellers' Times, his stories include  Is it time Scottish society re-thought it’s language use?  and A temporary reprieve for the St Cyrus Travellers brings hope