Robert Halfon volunteers to teach in Rwanda — on a Conservative Party scheme

Prospective Tory MP for Harlow Robert Halfon is taking a break from his political duties to volunteer in Rwanda.

Mr Halfon, 39, is currently in the Rwandan capital of Kigali teaching English to English teachers as part of Project Umubano - a social-action scheme launched by the Conservative Party to help bridge the gap between the world's richest and poorest nations. More than 100 people, including shadow ministers, MPs and professionals, are taking part in the initiative, which is being led by Shadow International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell.

Mr Halfon, political director of Conservative Friends of Israel, tells People: "On my year off I worked for a geriatric hospital in Jaffa for a few months, but I have never done anything like this before. It's a real challenge that I have been really looking forward to."

He adds: "Although I am not that religious, I believe it is my duty as a Jewish person to help people who have experienced genocide."

Mr Halfon, who left for Rwanda yesterday, returns in two weeks when he will get back to his political lobbying. And how has that been going? "I have just won control of the council, so it's going well, but there is still a long way to go."

He lives in Harlow, Essex, and is a member of the Central Synagogue, Great Portland Street.

    Last updated: 12:10pm, July 24 2008