Before I took part in my ICS placement in 2014, I had just graduated from university and had spent the summer working as an administrator. However, I felt very lost and had no idea what I was going to do in terms of a career. All I knew was that I wanted to help people and make a change through volunteering.
As soon as I was accepted onto the Raleigh ICS programme my confidence grew and I became a more focused individual as I fundraised and trained for my placement in Tanzania. Before departure I got to meet and become friends with some other amazing volunteers, who like myself, were at a crossroads in their lives and weren’t too sure what they wanted to do next. Raleigh International provided an invaluable opportunity to figure out what kind of skills you possessed and how to utilize them to make a sustainable change in the community you would be working with.
Once I was allocated to my Charlie group and placed in Ndewbe, a rural village about an hour away from the political capital of Dodoma. I quickly began to learn what my strengths and weaknesses were, but also those of my incredible team. On the day we arrived, I found it very challenging to construct the tents we would be occupying and as I’m not very strong, I found it difficult to manoeuvre the kit to make our camp. However the rest of my team were amazing at this and it motivated me to help out in other ways. That night I put my creativity to use and cooked a meal, in very little light, for my whole team.
Throughout the rest of my time in Ndebwe I harboured this creativity and drew designs for a mural for the sanitation blocks that my team and I helped to build. Once back in the UK, I wanted to apply the skills that I learnt in Tanzania to my Action at Home project. Furthermore, I remember from playing and working with the school children that they loved looking at the jewellery that I was wearing and I wanted to incorporate their story into my project back home. Thus, from the sand I brought back from the village I was based in, I started to make beads by mixing the sand with glue and moulding them. I then used these beads to make necklaces and bracelets, which I then sold and donated the profits back to Raleigh.
“I wanted to give something back to Raleigh and the country I worked in, therefore 10% of my sales profits will be donated to support Raleigh’s Tanzania schools, water, sanitation and hygiene projects.”
Since my Action at Home project, I’ve moved to Dublin and set up a jewellery business called Sea Beads, where I use the same idea of moulding sand into beads, but I instead use the sand from the local beaches. Without my Raleigh ICS experience I never would have had the inspiration or confidence to come up with the idea and start my own business. Even though Sea Beads is still in its infancy, I wanted to give something back to Raleigh and the country I worked in, therefore 10% of my sales profits will be donated to support Raleigh’s Tanzania schools, water, sanitation and hygiene projects.”
With Valentine’s day around the corner could this be the perfect, sustainable gift to treat someone special or indeed yourself? You can buy Jennifer’s jewellery here: http://jenniferworkman93.wix.com/seabeads 10% of all proceeds to Raleigh’s water and sanitation projects in Tanzania.
Has your Raleigh experience inspired what you now do for a living? We’d love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org