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A Journey of Purpose: Alex's Raleigh Experience on community project

Why Join a Raleigh Expedition?

Before joining Raleigh, Alex, a 19-year-old from Oslo, Norway, had just finished high school. Instead of immediately diving into college or a typical post-graduation path, she decided to take a gap year.

Alex joined a 10-week Raleigh Expedition in South Africa, where she is currently volunteering as a Raleigh Venturer.

Alex’s Motivations for Volunteering 

I was drawn to Raleigh because I heard positive reviews from a friend who had done Raleigh Costa Rica. She told me her experience was life changing. I’m normally quite wary of perpetuating the “white saviour” narrative that’s often associated with volunteer work in developing countries. I wanted an organisation committed to creating long-lasting, sustainable change rather than engaging in short-term feel-good projects.

“I am picky about where I volunteer – I think there are a lot of organisations that do more damage than good. However, with the partnership with Nourish*, a South African local organisation who live and work in the communities and know how things work here, the situation is sustainable and local. Everything is so well thought through. It’s not just going to a random village to do manual labour. There is a purpose.” 

Alex’s First Impressions of Her Community Project     

“To immerse myself into the community and learn and experience as much as possible is why I’m here. I might never come back to stay in a community like this for such a long time ever again. It is truly an incredible experience that could be once in a lifetime. I just want to get to know people and their ways of living here – it is so different from my life back home so I just want to absorb everything.”

Reflecting on her initial interactions with the local community, she observed a genuine warmth and enthusiasm. Despite facing significant challenges and hardships, the Raleigh Venturers felt welcomed by the community.

“We went into the community on our first day with Emotion (Head of Nourish, Seville B) and a community member called Chris. Everyone was so happy. We went to church that everyone was shaking our hands and smiling.”

A Project for Change 

“We are working on a few different projects here at Nourish, the first is a football field. This is to further develop a stable environment where children can come to play and disconnect after school, but also to educate them further on things like cleanliness, tidiness including other soft skills and socialising.”

“The children spending time at Nourish also means that the parents can work longer days and don’t have to worry about taking care of the kids after school.”

We started making a school bus in one of the local primary schools. We wanted to create a playground that can also be used for educational purposes. A place where teachers can teach the children about traffic rules, vowels, numbers and different animals and their names in a fun way.

Our final project was a greenhouse. We built this so that the grannies can grow their own produce and therefore be more self-sustained and not reliant on expensive food delivery, which again ensures that the children at nourish get fed.

“You can see change immediately – the colours on the tyres on the football field and the people happy to see us building these things for them. Watching this develop is so worthwhile and we get to witness it all as soon as we’re done. Our achievements are clear and right in front of us.”

Do you, like Alex, want to make a meaningful difference on projects this summer? Make it a summer of impact on Expedition in South Africa or Costa Rica. Applications close for our June Expeditions on 16th April.


Need more information about Expedition?

Consultation call

Whether you have a specific question or want to discuss which Expedition is right for you, schedule a call with a member of the team at a time convenient to you. 

Join an info event

On our monthly online info events, we’ll tell you all about Expedition. Have your questions answered, meet other volunteers and find out what Expedition is really like from an alumni.

Download a guide

Find out all about Raleigh International and Expedition in our helpful information guide.