Katie was 17 when she travelled to the foothills of Mount Kinabalu in Borneo with Raleigh International. She helped to build a gravity-fed water system and supply safe, clean water to a community.
It was a life-shaping experience. “I learnt so much during my five week expedition: how to cook, how to work in a team, but the main learning I made was one that led me to my degree course – the importance of working with communities to create long lasting and sustainable change.”
While she studied Environmental Geography and International Development at the University of East Anglia, Katie also volunteered in Costa Rica and worked with the University of Fiji on marine conservation.
After getting her masters in Environmental Consultancy she started running the Raleigh Jersey Society.
“I was grateful for the opportunity Raleigh gave me to develop as a young person. Raleigh expeditions are unbelievably well organised and carefully planned to allow young people to travel safely yet independently.
“My experience with Raleigh has influenced many decisions I have taken in my life. It gave me the confidence to travel and determination to achieve goals even in face of adversity. It was the perfect starting point to adult life as a space to experience being away from home and working under tough conditions, but within the safety net of a wonderfully organised and careful organisation.
“I really believed in the work Raleigh does, so I wanted to get involved in the Raleigh Jersey Society. I wanted to be able to pass the baton on to younger generations and give them the chance to experience what I was able to achieve on Raleigh when I was 17.”
The Raleigh Jersey Society, which was established by Raleigh alumni Andre Rabet and David Baker, supports young people who have applied to volunteer on a Raleigh expedition by supporting their fundraising and preparing them for their placement.
Katie said: “Raleigh Jersey has now supported more than 20 volunteers in the past three years. We’ve assisted young volunteers financially, through support meetings and with vaccinations (our resident doctor is also a Raleigh alumni!).
“Our greatest story is of a young Jersey volunteer who struggled with mental health throughout her teenage years, but she successfully completed a 10-week Raleigh expedition to Borneo and has since returned to Jersey to complete her TEFL and childcare qualifications. This particular young person is currently working in India to provide education for slum children and she completely credits Raleigh International and Raleigh Jersey for helping her turn her life around.
“I am proud to support other young people from Jersey to have this experience with Raleigh.”