Young entrepreneurs: Raleigh alumni making a difference through enterprise

16th November 2017

Matthew’s clothing line tackles ‘fast fashion’

After being inspired to tackle issues caused by fast fashion, Matthew and two friends started an ethical and environmentally friendly clothing line called Humantra.

“Fast fashion creates a lot of environmental and socio-economic issues. Many workers in sweatshops are forced to live on incredibly low wages, meaning they may be unable to afford an education, buy food or be able to live a life of dignity.

“When we looked into it we could see the terrible situation that many people around the world are in because of fast fashion. So, we decided to do something about it. We created this project, Humantra, and raised just over $5000 through Indiegogo. We created t-shirts and vests with meaningful messages which would inspire other people. We worked on sourcing the products, ensuring they were from a company that was environmental friendly and making sure that it was coming from a place where people were paid a decent living wage. We were ensuring we weren’t causing the same issues that fast fashion creates. Our business is trying to reduce the suffering that the fast fashion industry is having on people around the world.”

Jennifer’s jewellery pieces for Tanzania

On her Raleigh ICS placement in Tanzania, Jennifer was inspired to create jewellery from sand she collected in her host community. Since returning from Tanzania, she has used this idea to set up Sea Beads, a small jewellery business in which profits go to good causes.

I remember from working with the school children in Tanzania that they loved looking at the jewellery that I was wearing. So, when I returned to the UK I wanted to incorporate their story into my action at home project. I started to make beads by mixing sand I brought back from my host village with glue. I then used these beads to make necklaces and bracelets, which I sold. I wanted to give something back to Raleigh and Tanzania, so 10% of my profits were donated to Raleigh Tanzania’s school water, sanitation and hygiene projects.

“I’ve since moved to Dublin and set up a jewellery business called Sea Beads, where I use the same idea of moulding sand from local beaches into beads. 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.”

Luis builds entrepreneurship skills in his community

When Luis finished his livelihoods project in Tanzania, he wanted to share the skills he learnt with those in his home community. On his return to Dar es Salaam he set up an entrepreneurship workshop to expand the skills of other entrepreneurs.

“My action at home was about teaching a group of young people about entrepreneurship, using the skills I learnt on my Raleigh ICS project. I showed them how to use the four key tools which I learnt on my project, including the SWOT (which tests the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to a business) and the business model canvas (BMC). I also covered market research and cash flow. I chose to do this in my home community because there isn’t much knowledge on how to run a business, so I wanted to take this action to help people in my community to become entrepreneurs.”

Lydia’s bracelets encourage others to be the change

After volunteering in Nicaragua, Lydia knew she wanted to inspire others to make a positive difference too. Using the bracelet-making skills she learnt in Nicaragua, she was inspired to start her own entrepreneurial venture back in the UK.

“I opened an Etsy store to sell 20 handmade bracelets which I learnt to make while on my placement in Nicaragua. I sold every bracelet for £3, which was donated to a charity of their choice, including UNICEF, Samaritans and Hope for Justice. They sold out in under a week, raising £60 for charity.

The main idea behind these charity bracelets was not predominantly to fundraise, but to inspire and encourage the people now wearing the bracelets that THEY made a difference, and so that they can be reminded of the ongoing importance of making a change.”

Have you been an active citizen since your Raleigh placement? We’d love to hear what you’ve been up to! Get in touch at


Alumni Raleigh ICS Global