On 16 March my team and I took the difficult decision to suspend all Raleigh programmes globally and begin the return of all current volunteers in response to the pandemic. I’m pleased to say that, after a week-long effort by everyone at Raleigh, all our young volunteers have now arrived safely home.
In the last 35 years, we have worked with over 50,000 young people to create lasting change around the world. This is the first time we have ever had to close our programmes on such a scale.
This has been difficult for everyone involved. For our staff who have worked day and night to support the safe return of volunteers. For the communities we work alongside who have lost our much-needed support. For next of kin who have worried about their loved ones. But most of all for our young volunteers who were only part way through vital projects in Tanzania, Costa Rica and Nepal.
Despite this, I was so inspired to see everyone supporting each other and rallying together. As we’ve witnessed around the world during this pandemic, people are responding by working together and looking out for their communities – two things that are at the core of how we work at Raleigh.
As we look ahead, thousands of individuals, families, communities, businesses and charities like ours are facing hard times. Raleigh will continue to need your support as we adjust to a period where we are unable to run our programmes in the same way.
Despite the challenges we are facing, this global crisis has emphasised to us the importance of working together beyond borders as a global community to solve our shared problems. We remain dedicated to harnessing the changemaking power of young people. So when the time is right, and together with your support, we will pick up where we left off, working hand-in-hand with young people and communities around the world to create a more sustainable planet for everyone.
Until that is possible, we will ensure that Raleigh continues doing what we have always done – helping people make a positive difference in their own life and in the lives of others. We’ll share ideas to help you do just that and give updates on our projects. But we also want to hear from you about what you’re doing already and what you’d like to see from Raleigh – so please do get in touch!
Thank you for your continued commitment to our cause and vision.
With my thoughts and best wishes to you, your family, loved ones and communities,
CEO, Raleigh International