Raleigh International has evolved over the last four decades and is constantly adapting to new ideas and challenges. But what has never changed is our dedication to working with young people and communities to create an impact that lasts.
Raleigh International throughout the years
Operation Drake was launched by King Charles III and Colonel John Blashford-Snell, with scientific exploration and community service as its aims. It was a round-the-world voyage with the participation of young people from many countries, sailing in the brigantine Eye of the Wind. It inspired a generation of young people to change the world.
Operation Drake evolved into Operation Raleigh, a trailblazing programme providing the space for young people to volunteer on projects around the world. Almost 4,000 volunteers took part in Operation Raleigh.
Operation Raleigh became Raleigh International Trust. They charity worked with thousands more young people across the world to create sustainable change on a wide range of projects around climate change, water and sanitation, sustainable enterprise and social accountability. Through Raleigh Expeditions and national youth programmes, young people made significant contributions towards the achievement of the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
Raleigh International’s global community of volunteers and alumni grew to over 50,000 people across more than 100 countries. Former volunteers set up projects engaging other young people in 14 active national alumni societies; went on to form charities of their own; take action in politics; fight for the planet and take on the world’s biggest problems.
Raleigh International officially became a global youth action organisation, however, it was a challenging year for Raleigh, as it was for many charities. All international volunteering programmes had to be cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and volunteers returned home safely home. This is the first time Raleigh ever had to close international programmes on such a scale.
However, vital work with young people continued and a global consultation with over 100 young people took place to understand their views and concerns. You can read they report ‘Tomorrow is too late’ here.
The pandemic continued to have an impact on young people and Raleigh International’s work. But despite being another year of uncertainty, in 2021 Raleigh proudly launched its first youth-led global environmental campaign, Action Not Excuses where young people led environmental campaigns in their home countries in Malaysia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Nepal and the United Kingdom.
Raleigh International also launched Re:Green, its first UK programme based in Scotland, providing volunteering opportunities for young people in the UK. The organisation was also able to put young people back in the driving seat of development and relaunch Expedition in Costa Rica after an 18-month break due to the pandemic.
2022 marked 30 years since Raleigh evolved from Operation Raleigh into Raleigh International. In May the Raleigh International board of trustees decided to close the organisation permanently.
In July 2022 the Impact Travel Group acquired the Raleigh International brand and committed to upholding they values at the core of Raleigh International: supporting young people to take action on the world’s most important issues through international volunteer programmes.