Josephine McAllister, Tanzania Volunteer
Since arriving back in the UK Josephine has been busy volunteering with her University’s RAG (Raising and Giving) committee. As the Volunteering and Raids Coordinator, Josephine has been responsible for recruiting student volunteers and working with charities to coordinate charity collections. So far Josephine has raised awareness at Freshers Fairs, ran an information event and coordinated a collection in London for MIND where volunteers raised £232 in just 2 hours. With lots more events in the calendar, Josephine is also looking to introduce a rewards system to encourage volunteer engagement.
“My project has demonstrated to students the importance of volunteering alongside your degree for career progression, health and wellbeing. It has raised awareness of what RAG is and what charities we support and directly raised money for charity. It has drawn students from across courses and year groups together to not only making a positive impact but also make friends and learn new skills.”
Sam English and Dan Todd, Nicaragua Volunteers
Taking teamwork from the community of La Laguna, Ocotal to Carlisle!
As a direct result of the flooding that affected their locality in 2015, Dan and Sam worked on a community restoration project together which aims to protect the neighbourhood housing from extreme weather in the future.
“While on voluntary placement in Nicaragua, I developed an appreciation for the effects of Climate Change. Nicaragua is the second most-likely country in the Americas to suffer from extreme weather events because of Climate Change. Living in a rural community in Nicaragua for three months and raising awareness about issues like Climate Change made me wonder why I wasn’t doing anything in my own community on this issue.”
The green space that Sam and Dan, along with other local volunteers, helped create will increase biodiversity in the area, reduce the risk of flooding and create a space that people can use to exercise, socialise and relax in.
Susan Dowell, Nicaragua Volunteer
Susan has been passionate about tackling human trafficking for many years, so she decided to focus on this issue through campaigning. Campaigning is an extremely powerful changemaker’s tool which many NGOs use to highlight issues and call for action.
As part of A21’s ‘Walk for Freedom’, Susan spent the weeks leading up to the event raising awareness of the campaign and human trafficking on social media, including posting advice on how to spot and report potential victims of modern slavery.
She fundraised £70 for A21 to help them further their work combating trafficking by educating people to protect them from becoming victims, working with law enforcement to rescue victims and persecute traffickers and providing after-care for survivors.
On the day, Susan joined 50 people in Plymouth who walked in silence through the city.
“We looked very striking, and strangers stopped to take photos of us, including passengers in cars as they drove by. We arrived back at the local church at around 12:30pm, tired but also very happy with the awareness for modern slavery which we had raised in Plymouth. There were now hundreds of people thinking and talking about human trafficking in the city, which they wouldn’t have been doing otherwise.”
Alice Walker-Earwicker, Nicaragua Volunteer
Alice used her Action at Home as an opportunity to continue volunteering overseas, spending 2 months as a Field Coordinator for Health-Point Foundation (HPF); a humanitarian dental relief charity in Greece.
HPF was founded by a group of young dentists and healthcare professionals who wanted to make an impact helping the refugee crisis. The same team are still managing the charity from various points around the world, all on a volunteer basis.
Alice would manage the outreach, working in different refugee camps and housing projects, providing free dentistry and dental education to as many refugees as possible. Volunteering in Greece helped Alice to reflect on her ICS experience:
“The most important part of my Action at Home was communication. Refugees were in Greece from many different countries including Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan and spoke many different languages and dialects. On my ICS placement in Nicaragua we had similar challenges, communicating with the local volunteers and the local community while acknowledging and respecting cultural differences. This really helped prepare me for my Action at Home and taught me how rewarding overcoming cultural barriers can be.”
Kharishma Patel, Tanzania Volunteer
For her Action at Home, Kharishma has embarked on an awareness raising and fundraising campaign for the charity ‘Women & Children First UK’. Her passion for this charity stemmed from experiences on her ICS placement in Tanzania.
“Our team attended a funeral in the village. A girl had died during childbirth. After the ceremony I learnt the girl was 17 years old. This astonished me. Not only the fact that she was 17 but was to give birth to two twins who also died during the delivery. I was lost for words and couldn’t help but cry. Three lives were lost in a moment that should be pure joy. Not to mention the effect this had on her family and people around her. This experience stuck in my head. Pregnancy and childbirth should be a period of optimism and hope. From this point onwards I knew this was what I wanted to base my Action at Home on.”
Channelling this passion, Kharishma ran a sponsored half marathon and gave up one her favourite foods, cheese.
Using various communication channels including; Instagram, Facebook and face-to-face, she made sure that her message had as much impact as possible and even managed to raise 123% of her fundraising target.
Anna Hulbert, Nicaragua Volunteer
Translating her skills developed on ICS to help refugees, Anna volunteered for 2 months on projects in Thessaloniki Greece.
The first of these projects was Soul Food Kitchen, an organisation that provides hot nutritious food to migrants who are sleeping rough. The second, InterEuropean Humanity Association (IHA), is a varied organisation that focusses on distributing resources to refugees and supporting children’s development by leading activities and teaching classes.
We asked Anna how she feels about young people contributing to society:
“When I was in Greece, the majority of projects were not only fuelled by young volunteers but were actually youth-led. One of my coordinators at IHA was only twenty years-old, but had taken on a tremendous amount of responsibility and was doing an incredible job. I think it is a shame that young people are often portrayed as helpless or not as helpful, it simply isn’t true.”
Manika Thapa, Tanzania Volunteer
Manika chose to work with a local youth group, Naya Yuve, to run the Mayor’s Cycling Event in her community. This event is held every year with the aim to raise money and awareness of local charities and issues. Manika volunteered to help set up the event, making sure it was safe for riders, providing information, ensuring everything ran smoothly and that they ‘left no trace’ at the end of the event.
Keen to share her experiences, Manika also showed her fellow volunteers a video of her placement in Tanzania. Inspiring them to take part in similar projects in the future.
“I wanted my action at home to be focused on community service and youth. Naya Yuwa was something that I was aware of for a long time and I found this group to be a perfect fit for me as they focused on bringing young people together with a great initiative to influence change to the community.”
Lucy Beever, Nepal Volunteer
Lucy has been volunteering as Fundraising Coordinator for her local Oxjam group. Oxjam is a country-wide music festival organised by volunteers to raise awareness and money for the international development charity Oxfam. Lucy has spent her days off from work booking venues and artists, and organising fundraisers for the event. On top of this, Lucy has organised a separate fundraiser in which she will be abseiling off the transporter bridge in Middlesbrough!
“This seemed the perfect way to give back to my own town as well as for the developing countries around the world. Yes the money goes to Oxfam, but this festival brings people to Huddersfield and gives local bands the chance to play for big audiences.”
Jasper Wilkins, Nepal Team Leader
Jasper developed a photo exhibition and book in collaboration with Olympus UK. His photographs documented the lives of the people he met whilst volunteering in Gorkha and how they were affected by climate change. Jasper has also set up an organisation called In Focus which aims to create environmental content for NGOs, projects and companies on an international level.
“Climate change is a big issue in Gorkha and this project creates awareness about the realities of the people in the area through photographs and stories.”
Ben Cotterill, Nepal Volunteer
Ben and his friend Josh Kirk raised £205 for Raleigh International projects by completing the Three Peaks Challenge. The Three Peaks Challenge is an event in which participants aim to climb the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales within 24 hours. Ben and Josh handed out leaflets at local charity shops and village halls, and shared posts on social media to raise awareness and fundraise.
“Because of the hardships and challenges faced whilst in Nepal I thought it only fitting that I should choose something physically challenging as a way of sharing Raleigh’s message with those around me. I wanted to show that its worth challenging yourself for this organisation as I did.”
Nathan Young, Nepal Volunteer
Nathan has been interviewing homeless people that he meets during his travels and (with their permission) posting their stories along with a photo to his instagram account @stories_from_the_streets. His photos have attracted the attention of other active citizens. An artist has contacted him to ask if she can use his photos to raise money for a homeless charity. Nathan is also volunteering for a soup kitchen in Australia.
I chose to focus my action at home around homelessness after being in New York and witnessing the large amounts of homeless people and how they are sometimes treated by passers-by.”
Jasmine Bigden, Nepal Volunteer
Jasmine has been campaigning with the charity Ambitious About Autism to raise awareness of the condition in the UK. She made a video about work of the charity, participated in youth council meetings and discussed concerns with Channel 4 over the representation of autistic people in the media. She also appeared on Channel 4 News and a podcast with the author David Mitchell.
“Ambitious About Autism is an organisation close at heart and as someone who is on the spectrum, I have learnt so much from being a youth patron and being able to set an example to other young people. After ICS I was even more inspired to continue with the work which has resulted in being a part of so many events”
Jamie Munro, Nepal Volunteer
Jamie volunteered for the week-long Climatarian Week campaign. The campaign promoted a climate-friendly diet and everyday sustainable food practices. He worked with local restaurants, retail stores, vegetable box deliverers and caterers to provide climate-friendly food options. The campaign also encouraged people to try out the diet for the week, to show people how easy it is to eat a more climate-friendly way.
“The message about the climate impact of food is not very prominent – yet it is a vital issue. I wanted to help raise awareness of the issue. I have realised change can happen through collective individual actions and I believe this is a clear and impactful message that can make a real difference.”