Sara Bouremoum, Frances Ellis, Victoria Blades, Alison Peel & Bryony Simms – Nicaragua Team Leaders
Sara, Frances, Victoria, Alison and Bryony walked 96 miles along the West Highland Way over 7 days to raise money for their host communities. They raised over £2000 to help a cooperative, to help a student with university fees and to build a renewable energy resource.
COMJERUMA is a cooperative of young apiculturists in the Somoto region, which provides training to young people to improve youth employment and contribute to the development of sustainable businesses. Host sister Yanaira will be able to finish university, the first person to do so in her family, and in San Marcos, where they have no running water, roads or electricity, two solar panels will create more opportunities for the residents.
“The people we have chosen to support with the funds are people we lived, worked, ate and laughed with. We formed an important part of each others lives and even after returning from Nicaragua we did not want the support to stop there. My Action at Home project has meant that the people we spent so long with will know that they have not been forgotten by us and that we aim to help them achieve their goals despite the fact that our Raleigh ICS placement has ended.”
Jake Neal – Nepal Volunteer
Jake has been raising awareness of Raleigh ICS in numerous ways in his community and online. He has delivered presentations to local colleges and secondary schools about his time on placement, as well as teaching about the sustainable development goals, cross-cultural learning and personal development. Jake has remained involved with Raleigh by sharing his experience at pre-departure training and marketing events.
Jake’s story has been featured in two of his local newspapers which highlight his placement projects. He has also made an appearance on his local news channel Mustard TV, being interviewed about the Raleigh Nepal projects and the importance of volunteering.
He now volunteers for Norwich International Youth Project which provides anybody with a refugee or asylum seeker background with an environment they can feel comfortable in. His role is to help refugees do everyday tasks to make it easier to integrate in the community.
“The project is mainly centred around socializing and making sure everybody is comfortable and happy, so with that in mind I think I help a few of the members come out of their shells a little by spending some time with them and cracking some jokes.”
Priyanka Kaur, Nicaragua Volunteer
Priyanka started an initiative called ‘Shower and Squash’ at the health club she works at after finding that there were many homeless people needing to use the facilities who were taken aback by the price. After discussions with management, she facilitated the partnership with the local homeless charity Cherish who help to manage the free Shower and Squash drop-in sessions at the health club every week. If the trial proves successful, the project has scope to expand to other branches nationwide.
“Being able to shower will be a huge confidence booster for these individuals and should help them obtain jobs. As a part of the project, we are also issuing each person that comes in with a membership ID card. This will help to create a sense of ownership for that person and help with self-confidence”.
Lydia Chester, Nicaragua Volunteer
Lydia wanted to encourage young people to take an interest in social action so she started a blog called Be Change. Since its creation, the blog has reached over 3,000 people and includes regular stories from Lydia and 18 other contributors who cover a wide range of topics. More recently, Lydia also started an Etsy store selling Nicaraguan inspired handmade bracelets where customers can choose what charity the profits go to. So far, she has raised £60 for UNICEF, Samaritans and Hope For Justice. She has also spoke at various youth groups about the importance of social action and sustainable living.
“My ICS experience inspired me to use my privileged position to help those who are less fortunate. This is something I am personally trying to do but I wanted to encourage and inspire others to understand too.”
Leanne George, Nicaragua Volunteer
Leanne organised an event focused on promoting awareness of mental health, the voice and strength of women and also the stigma and stereotypes in cultural diversity. Her goal was to provide a platform for young creatives to perform, exhibit, share and express their views, opinions and grievances with the stated issues. It was a public event with 150 guests and the proceeds went to a charity helping women in Nicaragua. There were performances of spoken word, live music and dance, DJ sets and an art exhibition.
“It is important to remember that our hope for change should start at home, should be youth led and can empower others.”
Anisa Patel & Anna Christopher, Tanzania Volunteers
Anisa and Anna have created a bi-monthly magazine called The Earthlings Project. Earthlings contains various stories of homeless people around the UK and other parts of the world. It will also contain articles relating to the problems causing homelessness. Currently, there are five contributors, one of whom is in India and will be deconstructing the class division and displacement of people due to societal and environmental conditions. Read Issue 1 of The Earthlings Project.
“I think this will have a great impact on showing people that homeless people are just like us and should steer away from the negative stigma.”
Emily Kemp, Tanzania Volunteer
Emily worked with Mind to deliver a mental health awareness-raising workshop for teachers and staff at a secondary school. The workshop aimed to break down the stigma of mental illness.
She also volunteers once-a-week at a day centre for people with learning disabilities. She helps them to do activities, encouraging independent skills and safeguarding. Emily has become leader of her local Cub Scouts Pack, saving it from closing down. She helps them have fun, make friends and enjoy their childhood. Emily has continued to be a residents representative of her YMCA building to help encourage young vulnerable people to get their voice heard on the issues of the building.
“The biggest thing I experienced in Tanzania was this beautiful sense of community. It was strong, caring and powerful. It made me sad to go home because of how divided our country is and how there is so much hate speech and a ‘us and them’ attitude going on.”
Jasmin Clatworthy, Tanzania Volunteer
Jasmin volunteers with the charity Feed the Homeless to distribute hot food, drinks, clothing, bedding and toiletries to homeless people in Bristol. She is working on validating numbers of homeless people for the council, and in the run-up to the election she was offering advice on how homeless people can register to vote.
She also volunteers once-a-fortnight with 365 Shelter, which offers a safe alternative to a night on the streets. She provides entertainment for the guests, bringing her guitar and singing with other volunteers and guests, as well as hosting quizzes and games or reads stories.
Through volunteering, she has found that charities cannot rely solely on donations, so she is fundraising by running a 10k in July to raise money for the shelter. As well as this, she has organised a bake sale at work to help raise money for Comic Relief, and has started an initiative for the company to reduce the amount of plastic they use.
“I am passionate about helping those around me and getting more involved in my community and I have found volunteering the best way to achieve this. It has been empowering to expand my knowledge and skills, and also create change not only for those around me but personally too and I feel I have grown because of this.”
Laura Parker, Tanzania Volunteer
Laura hosted a fundraising quiz for Help Refugees, attended by 60 people. She raised almost £400 through entry tickets, a raffle and cake sale. She used the money to purchase items on the ‘urgent’ list and took them to Calais to distribute to refugees. While at the site in Calais, she worked in the community kitchen providing hot, fresh food to those in need. Each day, the kitchen provided over 1000 hot meals to refugees in two locations. The work involved long hours preparing fresh vegetables for meals.
“As a result of my Action at Home, I believe that I will encourage others my age, and those both older and younger to get out there and make a small positive change to an unfortunate bigger picture.”
Melissa Cheney, Tanzania Volunteer
Melissa delivered a presentation to 150 students at her old university about ICS and how it inspired her to become more involved in her community. She spoke about food poverty, highlighting the increased food bank dependency in the area, and provided students with actions they can take to help.
She has also been volunteering at her local food bank, organising donated parcels and supporting the food bank users. To get her family and friends involved, Melissa held a collection night for the food bank which resulted in lots of donations and guests signing up to volunteer as well.
“I got a lot of pleasure and peace of mind knowing that I helped so many young people in the community we worked with. This satisfaction I got from helping continued when I got home and I have been volunteering as much as I can at my local food bank and have been raising awareness about it since. If I hadn’t done ICS, I wouldn’t have known how much I enjoyed helping people as much as I do now.”