Paschal Masalu

Paschal Masalu

Tanzania 2013

Why did you go on Raleigh?

Since I was a little boy I’ve had very deep feelings about helping Tanzanian people. I began to realise how hard the lives of many Tanzanians are and these feelings of humanity and caring drove me to make plans on how to help these communities. I heard about Raleigh at my school in January 2013, and because I wanted to be a source of change for Tanzanian communities, I took the chance to join a Raleigh Expedition in Tanzania in June 2013. I saw it as an opportunity for me to go into different communities and to raise awareness of important development issues.

What are your best memories of Expedition?

I have found that many things happened during my Expedition that changed my life in a big way. I was working in groups of people of different nationalities and historical backgrounds, but we all believed in the same thing; the desire to change the lives of people in different communities, and I will never forget that.

It was very hard for me at the beginning, but trekking was the thing I remember best, and it has made an impact my whole life. Having crackers with tuna, sardines and tiny beans instead of my proper Tanzanian dish was a great experience in my life! I just found that I can now live anywhere with what I have, no matter how small that may be.

What you have done since your Raleigh Expedition?

Soon after my Expedition, I went to continue my studies and joined The Institute of Finance Management (IFM) in Tanzania, pursuing a Bachelor in Banking and Finance. It can be very hard to study whilst doing other activities here in Tanzania, but I decided there was little use in keeping my Raleigh experience in the store without using it!

In October 2013 I launched a Facebook page in order to raise awareness of sustainable development amongst young people. I aimed to give them the knowledge on how they can be the source of change into their own communities, whilst highlighting different opportunities for them to get involved with. After a year, I took another step and decided to put online awareness raising into practice by establishing a Youth Network, named “Youth and Community Development”. It is all about encouraging young people to get involved in different activities to make a positive change in their communities, helping street children and other young people in need.

One of my rules to live by is to not focus too much on small things. This is the spirit I gained from Raleigh; by working together we can make large, sustainable changes. I decided to put my whole Raleigh history in a form of a book, and I thank God that I completed the book at the end of 2014. It is now my hope that I will get find funding to publish it so that other young people like me can know the advantages of taking part in a Raleigh Expedition.

What impact do you think your time with Raleigh had on your life both personally and professionally?

My volunteering experience is a long story, so long that I wrote a book about it to properly explain how much it benefitted me! Among the main benefits has been learning how to network with other international organisations and individual activists around the world, and to develop personally in terms of skills and capabilities, becoming aware of time management and teamwork. Due to the experience I have gained, many small organisations use me as their consultant, which is a big compliment!

Did your Expedition have an impact on the way you see the world?

What I can say: I am not the same as I was before. The communities in which we worked have also changed a lot; we are working to empower groups such as young people and women, assuring the conservation of the environment and other many things that we were doing on our Expedition.

How important do you think young people are to international development going forward?

In the years to come, international development depends on the efforts of young people. Young people are the source of change; they can make an impact directly in communities, they have skills, passion and energy which we need to utilise effectively is we want international development to be successful and sustainable.

My top tip for volunteers is…

You can volunteer anywhere, but I assure you that Raleigh Expeditions are the best actions to be involved with. You will experience many new things, meet new friends and make a good network. You will never leave a Raleigh Expedition as you went in; you will come out with a diamond that will shine throughout your whole life.

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