Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity. We inspire communities and young people around the world to create lasting change.
We are looking for volunteers to join the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme. ICS is a once-in-a-lifetime volunteering opportunity open to all 18-25 year olds. The programme is led by VSO and funded by the UK government. ICS is delivered by respected development organisations, of which Raleigh is one.With Raleigh ICS you could spend 10-12 weeks in Nepal, Nicaragua or Tanzania working to improve people's access to safe water and sanitation, or supporting women and young people to set up local businesses and improve their livelihoods.Thousands of people have already created lasting change with ICS.Will you challenge yourself to change your world?
Ellie, 22, volunteered with ICS in Nicaragua
"I applied to Raleigh ICS a few months after finishing university. Torn between the desire to travel and needing to find a graduate job, the idea of experiencing life in a completely different environment whilst working on a sustainability project seemed like the perfect way for me to spend the next part of my life. For me, one of my biggest challenges was explaining to my friends and family exactly what it was that I would be doing and why I was jetting off to a remote village in rural Nicaragua for ten weeks. I've often thought that volunteering receives a bad name in the UK, and I was worried people would assume this trip I was taking was simply a cheap excuse to travel and have a holiday, or simply put off looking for a 'real' job. Starting my placement with Raleigh I realised that this certainly wasn't the case. Raleigh has a core focus on sustainability and you spend the entirety of the project in the same assigned area, alongside like-minded volunteers keen to learn about the world. Yet the first week was still challenging for me. Living in a Spanish-speaking community, with only the very basics of the language and little knowledge about international development, my doubts began to creep in once again. I was placed on a Natural Resources Management project, in a village called Los Martinez, with the target of forming a dedicated committee made up of community members to help manage the maintenance of a Gravity Water System, which we would be helping to build. I felt as though I needed an MA in Development, a month's training in infrastructure and a few Spanish courses to be of any use. Despite this, barely two weeks later I realised that all the relevant degrees in the world wouldn't have automatically meant I was going to connect with the people of Los Martinez and understand their needs. By sleeping in their homes, sharing their food and living as they did every day, I understood not only that anyone can help internationally, but also that there is no clear blueprint set out for people who want to help developing countries. Right now, it's all relative. Placed in a group with other volunteers I didn't know I learnt to work with and form friendships with people I would have once thought I could not. ICS has built me as a person because I have learned to accept that the work of volunteers and development is still in the stages of development itself. But with Raleigh you tackle one of the most important aspects of the process - understanding and connecting with the people you want to help in the first place. Finishing our project was even more satisfying because we worked with the community throughout and I was really able to live their lives for a small time and in turn, get to grips with their needs. In the same way I was sceptical about how I could really make an impact in Los Martinez, I once thought that making a difference at home was impossible, i.e. living a more sustainable lifestyle. I assumed my efforts to help others and the environment would simply go unnoticed. Now I know that all I have to do is start small - understand what I am capable of changing, for example where I shop, being conscious of which products I buy and how ethical they are. If you want to make a difference you have to start somewhere simple, otherwise the concept of trying to 'save the world' will be sure to overwhelm. I now work as a Marketing and PR Assistant for a company called Investors in People, that sits within the Department of Education. I work to help organisations implement good people management structures, focusing on health and well-being of staff, equal employment opportunities and learning and development. Volunteering with Raleigh influenced my decision to work for a company that promotes better working lives and ultimately a more progressive society. As an active citizen I believe we all have a responsibility to contribute positively to the society in which we live - using whatever skills we have and whatever position we are in - in my case creative marketing and public relations!"
Thousands of people have already created lasting change with ICS. Will you challenge yourself to change your world?
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