Asia, blogging101, charity, fundraising, Graduate, graduate life, ICS, International Citizen Service, JustGiving, Nepal, News, Personal, Restless Development, target, Travel, Travelling, volunteer, volunteering, Voluntourism
I have finally made a huge life (and blog) changing decision that I am thrilled to finally share with you all.
In July I will be travelling to Nepal for three months, with a group of complete strangers, to work with different communities on a variety of projects – ranging from healthcare to education. I am both terrified and excited and I cannot wait to share my journey with you all!
I am volunteering as part of the International Citizen Service (ICS) and I will specifically be working with Restless Development. Their whole focus is on youth-led development and, particularly in Nepal, there is a strong focus on women and young girls which really drew me towards working with them.
I actually applied for the scheme at the end of January. Exactly one month ago on he 27th. I wanted to travel after graduating but a) I couldn’t afford it and b) I didn’t want to fall into the ‘voluntourism’ trap. There are plenty of schemes which cost you £1000s and for every two days you spent volunteering in a school, you spend five by a beach. That might be great to some – but if I am volunteering I want to make a genuine difference. On this scheme I will become integrated with a local community, will live with a host family, and I will be paired up with an in-country volunteer who knows the area. I will be so busy that there won’t be much time for travelling. The charity has been involved with these communities for years and the focus is on long-term development and genuinely making a difference to people’s lives.
As part of the scheme I have to raise £800 for the charity, and I have already been blown away by the generosity of family, friends, and even complete strangers. This money does not go towards paying for my flights/visa/injections etc, but instead goes towards ensuring that the amazing work that Restless Development do can continue.
I have found this part quite challenging. Firstly because I am asking people for money, and I completely understand that most of my friends are in massive debt/barely have enough for themselves, and secondly having to approach companies and complete strangers to ask them for help. I am organising a raffle, a cake/Krispy Kreme sale, and I’m selling a tonne of my belongings on eBay… my organisational skills are definitely improving. And I feel good that I am making more people aware of the charity which is great. I am still trying to think of something ‘big’ that I can do – I’ve considered shaving my hair off but it take so long to grow (sad times) – so if you have any suggestions then please leave a comment and let me know!
On a side note if you are willing/able to contribute towards my fundraising I would be eternally grateful. I have set up a JustGiving page to track my progress and simplify the whole process and you can view that/see my running total at https://www.justgiving.com/EmmaCPrice. So far I have raised £202 so far in 5 days which is incredible!
Alternatively if you are in the UK you can text EPRD55 and your amount (which can be anything from £1-20… good if you have any leftover phone credit, hinthint) to 70070!
Whether you donate or not I will still continue to track my progress from pre-departure training through to my experiences whilst I am in Nepal, depending on how often I can get access to an internet café! And I will probably direct many of my friends and family to this blog (hello if you are reading) to see more about my trip. I’m not going to become a travel blog overnight, and will still share my random musings with you all, but there may be a different focus at times and I may be a bit quiet in the months from July through to September.
This journey to Nepal has effectively delayed all of my future plans, which means I will potentially be living at home for another year. But that is the only negative that I can think of, and it will be worth it. I hope.
I can’t wait to share more about my journey with you all!
“If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough.” — Mario Andretti