Drum roll, please…
I am going to Bangladesh for 16 weeks in January!
I am volunteering with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) on a development programme and living with a host family in a rural community in the northwest of the country. I’ll be working alongside volunteers from the UK and Bangladesh on a project developing and strengthening women-run enterprises in the handicrafts sector. I’m going out as a Team Leader, which means I’ll have eight UK and eight Bangladeshi volunteers to look after, as well as helping to run the project, alongside a Bangladeshi counterpart.
This is part of International Citizen Service (ICS) – a Department for International Development scheme which brings young people together to fight poverty and make a difference where it is needed most. ICS works with communities that have specifically requested their help. It also aims to inspire young people in the UK and overseas to become active citizens who are passionate about long-term community development.
It has all been a complete whirlwind since VSO offered me the placement last week and I am super excited about going! I think it’s going to be a real challenge – living in a rural community, looking after the young volunteers, being away from home – but it’s going to be so rewarding. It might sound a bit naff but I’m really looking forward to using my experience and skills to help people in a really poor country as well as young people in this country.
I’ve got so much to do over the coming weeks. I already have two training sessions in the diary and there’s all the usual pre-travel admin of vaccinations, visas and, of course, an awesome spreadsheet to track it all! I also have to do some fundraising for VSO – I need to raise £800 which will enable more young people to participate in ICS on sustainable development programmes. Any contribution you can make will make a real difference to the lives of people in developing countries – you can head over to my JustGiving page to find out more.
I’m not quite sure yet what kind of connectivity I’ll have once I’m in Bangladesh but I am hoping I will be able to blog all through my preparation and once I’m out on the project so please stay tuned! I’d love to hear from anyone who has done anything similar – I’m (understandably) about 10% terrified and 90% excited at the moment!