I begin writing this blog the day before I depart on my 12 week expedition to Nepal, nerves jittering about with excitement (and chips), thinking about what the road ahead will be. But first, I should really introduce myself.
Hello! My name is Will, I’m 19, and I’m a Global Poverty Ambassador from the rural heart of Northern Ireland. I’m about to head to Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world, for 12 weeks to perform charity work with youth-led development agency Restless Development. I’m going to brave this one and tell you a little secret – I’m on a Gap Year – but before you judge me as one of the wealthy few in beige shorts, plain tee and floppy-yet-ever-so-styled-hair I want to prove to you that for me it’s a little bit different.
Gap Year’s get a bad press, but it’s a great way of getting young people engaged with international development issues, and the Department for International Development (DFID) has recognised this. Therefore they are providing the opportunity for young people (aged 18-25) to engage in a scheme called International Citizen Service (ICS). The scheme provides the opportunity for all young people to engage in issues affecting the world’s poor, regardless of their social and financial background. We are paired up with citizens from the placement country (e.g. Nepal!) and work in existing organisations performing work that will make a real difference. I’m excited about this opportunity, believing it will inform my work with the Global Poverty Project, allowing me to appreciate what it’s really like to live on less than $1.25 per day; by living in communities where that is a reality.
This is only a short blog before I depart, as I really should go and start packing…(maybe my organisational skills will develop over there….?) But you shall be hearing about me more in the future…
*Image by Jean-Marie Hullot