The urge to volunteer. It may come to you mid-way through a lecture, or as you’re pressed up against fellow commuters as you bus it to work. But once you’ve decided to do it, everything starts to move rather quickly.
Before you know it, that vague conviction, the dream of long train journeys, becomes real. There is the plane. And fellow volunteers. And the reality is somehow different – full of unique and wonderful things you never imagined you’d be doing. Things that stretch us to our limits. Push us further than we’ve ever been pushed. Things that put those early daydreams to shame.
Here is a collection of unexpected experiences from some of our recent ICS volunteers.
Launching an international business
Volunteering with Challenges Worldwide ICS helped Abel develop a business idea he'd had since the age of four. He's now launched a brand of eco-friendly sunglasses in Ghana.
Giving this live TV interview
Takyiwa volunteered in Kenya, working to keep girls in school - here she is at the Girls' Education Forum in London speaking to London Live.
Meeting the Prime Minister of Japan
Patrick was one of four former ICS volunteers to attend the Junior G7 Summit in Japan earlier this year. Here he is meeting the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.
Living with host families can come with its surprises – and new pets! VSO ICS volunteers Francisca and Josie here feed the family chickens in their host home in Lindi, Tanzania.
Giving a condom demonstration
International Service volunteers in Ghana are working to decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies – and unsafe abortions – across several communities. Here’s Shaban practising a demonstration on the effective use of contraceptives, which he'll later perform to groups of women.
Competing in the long jump in Nicaragua
Robert’s last ICS organised event on his Progressio placement in Nicaragua was a climate-change themed sports day where, as well as talking about this important issue, the team competed in the long jump, hammer throw and relay race with members of the community.
Building a latrine
Access to working toilets can have an enormous impact on a community. It can help girls keep coming to school. This last cycle of Raleigh ICS volunteers managed to build 13 community latrines during their placement across three regions of Tanzania. Impressive. This is part of Raleigh team’s wider work on Water, Sanitation and Health projects, which also includes teaching children about sanitation as part of the curriculum.