Hundreds of volunteers entered. Thirty were shortlisted. Just five won.
From striking shots of a Bangladeshi schoolgirl raising her voice on sexual harassment to the local people on placement in South Africa that make you feel welcome in your new home – these five photos show volunteering at its best this International Volunteer Day.
Justine Kibler, 31
VSO ICS, Bangladesh, 2017
A young student stands to make a passionate speech to her teenage classmates about her experiences of sexual harassment and what she did to stop it, in the hope of encouraging other students to take a stand and change local attitudes towards gender equality.
In Khulna, Bangladesh, ICS volunteers like Justine have been tackling the issues of child marriage and gender inequality. They run education sessions with students, giving them spaces to talk about issues around gender and sexual harassment openly and safely.
Saket Saurabh, 23
VSO ICS, India, 2018
Volunteers sit around a fire and introduce themselves to their host mother in Jharkhand, India, on the first day of their ICS placement. The host families have been waiting in anticipation to finally meet the volunteers they'll be living with.
Indian volunteer Saket spent three months working with his team to improve livelihoods through education and women’s empowerment. This included supporting community members to set up ‘self-help groups’ that met regularly to address the challenges they faced.
Sam Brownjohn, 30
Raleigh, India, 2015
Children in the village of Shanthinagar, Karnataka State, India weren’t used to washing their hands and there was open defecation. ICS volunteers organised the making of tippy taps with 100 children, sharing information about germs and the importance of hygiene.
On being shortlisted, Sam said: “I am quite surprised and really happy. I went on the programme in 2016, now I work as a filmmaker for an environmental organisation. I have this picture framed in my house and thought if there was one I would submit it would be that one.”
Nadim Hosain Aslam, 25
VSO ICS, Bangladesh, 2017
Pictured is Kazi Mahbub Hasan. Before his wife Rabeya married at 15, she received training on tailoring skills from an NGO and one day dreamt of opening her own store. After two years of saving, Mahbub has finally been able to afford a sewing machine for her – and the pair have opened a shop.
Volunteer Nadim took the photo during his ICS team’s celebrations for International Women’s Day in 2017. They had arranged for Mahbub to speak to an audience about his experience, in which he urged men like Kazi to support and work alongside women.
William Ridgeon, 19
Tearfund ICS, South Africa, 2018
A tuck shop owner looks through the protective metal barrier through which customers purchase food, mobile airtime and groceries at his shop in the village of Kwa Nyuswa, 100 miles south of Durban, South Africa, near where volunteer William’s team were working in Kwazulu Natal.
This man was one of the familiar friendly faces that ICS volunteers like William got used to at the beginning of their placements as their new, unknown lives as volunteers began. Tuck shops are an important meeting place for community members in the townships of South Africa.