“I’m a different person now,” says 19-year-old VSO ICS volunteer Georgia Deegan. She’s been back just two weeks in the UK after spending three months in the rural Nigerian village of Oke Ode. We caught up with Georgia to find out more about her life on placement.
One second a day
“Our aim was to improve the quality of education and empower the youth,” explains Georgia.
“Throughout the summer we led inclusive learning spaces with small groups, focusing on drama, spelling bees, arts and crafts and debate.
“We helped the children to draw and learn about the solar system and use resources around their community to create art.”
Georgia’s group ran the projects to help the youth have something to focus on during their summer break – a time that they are normally expected to help their parents and spend working.
“Our project enabled them to escape their normal routine and enjoy themselves with other youth members.”
Life back home
“Adapting to life back in the UK has been much harder than I expected. I thought I’d jump back into my old routines, but instead I’ve found myself really missing the community and family I lived with.
“I definitely feel like a 'different' person now I'm home. I have a completely different outlook. ICS really opens your mind and encourages you to embrace a new culture and way of life.
“There’s no way I expected to enjoy living in Nigeria as much as I did. I have returned home less ignorant and more grateful for the facilities and opportunities I have access to on a daily basis.”
Making fashion more ethical
“Now I'm back I want to start fundraising for the charity Dig Deep, with the plan to climb Kilimanjaro next summer to raise funds. Dig Deep works with schools and communities in rural Kenya to secure access to water and sanitation.
“And as a fashion marketing student, I’m going to go back to university to tailor my studies around the environment and sustainable fashion. I’ve been inspired by seeing the amount of waste in Oke Ode to learn about how the industry could become more ethical.”
I struggled to choose shots for the video
“So much happened every day I struggled to pick a single second of each day for the video. I often tried to get natural shots of the children or volunteers playing and working with one another.
“My favourite moment from recording the video was when my fellow UK volunteer Tom disturbed a meeting by shouting ‘the floor is lava’ and climbing onto a chair.
“So my message to future volunteers: completely throw yourself into the project and be open minded. You get back what you put into it.”
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