“I didn’t have great job prospects and I wasn’t very independent or confident. Going to Uganda with Restless Development changed all that. I’ve grown a lot – it’s been incredible.”
“It was an honour to be asked to appear in the advert!”
ICS allows young people aged 18-25 to contribute to long-term development projects in countries like South Africa, Sierra Leone and Nepal. The scheme offers young people the chance to develop personally and learn about team working and leadership on projects that are of genuine value to communities around the world. On return to the UK, ICS volunteers undertake an ‘Action at Home Project’, ensuring that their new skills also benefit their local communities.
Since returning from Uganda in January, Brett has started work at Young Addaction, a drugs and alcohol project in Halton. He also volunteers at Canal Boat Adventure Project, where he’s involved in running a number of projects including Young Campaigner, MAD Halton (Young Advisors) and National Citizen Service. He also volunteers for Catch22 and Liverpool's Housing Trust.
Norma Hornby from Halton’s Canal Boat Adventure Project said:
"Brett’s first involvement with the Canal Boat Adventure Project was developed through our National Citizen Service programme in 2011, this was delivered in partnership with Young Addaction, Halton. Brett's progress since he returned from Restless Development’
Brett has some advice for young people in Runcorn who are considering applying for ICS:
“Just be confident, committed and ready for a challenge, and you can go and make your mark in the world. ICS is for young people from across the UK who are ready to give something back and gain experiences, opportunities and have a great time.”
Danielle Murray, 20, also from Runcorn, will be following in Brett’s footsteps when she goes to Uganda in January 2013 with ICS. She will spend 12 weeks living and working with local young people on a project to fight poverty and raise awareness of sexual and reproductive health issues.
“I have always been passionate about global poverty, and I’m interested in learning about other cultures. I’m excited about living and working with young Ugandan volunteers too.”
To raise funds for her place on the programme, Danielle, who is terrified of spiders, held a tarantula in a local pet shop for over five minutes. She also ran a bake sale at Hill View Primary School in Beechwood. Danielle’s fundraising is a way of making sure developing countries can continue to benefit from the work of future volunteers.
ICS pairs groups of UK volunteers with young people from a developing country. Volunteers do pre-departure fundraising towards ICS, engaging them in community action before they leave the UK. Together, UK and in-country volunteers work on a development project, live together and share experiences and insights. The projects they work on overseas are suggested by local people, addressing the needs of the community. The UK volunteers are drawn from across the country and from a wide range of backgrounds. Once they return to the UK, volunteers participate in social action projects.
ICS is funded by the Department for International Development and currently works in 28 developing countries across the world. By 2015 it aims to recruit and train 7,000 UK young people and 7,000 young people from developing countries, who will go on to become active citizens who are passionate about and involved in community-based volunteering. In least developed countries under-25s make up 60% of the population, so young people are integral to development. ICS works through young people, for young people, to empower them and encourage them to take responsibility for their own development and bring about positive change in their communities.
All ICS projects are appropriate to the skills young people can bring. Working together, the UK volunteers and in country volunteers contribute to a broader development programme. ICS volunteers are placed where developing communities have specifically asked for their energy and enthusiasm.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has endorsed the scheme, saying:
"The International Citizen Service programme will have a real impact on the lives of both those abroad and our young people from the UK, not just over the next three years but for years to come.
"The service will create thousands of international development champions, bringing together young people from all walks of life. This life-changing experience is a chance for young volunteers from all over the country to really understand the many challenges faced by people from very poor countries, and to do something positive to help. It will not only broaden their horizons but it will build the confidence necessary to achieve their personal and professional goals in later life.
“We all know the passion, dedication and skills that young people have to offer. It is this that will be the real driving force to bring about change, and to really help tackle poverty locally."
To find out more and to apply for a placement in 2013, visit: www.RestlessDevelopment.org/