A young woman from Louth is preparing to spend three months volunteering on a project to tackle poverty in Bangladesh.
Clare Ballantyne, 19, will travel to Bangladesh in June, where she will work in partnership with young volunteers from Bangladesh and the UK to help lift some of the world’s poorest people out of poverty.
The former KEVIGS pupils will travel with international development organisation Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), as part of the UK government funded International Citizen Service (ICS).
Clare, who is currently studying Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford, will also live with a local host family to fully immerse herself into the community and gain a better understanding of the challenges people there face.
Clare said: “I’m really looking forward to meeting the Bangladeshi volunteers and youth groups we’ll be working alongside in Parbatipur,as well as the host families we’ll be staying with.
“In an area where 64% of people live in poverty, and which has specifically requested the help of ICS, we will hold discussion sessions to find out what people want, and need, to improve in their communities and help them in achieving these goals.
“I’m really excited about helping empower young people to make a positive, lasting change in their community, and in the process learn about the lives and culture of people in Bangladesh!”
ICS allows young people aged 18-25 to contribute to sustainable development projects in Africa and Asia.
Clare said: “As more than half the world’s population is under 25, I think it’s important that young people get involved in projects like these and give their time to help others if they can.
“I believe that volunteering allows young people to be part of something bigger than themselves, and this enables them to learn not just about other communities, cultures, and perspectives, but also about their own strengths and abilities. “
Before Clare leaves for Bangladesh she needs to raise £800 for VSO, which will ensure communities in developing countries continue to benefit from the work of future volunteers.
She has already been involved in a coffee morning, and last Saturday she undertook a 20 mile litter pick from Grimsby to Louth, on the ‘Silver Lincs Way’ in under 11 hours - collecting 26 bags of litter, including nine of recyclables (pictured, top-right).
Clare will also live below the poverty line for five days, spending than £1 a day on all food and drink.
She added: “I have been amazed by the generosity and support I have received so far, but would love to smash my target and raise as much as possible for this great charity!
“If you’d like to support me, please visit my JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/clare-ballantyne”
After she has returned to the UK, Clare will also take on an ‘Action at Home’ project, ensuring that her new skills also benefit the local community.
Felicity Morgan, Director of ICS at VSO, said: “Clare will be joining thousands of other ICS volunteers who are doing amazing work around the world, every day.
“We’re incredibly proud that UK aid is supporting young Brits to bring about positive change in some of the world’s poorest communities.
• To find out more about ICS or to apply, visit www.volunteerics.org.