Student’s ‘adventure of a lifetime’ on International Citizen Service


A student has urged all youngsters to sign up to International Citizen Service after returning from the “adventure of a lifetime” by volunteering in Nepal.


Mollie Sheffield, 19, from Hollesley, spent three months of her gap year in Nepal volunteering with the charity organisation Raleigh International.

This scheme is part of the International Citizen Service, a UK government-funded programme offering volunteering opportunities to 18 to 25-year-olds, which enabled Mollie to work with rural communities to promote sanitation and hygiene.

Mollie said she felt fully immersed in Nepalese culture, where she lived with a host family and shared their cultural practices every day.

From building hand-washing stations to teaching a local women’s group how to make homemade sanitary pads, Mollie has stressed that the organisation offered plenty of opportunities to become fully involved in the project.

As well as giving her a chance to bring about change in developing communities, volunteering gave Mollie a chance to stand out when writing her personal statement for university.

“Volunteering on the whole is well-received on these platforms as it can show self-motivation,” Mollie said.

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“Universities definitely search for extra-curricular activities and this is a great one to show off teamwork skills and confidence.”

Whilst the UK government’s Department for International Development funds 90% of the International Citizen Service programme, the other 10% is funded by fundraising from the volunteer.

Mollie had to fundraise £800 and so spent a few months promoting her project on social media, where she received donations from friends and family, as well as organising cake sales.

Mollie urged all 18 to 25-year-olds to get involved with this programme for both the development of poor countries, as well as their own personal self-development.

“Prior to my experience I did not believe I had the confidence and potential to take on a challenge like this,” she said.

“It’s so important that other young people can recognise this potential they have too.”

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