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

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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.

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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.


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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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