International Citizen Service (ICS) is a global volunteering experience which supports young people from all backgrounds to make a real difference to some of the world’s poorest people. This new initiative, launched by the Prime Minister and funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), will give thousands of 18-22 year olds across the UK the chance to join in the fight against global poverty.
I was fortunate enough to help set up some of the first projects in Rwanda in 2007, meeting David Cameron and watching him supporting the volunteers from his own parties ranks. The Conservative Party took is first baby steps with ‘Project Umubano’, which was the first major ‘social action’ project for the party; now look at how that baby has grown! No doubt that positive experiences from participants in Project Umubano over the past few years has helped David Cameron and his DfID team shape this new initiative. Hopefully it will make more young people aware and interested in development issues.
Find out more about the International Citizen Service and forward this to anyone you know between 18 and 22 quick, places are sure to go soon! There is a FAQ here.
Coming from a country that has the luxury of stability, plenty of food and no shortage of opportunities for those prepared to study and work hard, it is easy to forget that the majority of people that share our world are not quite so fortunate.
Many millions of people lead a daily life that can only be described as a struggle. A struggle to earn enough to send children to school, clothe them and pay for medical treatment. Fighting disease and the elements to grow enough food to feed your family and the ever present spectre of natural disaster. Not to mention those who, on top of all this, have to live within corrupt regimes, endure political instability and dodge fighting warlords from one side or the other.
Wider awareness from us in the ‘developed’ world is a starting point, because awareness leads to understanding. Only once we understand the problems can we join the quest for solutions.
Who knows, you might be helping to make images like this a thing of the past……