After Nicaragua promised to be my final major international development placement abroad I’ve since returned to the UK and established volunteer-led social enterprise, Global Amigos.
The aim of this grassroots project in Preston is to inspire, and hopefully help, others go beyond the Lancashire borders to see the world and learn from other cultures. Leading by example and to research a potential charity for us to recommend in future years, I’ve consequently signed up to the Chennai Challenge for summer 2017.
This involves heading to India for the month of August to work with a local organisation; a school and orphanage that exists to help slum kids living in the South of India. I’ll be undertaking the role of volunteer mentor and also social media manager; it is through these roles which I intend to have the greatest impact; helping UK volunteers improve their skills and confidence whilst also boosting the profile of the charity. The work we will do on the ground varies from maintenance work to the buildings and educational & sports activities with the orphans and children living in the slums.
One of the aims of the UK-based charity, Channai Challenge, broadly speaking, is to provide opportunities to UK would-be volunteers that can work around work schedules and normal lives. As an example, Rob, the Project Leader, is a teacher in the Midlands. Throughout the summer though (and part time leading up to the trips) he dedicates his time to enabling this work to continue. I very much see a long term relationship for myself, and hopefully Global Amigos, developing here – my ultimate aim would be for Global Amigos to send some of our volunteers away with the Chennai Challenge in future years.
Due to the infancy of Global Amigos, there’s nothing set in stone with respect to the longer term ambitions but, on a worse-case scenario, I’ll use the enterprise as a signposting platform to ensure local people interested in international volunteering don’t get conned or ripped off by commercial operators. There are loads of incredible opportunities out there, where the impact is measured and worthwhile and, if next year, only one other person embarks on a similar opportunity then that’d be worthwhile in my eyes.
>>> Chennai Challenge is 100% volunteer-led and relies on donations. I’m consequently fundraising and would LOVE for anyone reading this to support my efforts. If you have a few quid to donate you can do so via Just Giving or by texting “LYFE89 £5” to 70070. Alternatively, you may pimp out my services in exchange for payment. If neither of these options seem viable, could you share this post at least?
Mucho gracias – Here’s to a new opportunity to shine.
To trade a service / time for a donation email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate directly via Just Giving, head to: www.justgiving.com/andy-neale-india
To learn more about the UK-based charity I’m going with, head to www.chennaichallenge.com
To learn more about the Social Enterprise I launched after Nicaragua, see www.globalamigos.org.uk
To share this on your own social media copy this text & paste it into your status: www.globalamigo.co.uk/global-amigos-and-india