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Monday, November 30, 2015

Josh tell us about his experience working in Bolivia

A foot in the door of International Development

As I write this I am coming to end of my stay in Bolivia, and without sounding cliché it has certainly been a journey that has changed my life. It has always been a dream of mine to work within international development, a topic which has influence my studies at University. This was opportunity not to be missed, a chance to live and work in South America for three months in community development. I jumped at the chance and it is a decision will never forget. I have met so many people and worked with organisations that inspire me to persevere down the road of International development. 

An example of one of the organisations I have worked with is the Children’s Cancer charity AVCCI, which works tirelessly to improve and enrich the lives of children who are suffering and have suffered from cancer.  It goes without saying that Bolivia is a developing country and its potential is outstanding however at this exact moment it does not have the funds to pay for up-to-date specialist equipment to deal with children with cancer. Therefore the survival rate is devastatingly low. It is up to AVCCI to do what they can for these children, and we as volunteers have been blessed with the opportunity to help them. We have done this through a variety of ways such as the 12 Km walk for life to Support Children with cancer.

We walked in the gruelling heat, through the steep mountain roads and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. The walk was stunning with birds eye views of the valleys and towns below, it was extremely inspiring to see so many people off all ages out and determined to finish the walk. I admit, I am not the most active person physically however I was energised by the prospect that this could make a difference to life a child. Walking with good friends and good people didn’t hurt either. Other chances for us to raise awareness for the charity included visiting a university and campaigning for blood donations (a very successful day!), being interviewed in national radio (an amazing experience!) and performing workshops with both the parents and children.




The workshops have mainly been in regards to improving health for example the previous workshop we completed revolved around the topic of nutrition, identifying what foods are beneficial for improving the strength of the child. Forget the image of poor, starving and unhappy children, the children were happy, funny and very cheeky but absolutely beautiful.

Before I become the volunteer, I will freely admit I had the wrong idea about what would be needed from me. I have quickly come to realise that sympathy is not on the list. The local people do not need pity, they need a chance. 

I do not believe in voluntourism, as I think it is insulting and degrading to the local people, but the other volunteers I have met here both in-country and British have been full of life and love. They are genuine people who WANT to help and see the people of Bolivia thrive and succeed in life, and I sincerely hope they do too. 

I am happy to call myself a volunteer for ICS, I have met the most beautiful people, seen ACTUAL change, been introduced to a gorgeous & underestimated country and for me personally I have been given the chance to see I could have future in international development. Now I know, I can do it! 

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