Six months ago, I began my International Citizen Service (ICS) placement with Progressio in Honduras. Honduras is a developing country with many serious issues and the educational system is underfunded. Our main goal was to visit the local schools and teach the school children about the dangers of drug abuse. Our aim was not only to steer the children away from drugs, but also to point them in a better direction, towards success and a better quality of life. We were there only for three months, and we spent just a day at each school. It seems like a pretty ambitious goal; to improve someone’s life in a day.
At the schools, we talked to children about good study habits and self-esteem. One of the exercises we did with the children was to ask them to stand up in front of the class and say something about themselves that they liked. There is an indescribable feeling when you see a young person smile when they see something great within themselves. We did this at every school we went to; 2500 young people in total.
I like to think that our work was important, that what I did mattered. I would hope that every child that we came across learnt something good. I know that we didn’t instantly change the lives of all those children, but maybe we helped to plant a small seed in their minds. A seed that has the potential to do great and amazing things, to strive for an education, to be successful, to have a family and live a life full of abundance. If what we did affected the life of just one child, I will consider my placement a triumphant success.
You may be thinking about undertaking an ICS placement with Progressio. My advice is that it’s a great opportunity to be part of something great, to give something back and to develop yourself. If you have the time, do it now, because life gets busy and ‘later’ often becomes ‘never’. When I returned to England, I was not the same person I was when I left. I met some of the kindest and most hard working people I’ve ever known, and now I have the privilege of calling them my friends. My whole experience and what I’ve learnt can’t be condensed down to a blog post, but I hope I have provided you with a glimpse of my experience.
Written by ICS Alumni Pritesh Pankhania (April - June 2015 cycle, Honduras)