Last Tuesday (15 May 2012), in Glasgow, the International Development Minister Alan Duncan met volunteers from the International Citizen Service scheme. This meeting encouraged young Scottish people to apply for a 'life-changing' volunteering scheme to help tackle poverty overseas. Progressio, which is a partner organization and is one of the scheme hosts, was very proud to see one of its volunteers, Dion Corbett talk about her experience abroad.
The International Citizen Service (ICS), backed by the UK government, offers young people from all walks of life the chance to volunteer overseas. They can help some of the world's poorest people while gaining valuable life and professional skills.
Speaking after his meeting with ICS volunteers at the Department for International Development's (DFID) East Kilbride offices, Alan Duncan said: "ICS is a great opportunity and I urge more young Scots to volunteer. They have the chance to make a lasting difference and learn valuable skills at the same time. It's wonderful to meet these volunteers today and to hear such inspiring stories. ICS has changed their lives as well as the lives of some of the world’s poorest people."
ICS will send 7,000 young people from the UK over the next three years to work in partnership with young people in developing countries, on projects to fight poverty.
Dion Corbett, 21 from Dumfries, volunteered with Progressio last July, said of her experience working on access to education projects in to Villa El Salvador, Peru: "This was an unforgettable and perspective-changing experience. We spent a lot of time during our placement and in our free time talking to Peruvians, understanding each other's culture and gaining a deeper understanding of the differences in the world. I really feel that it has left a lasting impression on both sides and I would definitely recommend the scheme to others."
Michael Hill, from ICS said: "Dion's achievements show what a fantastic opportunity International Citizen Service is for young people in Scotland and we'd like to see more young Scots follow in their footsteps. We were delighted that the Minister of State could meet our volunteers, to hear their positive stories and support them in their continued journey as international development champions."
Small groups of UK volunteers aged 18-25 are paired with young people from a developing country. Together the volunteers work on aid projects that meet the greatest need identified by local people, such as access to clean water. Volunteers also work with the local community to raise awareness about healthcare, and the various social issues they are facing.
Progressio ICS is committed to fighting poverty across the globe with projects in many different countries, such as Zimbabwe, Malawi, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Notes to editors
1. International Citizen Service is a volunteering scheme offered by Progressio, VSO, Restless Development, International Service, Raleigh International and Tearfund and funded by the Department for International Development. To find out more about ICS volunteer opportunities visit http://www.dfid.gov.uk/ics
2. Dion Corbett, 21, is from from Dumfries and is studying architecture at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. She went to Villa El Salvador in Peru on her placement in the ICS Pilot in July 2011.
3. Keep in touch with how the Progressio ICS volunteers are getting on over the next few months or apply to volunteer for placements via www.progressio.org.uk/empower
4. For more information, please contact Manon Hazell: email@example.com or on 020 736 2011.
5. Progressio is a UK-based charity working internationally to help people gain power over their lives and overcome barriers that keep them poor. For further information see www.progressio.org.uk.