Stafford volunteer's pic shortlisted in international competition
A Stafford volunteer who spent three months working in Tanzania has been shortlisted in an international photography competition.
Rebecca Pearce’s photo was chosen out of nearly 300 entries from across the world in a competition capturing the impact and experiences of young volunteers on the UK government funded International Citizen Service (ICS) programme.
Rebecca, 25, took the photo whilst volunteering in Tanzania from September to December 2015 with international development organisation Raleigh International.
Describing her photo, Rebecca said: “A girl of about five years old carries her baby sibling on her back, a common sight in the community I worked in. From a very young age, girls are given the responsibility of looking after their siblings.
"Not only do the girls look after babies but they also cook, clean, wash clothes, chop wood, farm and much more, some also trying to fit in school work to their busy schedules. I can’t help but see a great amount of strength in the girl’s pose and expression that makes her seem older than she is.”
ICS brings together young people from the UK and developing countries to volunteer in developing countries in Africa and Asia.
Since 2012, ICS has enabled more than 17,000 young people from the UK to volunteer overseas. Before leaving for Tanzania, Rebecca fundraised £800 which will ensure that communities in developing countries can continue to benefit from the work of volunteers.
Rebecca said: “In the village of Mpangala, many people within the community suffered with sickness caused by unsanitary living conditions and unsafe water.
"Community integration was an essential part of helping educate and share our message about safe water and sanitation.
"My team worked closely with the village school, hosted events for all ages in the community, started a group for the women of the community to discuss concerns and hopes for the future and frequently communicated with village leaders and local doctors who helped to educate the community about the importance of good sanitation and hygiene.
"I am delighted to have been shortlisted for this competition as I wish to raise awareness about ICS. My photo gives a glimpse of my Tanzanian experience, which inspired me to start a career in education. ICS taught me that education is one of the most important things and I saw how much of a positive change can be brought about in just three months.”
Felicity Morgan, director of ICS at VSO, said: “Thanks to UK aid, young volunteers are making a positive difference in the world’s poorest communities."
ICS placements are available for departure from April 2019, and 18 to 25 year olds from Stafford and surrounding areas are encouraged to apply. To find out more, visit volunteerics.org