UWC Atlantic College alumna Shaian Rawlins (class of 2017) who graduated in July is planning a gap year with the International Citizen Service, Voluntary Service Overseas to volunteer amongst the locals in Ethiopia.
Shaian explains that the aim of the project is to transform and empower young people through equipping and raising awareness, knowledge and skills on the use of existing resources (natural and financial), as well as creating employment and career opportunities.
Shaian is going to be travelling to the Benishangul – Gumuz Region of Ethiopia, to a town called Asosa. In the Benishangul – Gumuz Region, approximately 54.3% of people live in poverty and a further 93.2% of the population depend on shifting-cultivation agriculture for income. However due to the climate, conflict and poor agriculture practice, many cannot have a sustainable income, hence the perpetuating poverty.
Throughout Shaian’s trip, she will be interacting with the locals by living amongst them, adapting to their culture, and learning Swahili.
Shaian explains, “I think after attending two UWC’s it has encouraged me to do a lot more and has strengthened my passion towards helping people who are less fortunate than myself. From a young age I have always wanted to try helping people on a larger scale and act more globally, hence my trip to Ethiopia.
The project aim may seem quite optimistic, but after attending UWC Atlantic College it has taught me that even the smallest change can have the biggest difference – that’s why I think it is possible to make a difference in a small town.
The International Citizen Service is a British organisation which fully funds 18-25 year olds to travel to developing countries to volunteer on various projects, including health care, livelihood and sustainability.
We would like to wish Shaian the best of luck on her trip!