The reason I volunteered was largely because Graeme kept badgering me! But really and truly, it was due to the fact I've been raving about the amazing work Graeme and the charity do - ever since he first went to Nepal I've been so in awe of him. Frankly it was time to put my money where my mouth was! What Worldwide Action do is real, no red tape, no money is sifted off the top to pay wages or for "admin". They rely on volunteers and I wanted to be one of those people. I wanted to genuinely make a difference, be outside of my comfort zone and on the ground.
What was it like to experience this with your cousin?
It was amazing doing this with Graeme. I won't big him up too much as I don't want his head to grow. But he's such an amazing man. He does all this with no financial reward, in fact it costs him both financially and in time. He spends a great deal of time before and after each project as well as the time on site. Watching him communicate and manage it all was just so inspiring. As a rule Graeme doesn't smile in pictures, but I can assure you, this sort of thing makes him really happy. Aside from that, it was fun and special being out here and sharing it all with him. But if he asks, I didn't say any of that!
what is one of your lasting memories from the trip?
Obviously the locals were all interested in what we were doing, but one day two young boys (aged 8 and 6) came over and just watched us. Then they started helping - not only did they pick up what we were doing with virtually no language communication, but they did it really, really well. They were so hard working and so happy to help. I bought them some sweets to say thank you and they immediately shared them with their friends, even though they are unlikely to ever be able to afford sweets. Such a generous, lovely and humbling experience. One I'll be sure to share with my own kids!
Has this experience changed you in any way?
It has definitely changed me. Beforehand, I would have considered myself socially aware. I've travelled and seen poverty and I generally try and support charities I believe in. But being here, seeing first hand what it's like for these kids, what little they have and how they have so few opportunities to pull themselves out of poverty has definitely changed my perspective. Who you are and where you're born is not a choice you make and every child born deserves a chance. Worldwide Action and it's supporters offer just that to these kids. I know I'm going to do more, help more and raise awareness where I can. At the end of the day we're so so lucky and we should all do what we can to help those who are not as fortunate.
Would you recommend volunteering with worldwide action?
Absolutely! Anyone wanting to make a real difference - there are so many ways, whether you're in a position to volunteer or not, even just a few pounds will make the most incredible difference. For some perspective, I met a family who have a few kids and the father makes just $2 a day to support them. I'd hazard a guess that to most people, that amount wouldn't even be noticed coming out of their account. Imagine what you could do! Please, get involved. Help. If not through volunteering, through making a small monthly donation to Worldwide Action. Your spare change could mean the world to some children.