During the Spring of 2016, Sania Parvez along with 14 other UK volunteers and 14 national volunteers, took part in a ‘$1000 Development Challenge’. This was run by charity Y Care International and YMCA Togo within the local community of Lomé, Togo. Sania was awarded an Individual Grant for Volunteering by the Jack Petchey Foundation to help cover her personal costs of the volunteer project.
The project took in-depth planning, in which they spent their first two weeks in Togo assessing the needs of the communities based on the volunteer’s observations. When they concluded their research and planning, they decided what the $1000 was to be spent on. This money funded equipment for a hospital in a small village called Bagbe and provided 47 birth certificates to young children who, without one, couldn’t attend school. The group decided to use the rest of the funds to organise an English competition in one of the local schools. To support the event they provided dictionaries, notepads, YMCA t-shirts and pens as prizes for the competition, and donated food and drink for the event.
Sania and her group decided to support the hospital and young children, as they felt it would have a lasting effect on their communities. By providing the children with an education through their birth certificates, they have invested in the future of the children, their families, and their community, who will also benefit from their education. Sanila also believes that the English competition has encouraged the students to continue to learn English and expand their knowledge, with help from the resources they provided.
Sanila said of her time in Togo; “Overall it was a challenging yet a rewarding experience and I’m so happy I did it. I’ve met some incredible people and learned so much about another culture and way of life.”
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