Mercedesz Rimoczi is an Engineering student at the University of Nottingham, who wants to pursue a career in sustainable engineering. This led to her desire to volunteer for Y Care International, an international development charity. The opportunity would improve her understanding of the needs of developing countries and how sustainable engineering can help to meet those needs. The Jack Petchey Foundation awarded Mercedesz with a £300 Individual Grant for Volunteering to help cover the costs of her volunteer work and enable her to take part.
She volunteered in Bangladesh for 10 weeks on a project focusing on education and civic participation. During the project, Mercedesz and a team of 14 other Bangladeshi and international volunteers conducted workshops within the community on topics such as disabilities and mental health, child abuse, bullying and early marriage. The workshops were successful; attendance was high, with community members keen to get involved in the activities and welcoming the information and advice the volunteers provided. The volunteers also taught English, Drama and Arts in a local school. The children really enjoyed learning these new subjects and the attendance shot up during the project.
Thanks to the workshops conducted, the community learnt how to spot the signs of mental illnesses and how to support a person with such conditions. They also took part in discussions about the disadvantages of early marriage and the benefits of girls staying in education, which will hopefully have a positive impact on girls in the community. The school children learnt how to express themselves through drama and art and how it is important to be creative and to engage in extracurricular activities to improve their skills.
Mercedesz also raised over £800 which was donated to the project, to help the community continue to grow and develop. Mercedesz also gained a lot from her time in Bangladesh. Not only did she improve her communication and team building skills, she says “[the experience] has also fuelled my interest to help others, no matter how small or big, every little change can contribute to make a difference.”
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