Selfless Biggleswade volunteer spends Christmas helping India’s poorest
- Credit: Archant
Instead of enjoying a comfy Christmas in the UK, 24-year-old Sarah Horscroft from Biggleswade has spent the holiday season helping young people combat poverty in India.
Sarah is leading a team of young British and Indian volunteers on a project that aims to build upon the leadership potential of local people.
The volunteers are working to improve standards of education and awareness of sexual and reproductive health issues and are focussing especially on promoting education for girls, often held back due to the patriarchal norms that exist in parts of Indian society.
Sarah and her teammates are also working with the local community to help them access more support from the Indian Government.
Sarah travelled to India in July with the New Delhi based international development organisation Pravah, through the UK Government funded International Citizen Service programme.
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Sarah missed out on Christmas at home with friends and family in order to continue her good work, and is spending the festive season researching water usage in a village in Rajasthan, with a focus on how caste discrimination affects access to water.
She will also be leading the team of volunteers in their work strengthening women’s and youth networks in the village, which offers marginalised people a platform to discuss common issues and find solutions.
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Sarah said: “It sounds clichéd, but being a team leader in India with Pravah ICS has changed my life. For the first time, I’ve been asked to think critically about not only the context I’m living in and the inexhaustible variety of people and places, but also about myself. I feel like Pravah and the local organisation, Manthan, have put their trust in me and allowed me to develop projects that I’m passionate about.
“In particular, our team has focused on empowering villagers by helping them understand their rights and what demands they can make of the government. We’ve also raised awareness of the value of girls’ education and helped women make their voices heard. For me, it’s this and the million tiny ways in which this programme has also empowered me that I’ll remember forever.”
Sarah is living with an Indian family so she can fully immerse herself in the community and better understand the challenges the community faces.
ICS volunteers spend three months in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, working alongside local volunteers on projects that focus on issues ranging from sexual health and youth participation in politics, to climate change and sustainable livelihoods.
To find out more about ICS and to apply visit www.volunteerics.org.