Derek thorne, TANZANIA, 2001
TIME WITH RESTLESS
I chose to volunteer with Restless Development because it seemed to offer something that other organisations didn’t. The partnership aspect and always working with someone from that country made a lot of sense to me. A typical day volunteering with Restless Development varied a lot. Right at the beginning it was very quiet and the most we could expect to do was to be taken on a walk around the village and be introduced to people and ask what we could help with. Towards the end of the program we became very busy. We built composts in the village and taught people how to do it so they could carry on once we had gone. We also visited a school to do lessons on things like sexual health. The part of my placement that I enjoyed the most was just getting to know people in the village and gaining trust between us. Part of that also included learning a bit of Swahili which I thoroughly enjoyed and wanted to learn as much as I could.
MY INVOLVEMENT WITH THE ALUMNI
After volunteering, I continued my involvement with Restless Development – I helped out at a couple of selection days, did some talks for sixth formers and manned the desk at some careers fairs. This helped keep me in touch with the organisation, as well as the issues surrounding volunteering and development. The alumni network is a great way to make sure the volunteering placement is only the start of someone’s involvement with development and social change.
WHAT I AM DOING NOW
I work for an organisation called One World Media as Programme Manager. My main interests and skills are in media and communication and how it can be applied to development work. My job is very varied, exciting and fulfilling. I am currently coordinating a big educational project around the UK which reaches 23 universities and aims to encourage and inspire students on journalism courses to cover global stories and development. My colleague and I proposed this project from scratch, and secured a substantial grant. This is something I’m very proud of. We also organise larger events, involving a few hundred students, where we run lots of different sessions and information on how to be an international development journalist. The part of my job that I enjoy the most is interacting with a broad range of people. Going to events and talking to students or meeting lecturers that we work with and going to meetings is a lot of fun.
Derek says: “Volunteering with Restless Development had a huge impact on my career and in deciding what I wanted to do. I realised I wanted to work in the sector, and to never stop learning about how the world works.”