22 Feb 2013
Restless Development is delivering the UK government's International Citizen Service (ICS) programme.
ICS supports young people to make a real difference to global poverty. National and international volunteers spend 12 weeks volunteering in one of our eight Country Programmes, making a difference to global poverty and developing new skills. Once they return to their local community, they are involved in projects that raise awareness of development issues and engage them in positive community action.
Usaama, 22 from London, took part in ICS earlier this year. Here's his story:
Usaama was on a gap year after completing his A-levels, when he heard about ICS through Prince’s Trust.
“I’m passionate about politics and wanted to use my gap year to learn more about supporting people in developing countries as well as expand my horizons, so ICS was the perfect option for me.
My placement was at a Youth Resource Centre in Tuba. Along with Lazola, a really great national volunteer, I taught people aged 18-29 computer skills, CV writing and interview skills, and run sexual and reproductive health awareness sessions. We also set up a Youth Committee that meets regularly to tackle local issues affecting young people, from high crime rates to substance misuse. It also supports them to take positive action on these issues. I saw the hope that the group gave to young people who wanted to bring about change, and it was amazing.
I’m still in regular contact with the committee and they’re going strong!
With a really great national volunteer, Lazola, we set up the committee and he is leading it today.
ICS made me see that one person can make a difference. It’s a rare opportunity to see first-hand a completely different way of life; you get to live and work alongside local people. You genuinely get the opportunity to make a real difference to the world we live in!
Since I’ve been back, I’ve continued to be involved in a grassroots, apolitical campaigning group called Bite the Ballot. We’re encouraging young people to become politically active.
Some people I’ve told about ICS thought it would cost lots of money. That’s one of the best things about ICS - it doesn’t matter what your background is, ICS is open to anyone. I’d absolutely recommend ICS to other people. It can be a life changing opportunity, and whilst it’s challenging, it can be really valuable."