A caring young Burnley woman has found herself 4,000 miles from home helping improve the lives of women and girls in southern Rwanda.
Rabeya Ullah, a former Sir John Thursby Community College and Thomas Whitham Sixth Form pupil, has been working as part of a team of young British and Rwandan volunteers on a project to develop women’s entrepreneurial skills, understanding of nutrition and hygiene as well as their awareness of human rights.
More than half of Rwanda’s population live in extreme poverty. Only 63% of girls complete their primary education, which means they’re more likely to live in poverty as adults. Without the skills to earn an independent income, women are more vulnerable to poverty.
Rabeya and her team mates have been working with rights-based development charity, International Service, and local organisation Let Us Transform Life Initiative which works with community leaders, school staff and women’s organisations to educate women and young people on their right to health, gender equality, and a quality education.
Rabeya travelled to Rwanda through the International Citizen Service programme, funded by UK Aid.
She said: “I’m leading our work with local tailors, and teaching them how to design and make clothing, including skirts, shirts, trousers shorts and bags. I have experience in tailoring from working with my mum back at home, so it’s exciting to use these skills on placement.”
“Living without electricity and running water at time has been challenging. But I’m glad, because it gives me more of an understanding of the community I’m in.”
ICS volunteers work alongside young local volunteers in some of the poorest communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America on issues like sexual health, education and economic empowerment. You don’t need cash, skills or qualifications to take part – just the ambition to make a difference.
For more information about ICS and how to apply, visit http://www.volunteerics.org.