Could your community help other communities in need? Make a Difference with one of our overseas volunteer projects
“This international programme engages local people in the development of personal skills and knowledge, a better understanding of cultural differences, first hand experience of life in an African village and working with the people of Ghana to develop and achieve joint projects to benefit the village long after the visiting group have returned home.”
“The idea came directly from young people and was supported by youth service workers and volunteers. The project has been democratic and inclusive throughout with every participant encouraged to play an equal role. Very much in keeping with article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Hear By Right and in keeping with the governments thinking in terms of active citizenship.”
“We’d like many more young people to enjoy the same benefits. These trips are a great example of active citizenship by young people and have had a big and positive impact on their lives.”
Graeme Wilkinson, of Connexions Tyne and Wear
“In 2001 youth workers from Gateshead working alongside a group of young people travelled to Ghana with Madventurer. The group had such a wonderful experience and told stories of their travels to all who would listen. Five years later the group decided to return, this time taking new group members. Both visits were to the village of Shia in the Volta region. The trip was life changing for the young people involved. They carried out a series of fund raising events including social evenings, sponsored walks and bag packing to raise funds towards the trip. The following year young people from Gateshead were lucky enough to be part of another visit to Ghana.
Many of the young people who have been involved in the trip have been inspired by the experience and have chosen career paths whilst in the village. One group member completed an art project with an African theme and was awarded student of the year, this led to the young person being accepted into university and he is now studying architecture. Other success stories are three of the young people deciding they wanted to become youth workers. One has just completed a degree in community and youth work studies and the other two are in their final year. This may seem normal for most people but coming from the backgrounds where money is sparse, these young people are the first in their families to choose education against all odds. It is certainly something that has been learnt from the young people of Shia as many of the villages will tell you that education is a way to gaining a better life.
We are going out with Madventurer again to Ghana, almost 10 years after our first ‘Mad Experience’, to the village of Leklebi Duga. This trip is to build a toilet block for the local primary school and will be a great achievement for the group. This will be Gateshead’s Youth Services fifth visit and my dream is to not only to continue going out to Ghana but to have an international exchange in the near future, and without the guidance and operational support of Madventurer then none of these achievements and ambitions would be possible.”
Anita Burns, Youth Worker with Gateshead Council