Three WIT students are volunteering with developmental organisation SERVE this summer toassist tackle poverty and issues such as gender inequality
Three Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) students are volunteering with developmental volunteer organisation SERVE this summer, and are spending one month of their summer holidays volunteering abroad.
The SERVE organisation focuses on development and volunteering to tackle poverty in countries such as Mozambique, Philippines and India, the group of volunteers focus on improving the lives of children and young people in these countries while putting a heavy emphasis on gender equality. WIT has offered their students the opportunity to take part in SERVE for the past 17 years.
WIT chaplain, Fr David Keating believes the benefits of taking part in such a programme like this are endless, “SERVE volunteers benefit in multiple ways from the volunteering experience. They get to experience the life and work of local developmental projects in Africa, Asia and South America. The experience also enhances the professional lives of the volunteers, being able to draw on their overseas experience in their work life. Many past volunteers have also altered their study route on returning home, to undertake some Developmental Studies and continue into a career in development.”
First year Bachelor of Arts Visual Art student, Emma Ryan has embarked on a month long journey to Cebu, in the Philippines where she is working with Nano Nagle Badjao school.
Waterford native Emma is a full-time mature student at WIT, and contacted WIT chaplain, Fr David Keating when she enrolled in the college.
“I called Fr David Keating, as I was interested in getting involved in community projects and working with people in disadvantaged areas particularly those with a lack of educational facilities. It was then he made me aware of the SERVE project.”
Emma’s move required plenty of preparation, most importantly, fundraising. Emma organised four events, including a cake sale, a table quiz for students as well as an awareness day for children which was held in the City Square shopping centre. Emma also organised a charity art auction, which was held in the Soma contemporary art gallery, and sponsored by WIT, Soma Contemporary Gallery, Ardkeen Food Store, Loughlin & Bowe Antique and Fine Art Auctioneers of Kilkenny.
The Morning Star
Also volunteering this summer is Dervla Deacon, a first year Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Health Promotion student at WIT and is spending one month of her summer holidays volunteering in Bangalore, India.
Dervla sees herself one day becoming a Health Promotion Officer for children and young people’s health. However, the WIT student has not ruled out further study and would consider postgraduate study to become an occupational therapist.
Dervla discovered many different volunteering opportunities when she began studying at WIT.
“I came across SERVE and attended an induction day, where I learned about the different projects that they work on and so I knew it was something that I really wanted to do.”
Dervla left for Bangalore on 6 July and will be returning 4 August. While volunteering, she is working on a Bangalore based project called The Morning Star, which is a centre that provides a home for children who are living on the streets. The Morning Star is a learning centre for children which depends heavily on volunteers.
Also volunteering with SERVE is WIT student Katie Salter, who is spending her month working with "Young Africa" skills training centre in Beira and Dondo in Mozambique.
More photographs of the volunteers can be viewed at SERVE's facebook page, here.
SERVE is a development and volunteering organisation committed to tackling poverty in the majority world. They strive to do this by working in solidarity, service and partnership with marginalised and oppressed communities, empowering them to tackle the root causes of poverty and injustice.
SERVE focuses specifically on programmes and projects that help communities enhance the lives of children and young people and recognises that gender equality is pivotal to achieving justice, equality and sustainable development.