2017, JULY, MARK WOOD, YOUTH DIRECTOR, STREATHAM YOUTH AND COMMUNITY TRUST
'I’m Mark, the leader of a youth centre in Streatham south London, and this experience of volunteering was recommended to me by a fellow London youth leader, Stu Thomson, director of Knights' Youth Centre, who’d brought his young leaders out in 2016 on a construction project. We decided to come out on an education project, and it was fantastic.
We decided to come out on an education project, and it was fantastic. Although none of the young leaders aged 16-22 had taught before they all threw themselves into their roles in the primary, and the secondary, as well as in the college, and the monks’ school, and 2 orphanages. I always had faith in young people’s ability to excel, but what they achieved here in Sri Lanka with Give A Fig Volunteering was beyond all I could have imagined. They too far exceeded what they thought they could do; they loved it here. Them coming out of the classroom each day feeling proud, made me proud.
It was an amazing experience, and Paul and Jane looked after us really well. Their HQ is fantastic – we were the first group in it, so I can imagine that it can only improve with time. The food was really good too, fresh, which was a bit of a shock to some of us given our diet of London’s fast food, but it worked well. We volunteered a 4 day week, which was perfect, as it gave us the chance to see Sri Lanka, and meant that we never got too tired either. Sri Lanka’s an amazing country, and one of the best experiences of our time here was spending a day in the village doing pottery,and basket weaving. WE also saw elephants and went to a festival on our first night here. I suppose the best recommendation is that I want to bring another group out next year. It’s an amazing experience, and really good value for money!''