“Being a volunteer is not about being a super hero, claiming to know everything, solving all problems as a Westerner might see it, instead it’s about giving the best of oneself, even when you can’t see the results, hoping that the people will, in turn, give the best of themselves, defying the odds which seem to destine them for hell.
I learned the importance of teamwork and living in a community with other volunteers, I got to meet extraordinary people, with huge hearts who astonished me with their caring, their generosity, their passion and their love for others.
When you go on a mission you are agreeing to let yourself be transformed, touched by the mission, by a country’s culture, by the contact with others and above all,
You will learn to open yourself to others”
I think we can all agree that the world is a place full of inequality where mostly the blinded luck will put you on a map; and if you are lucky you will have toys during your childhood, many years in different schools, college, holidays, workplaces, a decent salary, health care, pension and all benefits which you feel are fundamental. If you are not one of the lucky ones you will see the dark side of life. Do we need to accept this phenomenon or can we do something?
It looks like the new modernization is the future, AI (artificial intelligence), 5G, robotization, etc. It means most probably the low skill workers will not have jobs or will have big difficulties getting one. Globally, 55% of the population live in urban areas. By 2045, the number of people living in cities will increase 1.5 times to 6 billion, adding 2 billion more urban residents. What will happen with the indigenous tribes, with the people who are living far from the cities or just don’t want to be an inhabitant in one of them? Who’ve never heard about 5 not even 3 G, who are far from the mainstream and who are struggling day by day?
Do we care about these people?
Do we really want to successfully reach the SDGs?
What kind of future is ahead of us?
Richmond Vale Academy tries to find answers to these questions. We are running a program called Fighting with the Poor! It is a 10 months commitment where the participant has the opportunity to go to Central- or South-America and be part of a development dream run by Humana People to People.
But… What kind of thematic areas are we talking about?
Let’s look at them one by one:
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT
Small-scale farmers are at the heart of responding to the world's environmental and social crisis. They are the driving force towards ecologically sustainable and socially fair agriculture systems.
Globally, small farmers produce the majority of the food. They feed the world. While the majority of their production is not reflected in national statistics because it is not traded as a commodity, it does reach those who need it the most: the rural and urban poor.
After years of promoting large agribusiness and using distribution companies as the solution to global hunger, it is now acknowledged that ‘business as usual' is not an option. Mass agribusiness poses an increasingly threat to the global food system, rather than a solution.
Agro-industrial food production must be understood in the context of the complex web of global warming, consequent deterioration of the environment, increasingly unjust and unequal land distribution, migration of rural communities to the cities and commodification of basic foodstuff. The mass scale industrialisation of agriculture sits as a root cause at the centre of these challenges.
One of the goals: to develop the capacity of small-scale farmers to increase agriculture production by adopting new environmentally friendly and sustainable farming practices.
How can you help? : here at RVA you will be part of our own organic food production, you will learn the different techniques in our Organic Garden or Food Forest, and you will learn about permaculture in details and you take this knowledge with you to the project.
Eradicating poverty in all its forms remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. The number of people living in extreme poverty dropped by more than half between 1990 and 2015. However, too many people around the world are still struggling for their most basic human needs.
The present world economy is based on growth, and progress is most often measured in economic terms. According to the World Inequality Report of 2017, the top 1% captured twice as much global income growth as the bottom 50% since 1980, with notable rising inequality between world individuals, despite growth in the emerging world, where the poorest people reside. At the same time, pressure on subsistence livelihoods is increasing with the threat of losing land and access to traditional means of production and support.
Sustainable Development Goal 1 – No Poverty – calls for an end to extreme poverty by 2030. Today, 11% of the world’s population, 736 million people, still live in extreme poverty. This means living without access to the most basic universal needs, including access to shelter, food and protection. In developing countries in the global South, this also means bearing the brunt of the ever-increasing pressures of climate change.
Goals: Creating better conditions for children through engaging families, communities and key local institutions to work together. Strengthening local communities by building and organising community-based structures. Building capacity in communities through developing individual skills.
How can you help?
Social skills are very important, both verbal and nonverbal in order to improve your employability. Here at RVA, you can learn how to be part of a community (not always easy), how to be an active part of it, how to mobilize people, how to develop community-based structures being one of the members of the community. Learning by doing is never truer than in this case. Developed social skills can open many opportunities. During the service period, you will work shoulder to shoulder with the local people and one of your goals is to raise the personal social skills on the community level through different activities.
“Humana People to People grew out of a progressive education movement in the 1970s and, today, ensuring a quality education for all remains at the heart of our work. We believe education is a vital tool to alleviate poverty and essential to national and global development, providing the foundations for a brighter future”.
That is why we are committed to long-term educational support, from early childhood development, primary and secondary schools, to vocational and teacher training as well as higher education.
Working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4, “Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Life-Long Learning”, our education programmes create a space for students of all ages, supporting children's education for those who are marginalised living in difficult conditions. We work to empower girls and women, encouraging more girls to stay in education and see the possibilities ahead of them.
How can you help:
The volunteers from RVA will teach at the local schools, learn together with the kids, teach adults to read and write if need be, they will learn about the culture through dances and songs and tales and handcrafts. Creating women’s, girl’s and boy’s clubs … Education is one of the key elements of the fight against poverty and you will be part of this fight through classes and different teaching sessions.
World leaders have made an ambitious commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria by 2030 but if current trends persist, we will miss those targets.
The Sustainable Development Goal 3, Good Health and Wellbeing is intertwined with several other SDGs: poverty carries poor health as one of its severe consequences; inequalities leave millions of people out of public health service; water and sanitation issues lead to disease spreading.
Health is likewise intertwined with the work we do in other areas. Health campaigns and focus on child health are elements of community development programmes; production by small-scale farmers improves nutrition and thereby health in farmer families and beyond; better health education is pivotal in creating healthier communities and is included at schools; better access to clean water and sanitation appears as an important addition to other focus areas in a range of projects.
What will you do for the SDG3?
The RVA students will work with the local communities, making presentations about malnutrition, healthy diet, malaria, and dengue fever prevention, HIV, sex education, cooking demonstrations … During the preparation time, we will learn together about the main health issues and during the service period, each of the volunteers will take an active part to try to reach the SDG 3.