International Volunteer Day celebrates the amazing work and passion of volunteers around the world who give their time to make the world a better place.
Madalaine Thomas, from Oughtibridge, is one of these kind-hearted volunteers who recently returned from working in Tanzania with sustainable development charity Raleigh International.
The 27-year-old worked in partnership with Tanzania volunteers on a project run by Raleigh International as part of the UK government International Citizen Service programme. Her project focussed on improving access to clean water and sanitation in the Dodoma and Morogoro region on Tanzania.
She helped with water and sanitation projects in two schools and helped provide workshops to teach children about good sanitation and how they can keep safe from water-borne illnesses.
Madalaine said: "I have been involved in two water and sanitation projects in two different schools, the first in Dodoma region and the second Morogoro region.
"Both projects involved constructing a new block of latrines in the schools.
"We worked closely with project partners and were guided by a team of local builders and engineers as well as staff at Raleigh field base in Morogoro.
"The second part of the projects focussed on providing educational workshops in the schools on the importance of good sanitation practices, teaching the children how they can keep safe from water-borne illnesses.
"On top of this, we also held action days in the village to raise awareness of the same issues among community members.”
Raleigh ICS volunteers, aged 18-25, work on long-term projects that address the sustainable development goals and seek to end poverty in rural communities.
The scheme offers young people the chance to gain valuable new skills while working on projects that make a genuine difference to the people they work with and their communities.
It is funded by the UK Government, so volunteers do not need cash, qualifications or work experience to take part, just the desire to make a difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest communities.
Madalaine said: “I have always felt the urge to volunteer abroad. ICS provided the opportunity to volunteer whilst gaining new skills at the right time for me.”
"Before volunteering in Tanzania I knew that I wanted to do something that was more rewarding.
"Raleigh ICS has changed my outlook on life.
"I have lived for six months valuing things that I had taken for granted prior to this programme.
"I would love to come back to Tanzania and work with Raleigh/ICS again.
"I would also like to work in other developing countries and aid work abroad.”
International Volunteer Day, which is held every December 5, was designated by the United Nations in 1985 as an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism.
It is an opportunity for volunteers, and volunteer organisations, to raise awareness of, and gain understanding for, the contribution they make to their communities.
It is also viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organisations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organisations, United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.
Jamie Baird, communications officer at Raleigh International, said: “This International Volunteer Day we are celebrating volunteers like Madalaine.
"With their dedication and passion, they are truly making a difference around the world and showing that young volunteers are the key to achieving the Global Goals.
"Thank you, Madalaine, for helping us to create a sustainable world for future generations."
To find out more about ICS Raleigh International or to apply, visit www.volunteerICS.org/Raleigh-ics