It needed to be meaningful, not a tick box...

  Jessica Lynch explains why she choose to volunteer with Cork-based Charity SERVE

working with partners in Philippines, Mozambique and other countries in the Global South.

Jessica Lynch volunteer wth SERVE - Cork Based Charity working with partner in Philippines
Jessica with many youth of the Badjao community in Cebu, Philippines

Diary Entry: 5th July 2024

I am a Geography teacher. I teach about aid and inequalities, the Global North versus the Global South, developed and developing economies. But all I know is what I have read in the book, documentaries I have watched, and stories I have heard.

My first understanding of inequality was as a child when I would bring a Trócaire box home from school during Lent or when ads came on the TV which would upset my family and we would switch them off.

As I’ve gotten older I can’t ignore it anymore. I want to do something to help, to make a small difference.

I have made small changes like buying Fairtrade products, raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals with my students and donating to local causes. I don’t always get it right. But I want to do more…

Volunteering abroad has been on my ‘bucket list’ for a long time for these reasons but it needed to be meaningful, not just a tick-the-box exercise.

I have researched various volunteering projects over the years but none of them seemed like the right fit. ‘Voluntourism’ seems to be a new phenomenon but is it for the right reasons?

In February of this year, I was attending the World Wise Global Schools teacher conference on the theme “Stories of Solidarity”. I was paired up with a woman called Fiona Buggy who shared her story of solidarity with me and told me of the many summers she spent volunteering with SERVE.

On the train home I read up on SERVE, their partnerships and their commitment to Global Citizen Education (GCE). It felt like the perfect fit for me! I sent an email that night and the rest is history!

I have arrived in Cebu feeling all of the emotions – grateful for the opportunity and for all of the support I have received, nervous about what the next 4 weeks will bring and excited to hopefully make a difference to the Badjao Tribe.

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