PUKAAR MAGAZINE’S MEGAN HYDEN EXPLORES THE INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEERING AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION – SKILLSHARE INTERNATIONAL.
Skillshare International works in partnership with communities and locally based organisations in Asia, West Africa and Southern Africa, to reduce poverty, inequality and injustice, while aiming to further social and economic development.
With their head office based in Leicester, the charity’s programmes focus on five key areas including: HIV and Aids, gender equality, sport and development, sustainable livelihoods and conflict transformation.
The volunteering and development organisation has helped thousands of people in many communities. Since 2009, the organisation has provided more than 24,000 vulnerable children and orphans with support in Southern Africa. Eleven centres of excellence have also been established, providing 26,000 people with information and community based care.
Skillshare International has worked to dramatically reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV, which has meant that a greater number of individuals now come forward for testing and receive the care they need. This has helped to reduce the mortality rate in a number of communities that Skillshare International works with.
The organisation offers young adults aged 18 to 25 the chance to volunteer for ten life-changing weeks in Lesotho, Botswana or South Africa, alongside local volunteers. This opportunity is made possible through the International Citizen Service (ICS), a government funded development programme. Through the International Citizen Service scheme, Skillshare International has managed to place 250 volunteers on projects in India and Africa during 2011–12.
However, volunteering abroad for Skillshare does not have to stop once you reach the age of 25; Skillshare International also offers individuals aged 23 and over the experience of volunteering overseas for six months in a team leader role.
There is also the opportunity to get involved with volunteering for Skillshare International by becoming an ICS selector. Volunteer selectors help at volunteer selection days for the ICS youth volunteering programme in the East Midlands and a training day is provided in Leicester city centre to help volunteers develop their skills including interview techniques, communication and report writing.
With a strong belief in strengthening the voices of the communities, encouraging active citizenship is a major focus of Skillshare International’s work. Through international and national volunteers working together on programmes, it is seen as a good way of engaging the global north with development discourses through increased understanding and awareness.
For more information about volunteering or fundraising for Skillshare international, visit www.skillshare.org