A YOUNG woman who spent ten weeks working on a project fighting poverty in Cambodia, is now calling on other young people to consider volunteering overseas.

Beth Tindall, 22, of Burley-in-Wharfedale, travelled to Cambodia in January 2019 with international development organisation VSO, as part of the UK government funded International Citizen Service (ICS) programme, where she worked alongside young volunteers from Cambodia and the UK.

She lived with a local host family so she was fully immersed into the community and could gain a better understanding of the challenges people there face.

ICS volunteers, aged 18-25, work on long-term projects that seek to end poverty. Those aged 23-35 can apply to be ICS team leaders.

Beth said: “The remote community of Cheung Kreav in Kampong Chnnang province Cambodia had limited access and awareness of employment opportunities for the youth. We raised awareness about the importance of sustainable employment and building youth groups to initiate independent sustainable support for the youth in the community once we had departed.

“The cross culture experience was one of the main enjoyments of my time in Cambodia. I learnt how to live in their community and climate and gained an understanding of their limitations to sustainable work and opportunities. My biggest achievement was being part of a project that helped to encourage the youth to think about their future and what they wanted for themselves. It was about encouraging the youth to believe that they could find work outside of their village. “

Upon their return to the UK, all ICS volunteers undertake an ‘Action At Home’ project, ensuring their new skills also benefit their local communities.

Beth added: “My ICS placement was in essence life changing for me and my personal development, teaching me key life skills of resilience, team work and self-belief. Now that I have returned I want to share my ICS VSO experience and to encourage others to embark on the journey that taught me so much in a short 10 weeks. Living and volunteering in Cambodia has taught me a lot about the impact a young individual can have on a community whether it is in an underprivileged country or in your own Town. Just one small act can really make a difference. In addition now that I am back I am far more understanding of the issues surrounding poverty and the world and I will be a more active citizen in my community, voicing my opinions and getting involved in order to improve where I live for all.”

ICS is funded by UK aid, so young people don’t 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.

To find out more about ICS or to apply, visit www.volunteerics.org.