In recognition of today’s Volunteer Week theme of ‘Power of Youth Day’, we reflect on the real-world experiences Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) students and alumni have had as Project Trust volunteers.
Project Trust, an Educational Charity, has organised long-term responsible and ethical volunteer placements for young people since 1967. Our partnership with Project Trust is designed to provide educational opportunities for Project Trust returned volunteers who want to pursue a career in the humanitarian field. It enables volunteers to apply learning from their volunteer experience, and develop a nuanced understanding of humanitarian issues and the world’s most complex crises.
By studying at HCRI, Project Trust volunteers benefit from multidisciplinary teaching and research, across humanitarian response, disaster management, and global health.
Below we share some of the experiences from our alumni and current students about their time volunteering with Project Trust.
Kaitlyn Boyd, BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response
Project Trust – Teaching Project in Zambia
“Project Trust was an experience I’ll never forget. Whilst volunteering, I lived in a town called Katete in the Eastern Province of Zambia. I spent my time teaching Biology, Chemistry and Integrated Science in an all-girls secondary school and ran a number of extra-curricular activities. When applying for university, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I applied to study four Biology courses and added International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response (IDMHR) as a fifth option because I think I knew deep down that a career in science wasn’t really for me.
I applied for Project Trust after applying for university and only applied for Project Trust after applying for university and only later realised that both they and the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute worked in collaboration. For me, it was a happy coincidence! I later chose IDMHR before deferring my entry and heading off to Zambia. My time there made me confident that I’d made the right decision, as it was the first time I’d ever experienced life outside of Northern Ireland, and it gave me a new sense of global awareness. It made me eager to continue learning about the world around me, as our little corner in the UK is such a tiny part of it. Now, after completing my first year of IDMHR, I’m even more excited about the future and how I’ll continue to carry my experiences with Project Trust and HCRI with me throughout my life.”
Anna Fraine, MA Humanitarianism and Conflict Response, December 2019
Project Trust – Teaching Project in eSwatini
“Having spent a year volunteering with Project Trust, on a teaching project in eSwatini (the country formerly known as Swaziland), I experienced first-hand the workings of ‘international development’ and the realities of aid in the continent of Africa. I wanted to understand this experience further by pursuing studies beyond my English/History undergraduate degree and the Humanitarianism and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester appeared the best place to get a critical understanding of modern-day humanitarianism. The institute evaluates best practice across the ‘humanitarian system’ as well as its history, critiquing the workings of aid throughout time, from colonialism to modern-day ‘paternalism’.”
Find out more about Anna’s experience in her Project Trust alumni spotlight and her blog post ‘My journey since volunteering with Project Trust’.
Isabelle Kidder, BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response with French, July 2019
Project Trust – Teaching Project in India
“During my degree (at HCRI), I was able to draw upon my experiences of living in India to understand the course content further [..]”
“My Project Trust experience enabled me to experience another culture first-hand and to see not only the incredible beauty in India but also some of the challenges facing rural and low-income areas. My year with Project Trust made me consider the importance of working and volunteering overseas ethically and sustainably, which is often overlooked in humanitarian response.”
Heidi Parkes-Smith, BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response with French, July 2019
Project Trust – Teaching project in Malawi
“I chose the HCRI course because it related to my interest in overseas development which I gained whilst in Malawi […]
A lot of the issues we look at in relation to disaster management such as poverty I’ve seen for myself on my year overseas. The perspective on the world that you gain through volunteering with Project Trust can be incorporated into your studies which is great!”
Find out more Heidi’s experience in her blog with Isabelle Kidder.
An international volunteering placement with Project Trust is a challenge and adventure like no other. The charity empowers young people aged 17-25 to explore their potential by challenging themselves, learning about the world, and becoming a positive force within it.
Find out more about the benefits of a long-term volunteering placement with Project Trust.