Record number of applicants for 2023 JOA volunteering projects

29 March 2023
A record number of Islanders have applied to take part in Jersey Overseas Aid’s (JOA) 2023 overseas volunteering projects.

JOA has received applications from 107 people, all keen to give their time and to share their skills, on one of JOA’s two-week volunteering trips, which will see 36 Islanders undertake project work in Nepal, Kenya and Rwanda.

“I am delighted to see such a fantastic response to our recent call for volunteers,” said Jersey’s Minister for International Development, Deputy Carolyn Labey. “It says a great deal about Islanders, that so many people are willing to give their time and their skills to help build critical infrastructure such as schools and community centres, construct sand dams in rural villages and to help share their teaching skills. It is fantastic that we have received applications from people with all sorts of life and work experience and of all ages. As a former volunteer myself, I can say with certainty that the volunteers will have an incredible experience, make life-long friends, fly the flag for Jersey and create lasting bonds with the communities they work within.”

This year JOA is organising three volunteering projects, and for the first time one which is specifically aimed at teachers or Islanders who have teaching experience. This team of 12 volunteers will be sharing their skills with a school community in Rwanda. The other JOA projects include constructing a sand dam in South-East Kenya with Sand Dams Worldwide and constructing a community facility with The Gurkha Welfare Trust Jersey in Nepal.

In January, a team of volunteers travelled to Nepal with JOA’s partner The Gurkha Welfare Trust Jersey, to work with the local community on a construction project at Shrijanshil Basic School.  This trip was scheduled to take place in 2020 but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, had been postponed.

Lynne Le Seelleur, leader of the volunteer trip to Nepal, said: “The experience was incredibly enriching in so many ways. We’ve made lifelong friends in our volunteering colleagues and fostered connections with the local community by working as part of their team. Volunteering isn’t so much about Islanders going to do jobs that local people cannot, but more about being a part of a team, lending a hand and having the opportunity to learn about another culture and their customs.  I saw how strong and resilient the community was and was very humbled to be invited to be a part of this.”

Since 1972, JOA has facilitated parties of volunteers to work with communities in some of the world’s poorest countries. As well as bringing lasting benefits to communities in these countries, the projects serve to raise awareness in Jersey of global development issues, and also play an important part in Islanders’ own personal development. Many have led to lasting links with communities all over the world, and several local charities were born from volunteers’ experiences abroad.