Global Citizenship & Me – My DiA Journey by Sarah Burns

Global Citizenship & Me – My DiA Journey by Sarah Burns

Sarah BurnsName: Sarah Burns

Placement: Seva Mandir

Year: 2010

What is your favourite moment from interning with one of DiA’s placement partners?

I couldn’t chose just one moment. I had so many amazing opportunities and experiences during my placement, both professional and personal.

What skills and experience did you develop through interning with DiA one of DiA’s placement partners?

Sarah Burns 2I think the main group of skills I developed, which were also the most transferable, centered around working independently, using my initiative and taking responsibility for the work being done. As an intern I was given pieces of work which no one else in the team were working on so it really taught me the importance of taking ownership of a piece of work and having the confidence to take the necessary steps to drive the work forward.

Throwing yourself into a new country, culture and environment and having to build working relationships across cultural and language barriers is an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience. At the end of my placement I felt I had the confidence in myself to tackle any new work situation. Coming back to the UK and joining the management committee really cemented those skills. It gave me the opportunity to use them and take the lead in shaping the charity during each committee year.

 What did you do once you returned to the UK?

Immediately after my placement in India with DiA I travelled to Nepal to complete another Internship. On my return to the UK I began applying for jobs and joined the DiA management committee. I was on the committee for three years. I joined in 2011 as Secretary and became Chair in 2012 for two years.

How did you time involved with DiA help shape your understanding of global citizenship?

Sarah Burns 3I applied to DiA because I felt their focus on global citizenship correlated with my own views. So I would say that I had a good understanding of global citizenship on joining and this was developed during the UK and India orientation days. But what my experience through DiA did do was provide me with real life situations where I was able to reflect on my own connections with people all over the world. One of my most vivid encounters was during my first week in India when I turned a corner and saw clothes from the UK high street being sold on market stores. This immediately made me question the clothes I buy and how and where they are produced, and how the things I buy can affect communities on the other side of the world.

Has this shaped your subsequent professional (or further voluntary) experiences and/or your personal outlook?

I have no doubt that the skills and experience I gained through DiA had a positive effect on my employability when I returned to the UK. Not only has it allowed me to develop important skills, it has given me great examples of these skills and knowledge to use in applications and interviews. In my roles it has allowed me to approach tasks with flexibility and confidence. Even today, 5 years on from my placement I reflect on how it has shaped my skills and ability to respond to challenging situations.

Personally, it has had a huge impact on my views and behavior. My experiences overseas have fed into the decisions I make about how I live my life, from the things I purchase to the causes I support. I also now have an amazing network of friends and contacts from my time in India and as a member of the committee in the UK. 

What are you doing now?

I currently work for Resource Futures, an independent environmental consultancy business.

What advice would you give to people thinking about applying to the DiA India Internship Placement Scheme?

I would encourage interns to get involved with any extra activities within their host organization or community. It’s a great way to learn more about different projects/departments to your own, meet other volunteers and staff members and generally feel more involved with the organisation. Take every opportunity to ask questions and talk to other volunteers and interns about their roles.

 

Join Development in Action and Tenteleni for the Global Citizenship Forum 2015: ‘At home and overseas: The impact of young volunteers’. An interactive, audience-led discussion and Q&A on the contribution of young volunteers to development.

Tuesday 17th November, 6pm at Rise London, 69-89 Mile End Rd, London E1 4TT.  More information, including that of guest speakers available at gcf2015.wordpress.com


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Global Citizenship & Me – My DiA Journey by Josh Reece-Moore

Name: Josh Reece-MooreJosh

Placement: Deep Griha Society

Year: 2014

What is your favourite moment from interning with one of DiA’s placement partners?

I have so many positive memories from the experience so it’s hard to look back and pinpoint a specific moment although I thoroughly enjoyed bonding with everyone that I worked with in the office. Everyone was so welcoming and I really felt at home because there was such a strong sense of community. I found that things fell into place and happened very organically.

What skills and experience did you gain through interning with DiA / one of DiA’s placement partners?

I gained valuable experience that university could never have provided me with. When I was studying I found myself stuck in a marking matrix which wasn’t at all true to real life and in my mind I was shifting from focusing on letters and grades to people and experiences in the ‘real world.’ It was really, really refreshing to collaborate with others, which is something that I love doing.

Through DiA I was given the chance to initiate my own project and learned how to plan, deliver and manage creative workshops. I also learned how to work effectively when facing cultural barriers and how to improvise and explore during these workshops in ways which were completely new to me. Communication skills were also essential in order to pass on my subject knowledge and I became aware of different ways to communicate visually and also through gesture.

Josh 2

The experience you gain definitely contributes to both your personal and professional development. I became so much more culturally aware and I absolutely need to take time out next year to go back to India.

What did you do once you returned to the UK?

After an uncomfortable flight home I slept for ages and then went to the supermarket to buy a feast of food that I had been craving while I was on placement. After I got that out of the way I joined the DiA committee, adjusted to life back in London and I began to make digital copies of the results from our workshops.

A lot of people always ask whether or not the fabric from my collaboration with DGS was made here or in India. I used a printer based in London called Bags of Love and produced a small collection of samples which I then entered into creative competitions. I have now found more time to collaborate and I want to bring even more designs out from the sketchbooks that we produced in India.

How did your time with DiA help shape your understanding of global citizenship?

When I first got involved with DiA I knew very little about development issues or the concept of global citizenship – if I’m completely honest it was something that I’d never heard of before.

We attract involvement from a diverse range of people and I think it’s safe to say that what I learnt with DiA would never have been covered in my creative education. I’m continually learning through experience what it means to be global citizen and am always interested in how others interpret the definition. I’m sure that the Global Citizenship Forum that we’re hosting this year with Tenteleni will provoke interesting discussion points around the topic!

What are you doing now?  

I’m managing the India Programme for 2015/2016 to make sure that it runs smoothly and that we take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. We are completely run by volunteers and we all put in a lot of hours behind the scenes to ensure that our programmes are as strong as possible.

I have also just started a new job which I’m really excited about where I’m hoping to gain more management experience. I still find time to work on creative projects alongside these commitments.

What advice would you give to people thinking about applying to the DiA India Internship Placement Scheme?

Ask the committee a lot of questions because the majority of us have travelled and are more than happy to discuss what life will be like while you’re on placement. Don’t forget that your journey doesn’t end when you arrive home!

 

Join Development in Action and Tenteleni for the Global Citizenship Forum 2015: ‘At home and overseas: The impact of young volunteers’. An interactive, audience-led discussion and Q&A on the contribution of young volunteers to development.

Tuesday 17th November, 6pm at Rise London, 69-89 Mile End Rd, London E1 4TT.  More information, including that of guest speakers available at gcf2015.wordpress.com


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.

Working in India – An Interview with Josh Reece-Moore

Working in India – An Interview with Josh Reece-Moore

Volunteering abroad is often a short-lived experience. For Josh Reece-Moore, travelling to India was the start of a wonderful project that combined fashion, textile design, and traditional artwork by the women he taught. Sidra Khalid spoke to Josh about his internship experience.

In the summer of 2014, Josh Reece-Moore travelled to Pune, India, as part of Development in Action’s two-month internship placement. This would mark the beginning of a collaborative journey that would eventually end up with Josh lugging two suitcases full of artwork halfway across the world. I spoke to Josh, who is now our India Programme Officer on the DiA Committee, about why he decided to embark on a placement with DiA.

For Josh, a Textile Design student at the Chelsea College of Art & Design, going to India was never a question of a whim, but was a conscious choice. “I’m interested in the people behind the things we consume,” Josh says. More specifically, he tells me, he is interested in sustainability in the fashion supply chain.

It’s certainly an admirable notion, to really consider where the things that we wear and discard are made, and how. With the advent of swishing and high street brands such as H&M looking to ‘green-up’ their image, more and more businesses and consumers are looking for ethical options when it comes to fashion. Josh’s quest to make the production process more personal, connected and ethical led him to India – a huge exporter of textiles.

The women behind the designs
The women behind the designs. Photo by Josh Reece-Moore

In the Indian city of Pune, Josh volunteered with Deep Griha Society, DiA’s partner NGO that works on diverse issues such as women empowerment, community outreach and health. It was here, while he was working in the women’s income-generation programme, that he decided to embark on a collaborative project. The idea was simple: to turn the artwork of the women taking his creative workshop into wearable textiles.

Immediately, Josh ran into some problems. Language was one of these. Another was that the women he worked with often wanted to please, and if he praised any one student for her work, it would lead to a whole slew of copy-cats. Laughing, Josh tells me, “A big culture thing was where they would always copy whatever they thought was best in the class!”

Eventually however, these hiccups were smoothed out as his students began to grow more comfortable. “One of the techniques I used was blind-drawing, or I got them to draw each other. The women had already done creative workshops, so they were already trained in art techniques. I’d also try to push them towards their strengths,” Josh tells me.

Fabric designed by women from Deep Griha
The final fabric designed using artwork by women from Deep Griha. Photo by Rob Owen

It was then that his students really began to express themselves and created striking, original artwork that Josh knew would work well as textile designs. When he came back to London, he set to work. Using the two suitcases packed with artwork, he began the long process to turn these into digital textile designs. Currently, Josh has six designs which are going to be turned into fabric as a final, wearable product. Through this project, he wants to raise awareness about the work of Deep Griha Society: “I have these really strong visuals that tell a story and get people interested.”

As a last thought, I asked Josh what he enjoyed most about the experience, and his reply is a testament to the value of volunteering and connecting with others: “My fondest memory,” he says, “is of running the workshops with the women. We had so much fun together. I remember times when we couldn’t stop laughing over funny drawings of each other that had come out warped and silly. But more than all the fun we had is this: I found my students inspirational. I learned as much from them as they did from me.”

To learn more about our India Programme and application process, go here.

 


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Why did you choose DiA? Reflections from a former India volunteer

Why did you choose DiA? Reflections from a former India volunteer

With applications for DiA’s 2-month Indian Summer placements closing on Friday 2 May, 2012 volunteer Jenny Frydrych talked to Blog Editor Louisa Jones about her experiences abroad and how they have helped her break into the International Development Sector.

 

Jenny (far right) at Deep Griha Society's Melava+ event in August 2012. Photo courtesy Jenny Frydrych.
Jenny (far right) at Deep Griha Society’s Melava+ event in August 2012. Photo courtesy Jenny Frydrych.

Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.

DiA Global Citizenship Forum 2013

The idea of a global citizen is at the heart of the Development in Action’s work. But what is global citizenship? DiA Secretary Catherine Glew looks to our recent Global Citizenship Forum for answers

From left to right: Dr Nicole Blum, Jonathan Fryer, Daniela Papi and our trustee Katie Hill
From left to right: Dr Nicole Blum, Jonathan Fryer, Daniela Papi and our trustee Katie Hill

As a politics graduate student with a background in philosophy, I’ve navigated my fair share of –ologies, –isations and –isms. But some terms seem to defy definition – or, at least, invite many different and contradictory views.

Global citizenship is certainly hard to define. The term is widely used – UCL, London’s self-declared ‘global university’, touts itself as providing “education for global citizenship.” NGOs such as Oxfam and government bodies such as DfID have embraced the term. DiA itself exists to promote global citizenship by engaging young people. But what does it actually mean? Keep reading →


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Development in Action.

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Have an opinion on this or another topic? Why not write for our blog? Click here to find out more and get in touch.