By Melissa Kasule
A woman returned from Zambia to use her volunteering experience to help out back home in London.
Naashida Abbey-Johnson from Greenwich worked alongside young volunteers from Zambia and the UK on a sustainable development project in Zambia.
Ms Abbey-Johnson, pictured above, is now using the skills she developed overseas to carry out an ‘Action At Home’ project back in the UK.
She travelled with international development organisation VSO, part of the UK government-funded International Citizen Service (ICS) programme.
The ‘Action at Home’ project is a key part of the ICS programme, where UK communities benefit directly from the experiences of ICS volunteers.
Ms Abbey-Johnson said: “STIs and teenage pregnancy are prevalent within Zambia due to a lack of knowledge on the topic.
“The fact that the subject of sex is taboo means that many young people and adults don’t know how to correctly use contraceptives or how to have safe sex.
“I believe that knowledge is power and I was able to experience that first hand while empowering individuals in Zambia.
“However, spreading knowledge does not end there. Whether someone lives in Zambia or the UK, there are many things that they don’t know.
“After this experience, I realised that this community has taught me so much and that is what I want to share. To allow people to know that villages in Africa are not simply filled with starving children, but a vibrant close-knit community of intelligent and resourceful individuals. I went there to help raise awareness on the topic of STI’s however, I gained so much more than I could give.”
Ms Abbey-Johnson raised £800 for VSO, which will ensure communities in developing countries can continue to benefit from the work of volunteers.
ICS allows youths aged 18-25 to contribute to sustainable development projects in Africa and Asia.
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