2020 isn't turning out how we expected, so we're looking back on some of the incredible things our volunteers were able to achieve in 2019.
1. Our Health Promotion and Paramedic volunteers in Thailand delivered our first ever first aid and safety workshop for the local law enforcement. Our volunteers normally deliver these sessions for students and community members at our partner schools and in the hill-tribes, but the local law enforcement had seen their incredible work and requested a session for themselves. They wish to continue this training into the future as well!
2. The Cambodia hub launched their eco-brick project. With the help of dedicated and passionate Cambodia Community Challenge volunteers, the first of many eco bricks were created in collaboration with the children at our supplementary education classes. It’s proving to be an incredible way to reduce the amount of plastics polluting the environment and create new, sustainable and affordable structures!
3. A group of Nutrition/Dietetics and Sexual and Reproductive Health students completed a needs assessment in two of our partner schools in Nepal. They developed an intervention on the menstruation cycle and its purpose which was then delivered in mixed male and female classes in order to help break cultural taboos around menstruation.
4. Our Health Promotion volunteers in Peru delivered workshops on nutrition, hygiene and hydration with children in grades 1-6. One workshop explored the amount of sugar that is in local drinks and our volunteers discovered that even the teachers were shocked to learn that a small bottle of the local favourite, Inca Kola, contains 12 teaspoons of sugar! Obesity is a large issue in the communities we work with in Peru so creating an educational and informative conversation around diet is the first step to combating this.
5. Our volunteers in India worked to find a local solution to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the community and school environment. Four QUT Education Challenge Volunteers worked with the eco-club at one of our partner schools to construct a hanging garden made of plastic water bottles! Over two weeks they collected bottles and with the help from the students, they cut and wired them to be able to hold plants and soil. The experience illustrated how we can all work together in re-thinking how we reuse plastic waste.
6. At Challenges Abroad Australia we had our biggest numbers of volunteers joining us and travelling overseas in 2019! It was exciting and inspiring to see so many passionate young people from around Australia taking up the challenge to fight inequality, work together towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals and challenge themselves personally and professionally at the same time.
2019 really was such a great year for us and we were so excited to see what 2020 would hold. January and February saw another peak in volunteer numbers but by March that had all changed as we saw COVID-19 infiltrate our society and global community in every aspect.
This only makes us more grateful for the ability to travel and support our overseas communities and we can’t wait to have programs up and running again. If you’re looking for a way to support us during this time please donate to our charity and share our campaign so we can continue to support and celebrate the incredible work they do. Stay safe everyone!