2017 was a great year for me, but the three months I spent as an ICS volunteer with Restless Development South Africa have been my highlight. My name is Nwabisa Nodangala, a 22 years old female Young Leader and ICS alumni from Libode Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Volunteering was a challenging journey for me –  I came in shy with no confidence and had never been away from my family longer than a month, let alone three months living in a community with people I had never met or been with before. On the other hand it was the most educational journey that I had ever undertaken in my entire life, discovering myself, gaining skills and knowledge around various topics like HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence, public speaking, facilitation and event organising skills.

Nwabisa demonstrating an energizer with learners at Ndasana JSS

The three UK volunteer counterparts I was placed with helped a lot in making the journey a once in a lifetime experience. We shared accommodation, food, sleeping area to sessions, love for children, and our saddest and happiest moments together. This turned our bond from just friendship to sisterhood and to this day three months later we are still in contact. I never pictured myself standing in front of a crowd of any kind, but my sisters supported and coached me on my facilitation and public speaking skills and were able to deliver sessions in front of groups of 50 learners and more.

Nwabisa delivering a speech at Good Will pre-school

After school we used to help children from the community do homework and just played and had fun with them. Today as part of my action at home I support a disadvantaged pre-school in my community, Libode, by raising funds for the school. On December 1 2017, before schools closed, we held a Christmas party for the kids where they were given presents. I look forward to the next year, raising more funds for the school to extend it so that more kids can be accepted and accommodated into the school. 

Nwabisa Nodangala was an ICS volunteer in South Africa. To find out more about ICS, and how you could deliver impact and create change, visit our website.

What do you think?