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Dagenham volunteer inspired to join fight against coronavirus after trip to Africa

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 April 2020

Graduates from the Livelihoods program in Mbuyuni, Tanzania. Picture: VSO International

Graduates from the Livelihoods program in Mbuyuni, Tanzania. Picture: VSO International

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A woman who spent 10 weeks volunteering in Tanzania is now using her skills to help the community.

The opening of the new market space in Mbuyuni, Tanzania. Picture: VSO InternationalThe opening of the new market space in Mbuyuni, Tanzania. Picture: VSO International

Winnifred Mfum from Dagenham travelled to the east African country with international development organisation Raleigh International as part of a UK government funded International Citizen Service (ICS) programme.

The 19 year old said: “Seeing how a group of strangers could come together and help others, made me want to get more involved in my community.”

Once the effects of Covid-19 started to have a bigger impact in the UK, Winnifred was spurred on to play her part, signing up to be part of the NHS Volunteer Responders program aimed at helping the health service cope with the pandemic.

During her trip to Tanzania, Winnifred was part of a project teaching young people and adults how to run a business and use their skills to make money.

Winnifred said: “This was especially true for the young women in the community who were limited in the things that they could do and achieve in life.”

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Winnifred’s group worked alongside Tanzanian volunteers to provide a course for people in Morogoro, Iringa and Kilosa villages.

After finishing the course, the entrepreneurs pitched ideas to a panel to get a grant to for supplies to start their businesses.

Winnifred said: “The majority of people who pitched were able to get funding. Seeing how proud they were when buying their supplies made all our hard work worth it.

“It was an amazing opportunity which more people should experience for the sake of sharing knowledge and being an active global citizen.”

Winnifred is now using the skills she developed to do an Action At Home project in the UK, meaning communities here benefit from volunteers’ experiences.

ICS is funded by UK aid, so young people don’t need cash, qualifications or work experience to take part, just the desire to make a difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest communities.

Felicity Morgan, Director of ICS, said: “It’s really inspiring to hear about the fantastic work Winnifred is doing. We’re incredibly proud that UK aid is supporting young Brits to bring about positive change.”

For more about ICS or to apply visit volunteerics.org.


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