What Emmanuel learnt as an ICS Volunteer in Liberia

Meet Emmanuel Kerkulah, International Citizen Service (ICS) Volunteer Supervisor for YMCA Liberia. Emmanuel began working on the ICS programme last May following a successful voluntary placement earlier in that year. Emmanuel has consistently demonstrated dedication and enthusiasm for ICS since his first day as a volunteer in January 2017 and, as you will see from reading his words below, is truly passionate about making a change to the lives of young people in Liberia.  

“Y Care International has given me the opportunity to make a difference and to have an impact on the lives of our youth. My success in volunteerism has given me the chance to leave my mark on the community in a positive way.

Opportunity comes to those who seek to find it. So, I am. My time to shine was not in my home, was not in my community, or in my college. Interestingly, my time to shine really started at the Liberia YMCA when I took the opportunity to apply for the ICS programme position of In-Country Volunteer that was advertised at the YMCA head office in Monrovia.

During the start of my placement, I worked with other young people from the United Kingdom (UK) which really inspired the work I did with the team. We were assigned to work with schools and communities promoting healthy living for Liberian children and youth.

My time as an in-country volunteer on the ICS programme has impacted my life greatly through the interaction with the UK volunteers of shared learning and cultural exchange. This interaction really built my personal development by allowing me to explore my dreams of becoming a social worker to serve humanity, which I think is the best thing to do.

For my Action at Home project I conducted a study class in a community in Sinkor, Monrovia with 15 young people (students). I talked to them about the risks of practicing poor personal hygiene, and I told them about the benefits of practicing good personal hygiene; that they would live longer and enjoy education in the future.

Importantly, one of the most exciting times of my life on the ICS programme, which I see as a tremendous achievement, is moving from volunteer to Volunteer Supervisor [a paid, full-time role]. My present position as Volunteer Supervisor has added prestige to my entire life among my peers, in my community and workplace, where other young people see me as a positive role model for them.

Additionally, I was privileged to have won a six-hundred United States Dollars ($600.00 USD) ICV alumni grant from VSO to organise two days of community health awareness sessions with young people in the communities of Mandingo, Lango Town, New Kakata and Buzzi quarters.

All these things did not come from the blue sky, but rather from the skills acquired on the ICS programme in Liberia through the YMCA. The YMCA/ICS programme has placed me in a better driving seat so that I can reach out to other young people to encourage them to help in their community and Liberia at large.”

If Emmanuel’s story has inspired you, you can read more about our ICS programme here.

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