‘I want to change the world’, it was a dream that everyone had at least once in their lives. From the toddler times where tying your velcro shoes was your achievement to moving through secondary school and onto college, filled with the belief that anything is possible. At SERVE the organisation believes that what you do really can change global matters. Established in Cork in 2003, SERVE advocated volunteering, overseas development of nations and global citizenship. As the world began to shrink due to the influence of technology on the lives of everyone SERVE decided it was time to reevaluate the situation and consider how to influence meaningful change in the world.
SERVE as a charity has helped individuals across the globe from Mozambique to the Philippines and through the years the charity has lived through their values of a commitment to volunteering; global education; and solidarity in action. The volunteer sector itself has moved into a new phase since the advent of COVID-19 given the restrictions on travel that have been enforced across the country so SERVE’s question now turns to how can volunteers offer their services when confined to Ireland, and so the ‘Think Global, Act Local’ programme was born.
The programme, which runs from April to October, offers participants an insight into the work of global citizenship and how that impacts on society in a global perspective. When you sign up to the programme a volunteer and reflection process begins which includes three online global forums, two reflection sessions, all combined with in-person and virtual volunteering opportunities. As well as allowing you to give something back to the world, they serve to challenge the participant and allow them to learn new skills.
Those who work with SERVE see this as a favourable project for all who are involves as SERVE Chairperson Gerry O’Connor illustrated at the launch, “The Think Global, Act Local programme is meant to open our eyes to all we can become by being proactive about social issues and showing solidarity to help reduce inequalities” something that has been one of the key values of SERVE from their genesis in 2003. At the same event, SERVE’s Volunteer Coordinator, Fiachra Brennan, explained, “Think Global, Act Local is an interactive programme. It’s a great opportunity to come together with people who have varied experiences and explore the Global Goals and Social Justice together. The complete programme is centred around the inputs of participants so there is a huge scope to build one’s learning around their specific interests”. The emphasis on the interactivity of the programme shows the scope of the project and what benefits are available for all players, should they choose to participate.
For those of us who want to change the world, the opportunity to do so does not have to be in far flung places which at the moment are at a distant reach because of travel restrictions. Changing the world can start in your own community, your own home, with the support of a virtual community around you.
The deadline to apply for this programme is March 26th 2021, to find out more visit https://www.serve.ie/thinkglobalactlocal/