Ten years on from volunteering with Development in Action Mandarin Bennet is still passionate about ensuring that international volunteering has a lasting impact and ethical underpinning. Here writes about what she has learnt (and continues to learn) since her time with DiA.
I became the UK coordinator for Development in Action nearly a decade ago. What drew me to DiA was that its philosophy on volunteering and development was exactly in line with what I had learned experientially after a year volunteering in Nepal.
I volunteered with a rural development organization straight after I graduated from university. Every time I thought I could offer a solution or way of contributing, I would realize that it wasn’t so simple. In fact, the more I looked into the root causes of the problems faced in Nepal, the more I discovered how closely interlinked they were with issues back in the UK. I remember thinking that whatever small contribution my presence could offer to a remote Nepali community, I would be able to have a more powerful impact on the same issues as an activist and educator in my own country.