I’m a passionate advocate for change and a strong believer in the idea that ‘it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness’. I wanted an opportunity to make a difference and a chance to join global efforts to make the world a slightly brighter place instead of merely criticising it; GVI enabled me to do precisely that. After volunteering with GVI in Thailand on the Under 18’s programme in 2015, I gained a deep passion for making a difference and discovered the benefits of volunteering; both the positive effects it has on the local communities you are actively supporting, but also within myself. I could not wait to join another project with the organisation and when the prospect of attending the Alumni Exclusive Trip to Cape Town came up, I jumped at the offer. I spent one week volunteering with children at Ikhayalethemba and undoubtedly, it was the most superb, humbling and awe-inspiring seven days I have experienced in my life. The children, staff and fellow volunteers were brilliant and the memories I created and shared with those wonderful people will always remain close to my heart. Whether I was teaching the alphabet, reading ‘Biff and Chip’ to the children, completing some arts and crafts or playing a game of tag rugby, the children constantly left me with a smile on my face and an aching stomach from an extensive amount of laughter. Staff and volunteers on the project were from all over the world, with different faiths, ages, genders and backgrounds. Despite all these differences, we were all in the same place at the same time with the same aim: To make a difference; for me, that was astonishingly powerful. You go on these projects with an idea of changing lives in mind; you do not realise that your life changes in the process.