I am a Welsh-born member of the public, currently residing in Colliers Wood. From July to September 2013 I was lucky enough to gain a place on International Citizen Service, a scheme funded by the Department for International Development and run by a consortium of 10 different international development agencies, which sends British volunteers aged 18-25 overseas to work in developing countries with local volunteers on a variety of development projects.

For ten weeks I worked with Restless Development in rural Nepal, living with a local family and delivering a sexual and reproductive health programme to young people in the rural Dolakha district. I count this experience as one of the most valuable of my life, and I currently work on ICS as a member of Restless Development staff.

I am sure that by now you have seen the aftermath of the earthquake which struck Nepal on Saturday, 25th April. The death toll currently stands at 4,600, and it was stated today by Nepali Prime Minister Sushil Koirala that this could reach 10,000. The capital city of Kathmandu has been devastated, and conditions in Gorkha district, nearer the epicentre, are worse. Dolakha district, where my placement was located, has also been badly affected. The effects of the earthquake on the social, cultural and economic life of Nepal are incalculable, but without a doubt will be felt for decades to come.

I know that I speak for myself, my fellow volunteers and many other travellers to Nepal when I say that the kindness and generosity of the Nepali people is unparalleled. I was welcomed into their homes as a member of the family, and as such I feel a deep connection with the people of Nepal. My fellow returned volunteers from ICS Nepal have set up a fundraising page for Restless Development and their partner NGO in Dolakha, Community Environment Education and Public Awareness for Rural Development (CEEPARD). These organisations are currently on the ground in Dolakha, and the money collected, currently standing at £1,200, will be donated to them to aid in their disaster response work.


Rhys Prosser

via email