Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we were unable to go on Project Week this year. We had planned to go to Puerto Galera and work with poverty alleviation and nation-building non-profit organisation called Gawad Kalinga. It aims to end poverty for 5 million families by 2024.

When I was deciding what I would do during Project Week, I investigated a few different organisations that were on the list – I knew I wanted to do a service trip because it spoke to my passions, but I didn’t know exactly what to do. I first considered The Stairway Foundation, a non-profit organisation also. However, due to logistical reasons, this didn’t work out – and Rick Hannah suggested Gawad Kalinga to us instead.

I had originally wanted to do a service trip where I could be actively involved, and I asked a few people without groups if they were interested in going to the Philippines to an organisation I had found (usually visited by Dover students). It was challenging to stay on top of it – especially as there was already a lot of uncertainty surrounding the virus. But we divided the work and thus were relatively well organised, with travel (sim cards, costs, visas, immunisation etc), accommodation, and emergency plans (local contact, first aid training, hospitals etc). I largely learnt to work with others; I tend to like to do things myself so I can be sure that they get done but in the planning of Project Week, I really had to learn to trust my peers.

We planned to help out in Gawad Kalinga with whatever they needed – and we had contacted them for any possible resources or donations we could bring. We also planned to run some workshops with the kids – although this was to be largely dependent on the organisation and their schedule.

Mr Hickey, our supervisor, was very helpful throughout the process – he had supervised a group going to Gawad Kalinga the year before, and so he was familiar with the necessary visas, vaccinations, and already had contact information with the organisation.