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My name is Kate Hartley, I am 24 years old and I live in the South East of England. At the age of 18 I went travelling on my gap year to India, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos. Following this I completed my Music degree at Southampton University in 2009. Whilst continuing with my performing and teaching the harp I started a new job for a Community Interest Company which made films promoting environmental and sustainable education to Primary Schools. In 2010 I embarked on a new more challenging role as the PA and Office Manager for the internationally celebrated artist Alexander Creswell.
In December 2011 I finally took the plunge and gave up everything that I had built up to pursue an itch that I had had since 2006 when I fell in love with India. I had done a variety of fundraising and volunteering in the UK but I wanted to sink my teeth into a real challenge. I chose SCAD for that very reason and decided to volunteer for between 3 – 5 months in 2012. I was particularly interested in SCAD’s focus on women’s empowerment through the women’s self-help groups and the sustainable approach throughout. As a rural NGO based in Tamil Nadu, I knew that SCAD would give me a real insight into local, low caste village life, as well as an opportunity to experience a completely different world. I chose SCAD because unlike a number of other charities they put the needs of the project and the local people above the needs of the volunteer. It is not a money making exercise tailored to suit the needs of the western visitor, but an opportunity to be welcomed into the community which values the extra help whilst offering an insight into how a visionary organisation operates.
For me this will be a life changing venture through which I hope I can help in some small way. I will also gain an experience which will benefit not only my career, but the rest of my life.