With high levels of unemployment and a severe lack of jobs available in the countries where we'll deliver our programmes, enterprise and entrepreneurship focused activities provide a practical way for communities to stimulate their economic activity in a real way. Through the provision of skills, raw materials and the means of production as well as access to new markets, RE:13 is directly engaged in activity designed to provide tangible outcomes for individuals, children, families and communities across our host countries.
The idea for this project was conceived in 2017, with the first RE:13 international volunteering programme being delivered in Chipinge, Zimbabwe in February 2018. RE:13 founder, Natalie Freeman's interest and passion for Zimbabwe was born from her six month period of volunteering in Rusape, a small town in Zimbabwe in 2015. She followed her initial visit with a research trip in December 2015/January 2016.
People she had met and worked with during those experiences demonstrated their interest in making a difference to lives through volunteering, engaging in community development activities and undertaking work with various projects and the realisation that volunteerism and an active desire to create and implement local and national solutions to challenges across Zimbabwe, is very much in the consciousness and efforts of Zimbabwean people, contrary to media representations and outside perception. RE:13's project will support this work, not takeover! We are a collaborative organisation that is focused on working with local expertise, in recognition of the fact that our efforts are a support and enhancement for existing work, not a substitute or replacement for it. We are led by local need, not the other way round.
Recycle, Refresh, Renew!
RE:13 is focused on being sustainable in both its delivery and it's production methods. We will be using fabric scraps, unused garments and up-cycled textiles to create new and re-purposed clothing, accessories and home decor items. The use of recycling and up-cycling gives the project its sustainable angle, and makes use of the large amount of by-product from the garment industry. Finding a creative way to utilise this waste material to create new items of beauty and function, whilst creating an income for our project participants, is the foundation of this project. It also serves as a cost-effective entry point for the businesses we will support.
Raw materials will be made available for the project participants, with this forming part of our investment into their start-ups. Through the programme of business skills training, technical sewing skills training and access to sewing machines and other sewing resources, RE:13 provides a full-range of support to help grow and develop aspiring businesses, and further assists in providing sales opportunities in the host country, across Africa and overseas.
Enterprise Skills Sessions
The foundation of the project will be the enterprise skills sessions that will be delivered to a wide range of aspiring entrepreneurs with businesses or business ideas from a range of sectors, and not limited to those interested in garment construction and textile based business. This approach will ensure that as many participants as possible are equipped with the knowledge and skills to make money from any business that they'll start or grow. Topics will include: market research, product design, pricing, cashflow planning, resource mobilisation, social media management, retail skills and more. RE:13 creative business participants will be identified from this larger group and taken forward to starting their businesses with us.
The enterprise skills sessions will be strongly rooted in the local experience and context. These sessions will be supported through the provision of RE:13 Enterprise resources. These transferable skills will be applicable to any number of enterprises, and these sessions form part of RE:13's aim to provide opportunities for practical learning and engagement to as many people as we can reach with our time and resources.
1. It allows the volunteers to bring their skills, experiences, knowledge and passion to the delivery of the project, providing a pivotal role in ensuring that all of overall objectives are met
2. Living and working in a host country community presents opportunities for cultural and knowledge exchange between all participants
3. The are numerous opportunities for personal and professional development and growth, through the challenging of the volunteers' perceptions, working in an international context and being out of one's "comfort zone"
This picture is of Karen, at Prince Charles View in Mutare, with a view overlooking Mozambique. She volunteered with RE:13 in July 2018.
Watch our volunteer recruitment video below, for information about how volunteers can support RE:13 and how volunteering provides benefits to all participants. The dates aren't relevant any longer, but the information definitely is!
"OK I'm in! Is it free?"
Like other international volunteering programmes, there is a fundraising requirement for each participant. For RE:13 each volunteer is required to raise £1,885 for their participation in the programme. This fee, which can be collected in two installments or all at once - provides a contribution towards your flight, accommodation, visa, insurance, meals, internal travel and a small weekly stipend. All other project costs are covered by RE:13. Any expenses outside of this are at your personal discretion, but the point is that once you have made your contribution of £1,885 you don't have to bring any other funds with you, unless you wish to.
RE:13 are able to offer you support in relation to your fundraising activities, as I know it can feel like a daunting task. From my experience of raising money to undertake my own volunteering placement and to run this programme, we have created the RE:13 Fundraising Tips Guide to help you in your fundraising efforts. You are welcome to contact me at any time for support, encouragement and to generate ideas of how you can achieve your target.
You may also be asked to take part in RE:13's own fundraising activities - this is optional. However, joining our efforts together will aid with ensuring the project's success and longevity. It's important for RE:13 that no volunteers feel alone in undertaking their fundraising.
"Great. When do we go?"
UK based volunteers will be travelling to our host countries from London at various times in the year. Final dates will be confirmed once your application has been received. If you have any periods where you cannot commit to a four week period away, please let me know via your application form.
Your evenings and weekends are your free time. An itinerary will be shared with all volunteers before departure, however it is important that you are aware that this is subject to change, depending on the needs of the project. We will ensure that any changes are communicated as early in advance as possible.
Please note, this is a volunteering activity that is focused on working to ensure the success of our project and will be intensive in terms of our working days, activities and brain power! It really isn't a holiday. We may get the chance to do some local sightseeing, but it must be stressed that this is not a holiday in any way, shape or form.
It is a job, just with different terms and conditions, and requires the same level of commitment, effort, energy and focus that we give to our day jobs or businesses. It really isn't a holiday...yes, I've repeated this so it's really clear!