Fight Poverty and Global Warming

Richmond Vale Academy

About

By educating people from St. Vincent and the rest of the world, Richmond Vale Academy aims to build the capacity, knowledge and confidence in its’ students. By achieving personal growth and development, future leaders of St. Vincent and of the world will take action for a more just and more sustainable world.

Richmond Vale Academy trains activists with collective abilities to fight poverty and improve the environment. In the programs at Richmond Vale Academy, we tackle life-important subject matters. That is why we are passionate about what we do. Half of the people on this Earth belong to the ranks of the poor, meaning that every day is a struggle to find water, food and shelter, get a job, send one's children to school and avoid preventable, yet often fatal, diseases.

The Academy currently runs two programs:
1. The Climate Activism Program (6 months internships)
2. Volunteer with communities in Belize and Ecuador (10 - months training and field work experience ).

Reviews

Default avatar
Mami
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It is an irreplaceable experience.

A half-year spent in SVG with environmentally conscious people was an inspiring moment. I was exposed to various knowledge and skills and there was a motivational environment created by the peers. Initially, it was a huge challenge for my team to bond and cooperate together but through different projects and overcoming the ongoing struggles we faced every day during the service period in Belize, we got connected to become best friends for life. The other half-year in Belize was something very special. It pushed me to go beyond my comfort zone and little by little I learned that anything would be possible if the first step can be made! In the end, my team had a whole village of heartful family. This program requires you to be creative, flexible, and humble but I believe those are the features you won't regret developing.

Default avatar
Romain
10/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Fighting with the Poor (RVA)

Being at RVA has given me a better purpose in my life and I feel more in depth with myself. This has been the most memorable time where I got to experience a totally different perspective and discover new passions and continue with the development of myself. Richmond Vale Academy is definitely the place to start if you are young and have curiosity for exploring the world and getting to know about the different practical and theorial knowledge on Climate Change and Poverty in general. Not to mention the new friends you will make and share an intricate bond together. Thank you Richmond Vale for helping me to have a better understanding of who I am and knowing that I have an important role to play in the fight against Poverty and Climate Change.

Default avatar
Mika
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fighting with the poor

I loved every minute of this program. It felt good to know that we were able to make an impact on different communities and give people the skills and knowledge they need to improve their lifestyles. I learned a lot of amazing lifelong skills. The staff at Richmond Vale Academy were all very supportive and positive, which made the experience even more enjoyable! We also had time for ourselves to explore and travel on our own which was very fun because we got to explore the neighboring islands and enjoy the views and experiences.

What was your funniest moment?
I had a lot of funny moments during the time i was in St. Vincent, but I think the funniest moment for me was when I was getting my scuba diving certificate and kept getting knocked over by the waves on my way in the water with the heavy gear not enabling me to stand back up
Default avatar
Jost
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

RVA - Climate Change Program

I was part of a 6 month program at Richmond Vale Academy on the beautiful island of St. Vincent. We were working in several smaller or bigger projects to take action against climate change. Our main project was to build gardens with people from the nearby town of chateublair to create food security and spread the message of organic, permaculture farming. During the project I learned alot, and although not everything is perfect and I don't agree with every the community of RVA stands for, the time and experience I had I consider to be amongst the best time of my life! While certain aspects of life at RVA were suboptimal when I was there (like the food we were not growing majorly ourselve at that point in time and the use of land on the property),most things that were suboptimal were in the process of change towards the better. Everything needs time and work and RVA provides a great environment for growth, an opportunity to take action and you'll meet plenty of nice people on the way. Besides work and the project... The beach and the gorgeous paradise Island of St. Vincent are stunning and the volcano hike is definitely one of the most beautiful hikes you can do in your life!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring a reusable water bottle with at least 1 litre capacity, you'll need it!
Default avatar
Henrik
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My journey to the Caribbean

Hi,
my name is Henrik and I participated in the 6-months-program in 2019/2020. I had one of the best times of my life in Richmond Vale Academy (RVA)! Starting off with a group of complete strangers from around the globe, sharing similar values in terms of ecology and sustainable living was exciting. Together, with other teams and the teachers we lived at the campus, which you can see on the Youtube Channel.

The program consists of theoretical and practical pieces in the beginning. Getting to know the techniques of ecological farming and using them at the schools garden were my first steps into work. On top of gardening, we could choose an area, in which we would like to work. Maintenance, Kitchen, Garden or Promotion are just some of them. I enjoyed working in the warm climate and making the life in the school possible. As everyone had its one responsibillity in the group we all highly rely on each other, which soon created a familiar atmosphere.

Apart from all that work the freetime activities are amazing too. Hiking the volcano for an incredible view with the team, going for a dive at our own divecenter, enjoying the local beach or visiting Kingstown made me falling in love with the island.
The biggest project, "The homegardens" came soon and my team including our teacher moved into a house in the village RVA had chosen to be covered by the program. Finally we could use all our knowledge to build gardens and teach the locals about the potential right in their backyard. Within 6 weeks we had built 10 gardens and developed relations in the village, that still exist! Seeing the results after a few months and the thankfulness of the clients were a great feeling. We knew, that we did sth. right!
After that project we continued working at the campus and met the knew team. It was always great to meet new people and they welcomed us after our trip. Some evenings we played games together or the sports team organised another beach olympics.

In the end I always look back on that time as a wonderful experience, that opened my eyes for other cultures, gave me a lot of new friends and another home overseas!

Go for it guys! You´ll we love it.

What was your funniest moment?
While we were walking to a swimming destination on the road, a man picked us up with his car. Somehow we fit in 4 extra people even though he already had his 3 children in the back. Two of us in the trunk, two in the backseat with three kids... tight, but absolutely hilarious :D. The people there are so nice to aech other. He didnt want to leave us on the road.
Read my full story

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

Since I realized the problem of Climate Change I was thinking about what I could do to support the environmental movement. When I heard about the program from a friend, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. A combination of Climate Activism, physical work, sustainable agriculture and meeting a different culture. The idea of living in a community of people thinking the same way working hand in hand to maintain the campus was really catching me.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

After I send my first E-Mail I got support with different informational documents and personal contact. Every question I had was answered within a short time and I was well informed. I even received a document that made sure the immigration workers in St. Vincent would let me pass. Once I showed them that I was going to join RVA, they understood and even welcomed me to the country.
I only had to organize my own clothing for work, vaccinations and other medicine. Everything else was provided or available.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Dont forget to bring one or two pairs of gloves, sunscreen and mosquito spray. Some people were affected by them, but not me. I never used it. And bring a good camera if you can, because you will be surrounded by amazing nature.
You should be okay with living in a bedroom with another person and also bring enough idealism to see the work as a passion and not as.. you know work ^^.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

After you have been trained in the skills you need for the work at the campus, your week will look normally this way. From Monday to Saturday your day starts with breakfast at 07:00. What happens next depends on whether it is a practical or theoratical program. You will either work in your responsibility area (garden, kitchen, promotion, maintenance,etc.) or do other practical work, if needed. If it is a theory day, you will be part of a morning class, in which a teacher informs you about different topics concerning climate change.
Lunch is at 12:00 and Dinner at 6:00pm. Normally you will be finished with your work around 4 or 5pm and can go to the beach or call home before dinner. After dinner we used to play games or went for a night bath in the sea. Sunday is the day, that you can use however you want. Go to Kingstown, hike the Vulcano or go diving! On sundays breakfast is at 09:00.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was that I could not stand the hot climate, because I obviously never worked in a garden in the tropics. I told myself I just had to try and asked my friend about that. He told me, that everybody had adapted after a few weeks and that was also true for me. After I got tanned, I always enjoyed the sun! There are also some cloudy and rainy days, so you should really not share my concern.

How was the atmosphere among the participants?

Living at the Campus of Richmond Vale Academy is a wonderful experience. Working and living with the same around 50 people the whole day creates deep friendships, that you seldom find at normal schools. Due to the option to choose your responsibility area, you will work with people, that share your interests and enjoy every minute. At RVA everything is selfmade. Nobody, except the local workers, that support the students is really educated in the skills. You learn everything by doing it and that is the secret of RVAs success. Me and my team build a large pig enclosure without knowing anything about it before. Our teacher gave us advise and we just had to be creative. The result was rewarding! On top of that you will meet young people from all around the globe and can exchange your stories and thoughts, which was totally awesome. Now I have a lot of friends in different countries!

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Danail Tsvetanov Petrov

Job Title
Climate Compliance Teacher
Danail Tsvetanov Petrov

Education - High School/Secondary special – Forestry and logging. Worked in a managerial role in a parquet company for 6 years. Been a volunteer in Africa for 6 months. Finishing the College for International Co-operation and Development, Winestead Hall, United Kingdom.

What is your favorite travel memory?

The six months in Zambia were amazing and unforgettable for me. There I worked as a volunteer. One of my best moments was when we managed to build a tricycle for a boy who lost his ability to walk 3 years ago. Kennedy again started to go to school, to go to the shop, in the neighborhood, to help his family and to be a normal part of the society. The smile which I saw in his face when he saw the bicycle will remain in my memory forever. The tears of the eyes of his father changed my life forever, and since then I realized that I'm obligated to continue working in development area.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

My knowledge about Climate Change, poverty, social economical systems, organic farming and eco literacy increases every day since Im working for RVA. My position as a teacher has provided me with the knowledge to work in many different fields, with many different people. I became more flexible and humble.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

When the students come back from serving period in Belize or Ecuador and the work in the projects of Humana People to People, they have many different stories. For me, personally the best is always the interaction with the local community - the organic gardens which they built together, the different activities as mobilizing people to clean the village from plastic, the different workshops, the classes for healthy food, tropical diseases, etc.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I personally am teacher of the Climate Compliance program which is a 6 months. I love this program because it has the perfect mixture of theory lessons which are followed by practical actions in our academy or in the community. Addressing the Climate Change as a global threat for the entire biota is essential and there for the more people who join the better.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We are front runners in the education for Climate Change. But more than just studies we are giving practical examples of how to mitigate the carbon footprint. We are almost all year powered by a PV system, we harvest the rain water and use it for our domestic needs and for watering the garden.

We have biogas and biochar production. We produce organic vegetables and our animals are free range. Our students become Climate Change educators and whenever they go in the world they are able to speak about the issue. They are very well prepared to react in our changing world environment.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

All the people who are working in the academy are passionate in changing the world or more correctly - to stop polluting our home planet. All of us have common goals and this makes our communication much easier. All of us - principal, promoters, teachers, workers, students - are taking the decision how to run the academy together and this makes our small community very united.