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
Pauline
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible adventure

This experience of 6 months in Saint-Vincent-and-the-Grenadines was unique and I will never forgot it ! I met people from all over the world with different background and it was an incredible human experience. This program help me to grow up, to be envolved and to learned a lot. Thanks to Richmond Vale Academy and all the person I met, today I really know what I want and what is my purpose. Also I’m aware about the world where I live and the importance to take care of the Earth. Projects allow us to work directly with the community by taking actions and do the maximum to have a positive impact in the island.
The program show us the collective strength, help us to build our opinion and our vision of the present and the future. I also learn how to improve my relationship with people : tolerance, listening, trust, empathy… The things that I really appreciate is that you are never alone : your team become part of your family. I did a lot of things that I never think I was able to do thanks to the experience. To conclude, don't hesitate, this program is amazing !

Pros
  • Cultural exchange
  • Positive impact
  • Collective spirit
Default avatar
Elizabeth
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

More than a program!

My dream was joining an international volunteering program, but I never expect will be one of my best and happiest experiences in life, live that experience in Saint Vincent influenced a lot. Learning about different topics provided by the school like permaculture and have the amazing opportunity to live in the community taught me many educational and spiritual things, the local people, and their incredible willingness to help and teach us about everything made the time there so special.
This experience expands my vision about the situations that we face in our world like poverty and climate change, things that we cannot wait to take action and also filled my heart and soul with knowledge and sweet people, I learned from their example and this is something that we cannot postpone either in our lives, the possibility to live and experience more emotions and feelings that makes us a little bit better human beings.

Pros
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Culture
Default avatar
Ana María
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A light on my way

I'd say that having the opportuniy to do "Fighting with the Poor" program at RVA, changed my life. Since the first moment I had the tools to enjoy my experience at the maximum. I learned about permaculture, sustainable development, food security, Climate Change, etc. Working with the community was the best thing I could live. Before starting the program I finished my law degree and I didn't know about my real passion, for that reason this program was a light on my way, because nowadays, I finally can say that working with people is something that I want to do for the rest of my life. This program overcome all my expectations!

Pros
  • Cultural exchange
  • Taking action
Default avatar
Nathalie
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

SVG My Happy Home

Being a volunteer in the Island allowed me to be stronger and grateful.
Every day of the program was possible to discuss and learn a new idea related to values, behaviors, cultural aspects, history, skills, and attitudes to grow mentally, emotionally, and intellectually. That opportunity to reflect on your posture to work together for a positive impact is the best achievement I got throughout the program.
I will say that any time you are considering to be a volunteer think about the words Selly Paterson from Rose Hall, told my team one day "Pass on all the knowledge and all the love."

Pros
  • Empowering
  • Enjoyable
  • Enlightening
Default avatar
Mami
4/5
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.

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.