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IVHQ Launches Volunteer of the Year Award

IVHQ Launches Volunteer of the Year Award

New Plymouth, New Zealand (Wednesday 6 March 2013) - With over 20,000 volunteers joining International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) since 2007, the impact of their joint contribution to developing communities abroad is undeniable. Even more remarkable is the incredible initiative and on-going contributions of many individual volunteers, which is being recognised through the inaugural IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Award.

After receiving hundreds of nominations for the Volunteer of the Year Award, IVHQ has selected a panel of ten worthy finalists, ranging in age from 25 to 53 and hailing from hometowns in the USA, Sweden, Colombia, Australia and New Zealand, with two finalists now residing in Kenya.

From leveraging viral sports videos to purchase a sports field for orphans in Kenya, to supporting the education of over one hundred talented slum children in India, these IVHQ volunteers have made life changing commitments to bring sustainable change to the communities they have volunteered in.

“We’re excited to be launching the Volunteer of the Year Award and supporting such an inspiring group of volunteers and their sustainable projects,” says IVHQ Executive Director, Daniel Radcliffe.

“I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy narrowing the nominees down to just ten finalists and the number of IVHQ volunteers dedicated to making on-going contributions to their projects is truly awesome,” continues Daniel.

Over USD 10,000 in donations will be awarded and all ten finalists will receive a monetary donation towards their project, with the size of the donation depending on the number of votes received from the public. Voting has opened and will run for a period of two weeks, closing at midnight NZST on Friday 15, March 2013.
Each finalist has great vision for how the award money will be spent and after receiving over 3,000 votes in the first few days of voting, the support from the international community for these volunteers is immense.

Kiwi-born and now Kenya-based finalist, Marcus Gregar-Rive, is embracing the Volunteer of the Year Award as an opportunity to achieve sustainable funding for his project, the Kitendo Children’s Charity (KCC) Slum Project.

“Our strategy is to invest in a new opportunity that has arisen for KCC. Investing in 17 acres of fertile ready farm land and a business proposal that is quite simply, one of the biggest opportunities KCC Slum Project has had to date. The prize money will go directly into getting this farm set up including fertilizer, pesticide, land preparation, seed, manure, local labour much more. The beauty of this is that the money would actually be an investment. From the sales of produce, donations can then be generated for the projects,” says Marcus.

John Schupbach, a medical student and founder of Squalor to Scholar (non-profit providing talented slum children with world-class education opportunities) states: “Within 5 years, Squalor to Scholar will be educating 450 students. In 14 years, we will watch the children who benefit from this award money graduate from high school and attend their first day of university. By that time, more than 1,000 scholars from impoverished and persecuted backgrounds will be following in their footsteps at some of the most prestigious schools in their areas. These educations will have an extraordinary impact on our students, their families, and the communities in which they live for many generations to come.”

With clear long-term visions laid out, the IVHQ community can feel confident the overall award of USD 5,000 award will be invested in a sustainable and worthy project – whatever the outcome of the voting.

“We envision that by sharing the stories and supporting the projects of our finalists, we can inspire future IVHQ volunteers to consider how they can contribute to the bigger picture in the developing communities they are working in,” says Daniel Radcliffe.

To view the profiles of the finalists and cast your vote for IVHQ Volunteer of the Year, visit http://www.volunteerhq.org/volunteer-of-the-year.html.

About International Volunteer HQ:

New-Zealand based International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) provides safe, quality and highly affordable volunteering programs in developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Each year IVHQ places over 8,000 travellers in volunteering programs abroad and offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.

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