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IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Finalists Announced

IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Finalists Announced

New Plymouth, 30 July, 2014 - International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) announced this week that Cara Lawler (USA), Carolyn Eggart (USA), Hana Kitamura (AUS), Kristian Braeuer (AUS), Vin Kebblewhite (AUS) and Zac Lanza (UK) are among the international volunteers who have been selected as finalists for the annual IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Awards. As part of the awards, IVHQ is investing a total of USD 11,000 in projects developed by these volunteers, which have been designed to build self-sufficiency and bring sustainable change to developing communities abroad.

With an alumni network of over 35,000 international volunteers, the 2014 IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Awards attracted close to 200 nominations from which IVHQ has selected a panel of six finalist volunteers. Ranging in age from 22 to 38, these volunteers have demonstrated exemplary commitment and inspiring initiative to continue their contributions to developing communities abroad after volunteering with IVHQ.

From building homes and developing sustainable business opportunities for families in Tanzania, to supporting the education of children from low-income families in rural Cambodia, these IVHQ volunteers have made life-altering commitments to bring sustainable change to developing communities abroad.

A total of USD 11,000 will be awarded among the finalists with the donation amount depending on the number of votes received from the public. Voting opened this week and will run for a period of two weeks, closing at midday NZST on Tuesday 12 August, 2014.

All of the finalists have outlined how the award money will be invested should they be presented with an award and after receiving over 11,000 votes in the inaugural Volunteer of the Year Awards in 2013, IVHQ is confident that there will be no shortage of support from the international community for this year’s finalists.

UK-born Zac Lanza is embracing the Volunteer of the Year Awards as an opportunity to build on the work of his charity, The House That Zac Built, by providing quality and sustainable housing for poverty-stricken communities in rural Tanzania.

“Each project I have completed in the past has been done with the aim to ensure long-term economic stability. Providing families with small businesses alongside their homes creates a platform to generate income in the long-term. Providing the family with knowledge and education of how to run these businesses, and giving them advice, ensures that they can run a successful business and make as much money as is needed,” says Zac.

Vin Kebblewhite, the Founder and Director of Life Project Cambodia (an NGO providing free education, community services and sustainable development initiatives to Cambodian communities) shares: “Our Student House is located in Siem Reap and can accommodate up to 14 live-in students and assist up to 30 outreach students. Rumdul House is designed to assist disadvantaged children and youth who would otherwise have limited access to education, healthcare, food and nutrition, and sports and arts initiatives. If I were to win the 2014 IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Award, I would allocate the award money to our Student House project to kick-start start new initiatives that will benefit our students, including a computer lab, arts rooms and vegetable garden.”

“Through sharing the visions our finalists and empowering the wider IVHQ community to determine how the award money will be invested, we look forward to supporting the efforts of our finalists alongside our in-country partner organisations,” says Dan Radcliffe, IVHQ Executive Director.

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

About International Volunteer HQ
International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) provides responsible, high quality and affordable volunteer programs in developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Every year, IVHQ places thousands of volunteer travellers abroad and offers a wide range of volunteer travel opportunities in Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, South Africa, Tanzania, Victoria Falls, Uganda, Zambia, Bali, Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.

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