In September 2017 Dean Martindale joined the Active Citizens programme as a participant. The programme involves developing a social action project that will benefit your community, Dean wanted to work to bring people together through his social action project so decided to dedicate his time to working with single parents around Stainforth. Dean stated that “my passion to make a difference in my local community has grown through doing Active Citizens and I want to do more” which is one of the reasons we nominated him for the International Study Visit (ISV).
Flying Futures recognised his hard work and this was supported by the British Council as he was selected to participant in the ISV in Sri Lanka. January 2018 saw Dean and another participant Ben jet off to the countries capital Colombo where he had the opportunity to learn how people from all over the globe are doing their bit through social action.
He arrived at Colombo and was joined by other ISV participants from range of different countries, including; Egypt, Ukraine, Bangledesh, India and Vietnam. Introductions done and the group were swept off to visit the British Council offices to learn about the work conducted in Colombo and to be given an overview into how their social action tour of Sri Lanka would look over the next three days.
Deans first stop, was the village of Matale. Visiting some of Sri Lanka’s natural beauty on route; the Hunas Falls. In the village they had the chance to experience some of the traditional customs and got stuck in with the typical village work at the Matale tea plantation picking up tea leaves. The group then got to visit the village nursey where they were welcomed with traditional Sri Lankan dancing; which of course would have lead to the whole of the ISV group getting up on stage themselves. It was a great opportunity for them to experience and learn the local traditions and see what Sri Lanka really has to offer.
The tours next stop was the village of Kandy to visit one of its traditional land marks; the Buddhist temple. Dean said ‘the people there were amazing; they were so dedicated on improving their local communities, and hearing their stories was truly touching’. After a surreal community visit the group reflected on what they had learnt whilst they sat and enjoyed a traditional Sri Lankan dish opposite the elephant orphanage as they watched them bath.
‘Whilst being in Sri Lanka there has been many moments that have opened up my eyes to many possible plans for the future! I hope to return to Sri Lanka later this year to coach sports and hopefully make a difference in any way that I can’. The Active Citizens ISV visit was a real eye opener to the possibilities of social action projects and to see how it benefits all those involved from participants in courses, delivering programmes and community work. We look forward to sending more participants like Dean on a life changing experience through our work with the British Council in the future.