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Camps International is an ethical school expeditions organisation that runs volunteering trips for young people in the UK, UAE and Australia.


This year, Notch Communications is sponsoring a student, Millie Rhodes, as she fundraises for her trip to Borneo with Camps International. In Borneo, Millie will be undertaking work with sustainable projects within the local community.

A few months before she sets off, we sat down with Millie to get to know more about the work she’ll be doing and what she’s most excited about!

Thank you, Millie, for taking the time to talk to us. First of all, what initially inspired you to undertake this opportunity to fly off to Borneo?

I was lucky enough to be given this opportunity with Camps International through my school. I am keen to broaden my horizons and learn about the day-to-day lives of different communities.

I also want to develop a greater understanding of the world-at-large and learn more about different cultures that I wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to interact with!

We understand that you have organised number of fundraising activities in order to pay for your trip. Could you tell us a bit more about these?

The cost of the trip was relatively high – coming in at around £4500 – in addition to essential travel expenses such as vaccinations. When raising this sum of money, I found that organising a big variety of activities was the most important thing.

One of the main activities I did to raise money was making and sell home-made dog biscuits! Running this taught me a lot about enterprise. Things like keeping my prices low by sourcing the ingredients at discount supermarkets, like ALDI, was really important. I’ve also utilised a range of channels to sell my biscuits and get my message out to as many people as possible. Using social media really helped – my first post resulted in over 50 orders! A local café also sells around 30 bags of my dog treats a week on my behalf.

Raising money alongside the other members of the expedition team has been really hard work, but also very rewarding. From quiz nights to Zumbathons, engaging with the local community has strengthened my own communication skills and helped instil me with the confidence to manage events, time and finances. It has also helped me develop a greater sense of resilience when overcoming challenges and managing the ups and downs that come with organising activities like these.

What kind of community work will you be doing? Have you done anything similar before closer to home? How will it benefit the local community?

During my expedition, I’ll be taking part in activities that not only help the local communities, but also the environment and the local ecosystems which have been devastated by deforestation driven by palm oil demand. These include things like building shelters, improving sanitation facilities for the local people and cleaning beaches. By engaging in a range of community work, we’re hoping to benefit the local community in a wide range of ways.

While I’ve never done anything like this and it sounds quite daunting, I’m really excited by the challenge and can’t wait to get stuck in!

While you’re in Borneo, how will you be engaging with the local community?

I’m looking forward to making new friends with the local children. I’ve been told they play a very good game of football, so as a goalkeeper, I’m looking forward to the challenge! I don’t know a huge amount about the local culture, apart from the talks I’ve given, so while I’m there I’ll be learning as much as I can about the culture, cuisine and language!

In what ways do you hope this experience will impact your personal growth and development?

I’m hoping that this trip will broaden my perspective of the world and make me more appreciative of other cultures. I’m also very excited to earn my PADI open-water diver qualification, which will both provide me with a lifelong skill and enable me to appreciate the exotic marine life in Borneo!

I’ve found that a big part of the experience is not the actual trip, but the fundraising itself which has helped me grow my teamwork, problem solving and communication skills.

Lastly, what message or advice would you like to share with other teenagers who are considering participating in trips like yours?

Take the opportunity and go for it!