Sustainable Sainji is part of Anglia Ruskin University’s International Community Experience programme (ICE) which has been supporting students, staff and alumni undertake volunteering projects in communities in Croatia, Botswana and Ukraine since 1997.
In each country ARU volunteers have worked alongside local community leaders to engage in grassroots, participatory development. Typically, volunteers have provided huge amounts of enthusiasm, energy and practical skills to help maintain and renovate community buildings (including a rehabilitation centre in Ukraine, a school for the blind in Botswana and an orphanage in Croatia). In return they gained a transformational personal experience and valuable employability skills to enhance their cv and to help them stand out from the crowd in the jobs market.
In 2015, the University’s Chaplaincy, who managed ICE, joined forces with the Global Sustainability Institute to enhance the existing programme, in particular to develop and make more explicit the links to sustainable development and sustainability education.
Sustainable Sainji is unique in that through collaboration with community leaders it matches volunteers discipline specific skills and knowledge with the community’s development priorities. As one community leader explained: 'Your students are some of the most highly educated people in the world, they bring skills and expertise we don’t have access to and which they sometimes don’t even know they have.'