There were a few different things that led me to want to undertake an overseas internship. One of these was talking to my partner about some work he’d done in South Africa before I met him.
So when I learned I could go on a clinical internship as part of my degree I started looking into it and eventually decided to travel to Ghana with Work the World.
I got the idea to try and raise the funds for my internship from the funding hub on the Work the World website. There were lots of different ideas in there and I’d seen posts on social media of people who had managed to fundraise successfully. So I thought I’d have a go and see how far I could take it — I thought I’d get a few hundred pounds at best, but it ended up being much better than that.
— Fundraising turned Mica's dream internship in Ghana into a reality —
First I had to work out how much I needed for the whole trip. I made a list of everything with a cost attached, from the cost of the internship itself to any vaccinations I might have needed.
Once I had my total, I set up a fundraising page on JustGiving.com that showed my goal. It let people see what I was trying to achieve and made it really easy for them to donate. I shared it on my Facebook to try and get the word out and I think I got about 25 shares off the back of that.
— Having your destination in mind can help motivate you to pull out all the stops —
Then, just before Christmas, I organised a raffle. There’s a local Facebook page where I live that’s got about 30,000 people on it, so I posted on there asking if there were any local companies who were willing to donate a prize. I got so many replies that I couldn’t keep up with them. I think I had about 35 prizes within the first few days. I had friends and family messaging too, saying they knew someone who was willing to donate a prize for the raffle.
I got all sorts of different things donated. There was a car wash company that donated a full inside and out clean, there was a bakery that donated a $15 voucher, a local leisure centre donated a gym membership, a local artist donated one of their paintings… There were so many different things.
— Mica is a paramedic but got a broad range of clinical experience in different settings —
Once I had all the prizes, I put a post on Facebook explaining the raffle and what you could win, and the entries started rolling in. I charged 1$ a ticket, and told people that if they wanted a ticket, they could make a donation via the JustGiving page and I’d hold their tickets in their name.
My old school ran a non-uniform day to help me raise money too. In the end they raised about $600. It was great because of course, everyone wants to come into school in non-uniform given the chance.
— Put the effort into fundraising and you'll reap the rewards —
A local newspaper ran an article about my fundraising too, which definitely helped. I had some anonymous donations on my JustGiving page (which the newspaper had linked to), so I think they must have come in through that.
Another really helpful push came from a local club called the Lions. They’re a bit like a Rotary club. They donated $250 and asked me if I’d go and give a talk on my experience when I got back. You just have to reach out to people and you’ll be surprised what comes back.
In total I raised about $2500. I was so surprised because I wasn’t expecting to get anywhere close to that. It happened so quickly as well — I raised something like $1200 in the first 11 days. And after that it just kept coming.
It was really motivating for me to have a checklist of things I needed to pay for with my trip. Each time I got a few donations I’d say to myself, “Right, that’s my visa paid off”. Or, “That has paid for my vaccinations.”
If you’re hesitating about fundraising because you think you won’t raise much, all I’ll say is I thought that exact thing before I started. There’s no harm in having a go, and a few donations is better than no donations. You’ll be surprised how quickly the $5 and $10 donations add up!