A selection of testimonials from TTV 2019
Confidence, Resilience and Coping Skills
Participants described the programme and trip as having a positive impact on their confidence, particularly in regards to managing new situations (including social situations). For example UK participants said that the TTV trip experience:
"I now feel much more confident with new situations, I won't be shy anymore, I will speak to
people, and challenge myself more"
"It is so important to let loose and do things you thought you wouldn't enjoy"
"I managed anxiety well, had the best support systems I could have asked for, really helpful, felt very supported (by other participants and adults)"
"Boosted my confidence in meeting people and new situations, saying hi to people (I would
never do that)"
"Pushing through it even if things get hard and doing things anyway showed me it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be"
"I thought I would be anxious every day but I was fine! I will keep challenging myself"
Sense of Community and Culture
Participants described that their experience of the trip and programme has increased their knowledge and appreciation of differences and diversity across cultures, for example describing:
"It was helpful going into a different culture, being a part of that and appreciating difference outside of my own bubble"
I learned more about their culture, religion, understanding their faith more from their perspective and it changed my perceptions"
"This trip has broadened my mind of how different countries do things. There's more options than I thought, there's a whole life out there you can experience"
"I can understand people more now from a different context. Everyone here is so happy despite their challenges, it has made me more grateful too".
The young people also spoke about an increased appreciation for the sense of community and connection with others, which they wanted to take forward in their own lives, for example saying:
"I really enjoyed feeling connected with the community, so welcoming and no judgments"
"I was able to see communities that work well together, not just individuals'
"It made me realise the value of community, and made me realise I would like that in other places (at home) too"
"This experiences has taught me a lot, not about what I don't have but about what I do have, and wanting me to be closer and appreciating family and friends more, the value of community rather than possessions"
Sense of Purpose, Motivation and Perspective
The participants described that this experience gave them a different perspective and appreciation over their own lives and resources, which was a personal goal for many of the participants:
"This trip has made me appreciate everything I have got. People here don't have a lot but they are really happy and relish what they've got. Feel gratitude and lucky"
"I am so lucky to have been able to do this at age 17, life changing. It has given me confidence about how to prepare myself for things in later life"
"I now know I need to work harder to honour what I have and the access to opportunities I have that others don't".
The young people further spoke about the trip experience giving them a greater sense of purpose and motivation for what they can / want to achieve for their futures, for example reporting:
"While here I was more proactive about managing difficulties for example I saw that I can wake up and do stuff, I have more motivation"
"This [experience] makes me want to work hard and help communities more. This experience will also help me stand out for university"
"I want to stand out in a meaningful way now and be beneficial towards others"
"I now feel that I can make a difference"
"I now have more future prospects, more plans to go to different countries and want to see how cultures and communities work and how they are different to the UK, and to
Parent feedback was requested at the end of the programme to evaluate the impact of the overall TTV programme on the young people from parents' perspectives. Five parents provided feedback on the below areas in regards to their child:
Impact on Attitudes and Purpose
"It was evident that witnessing the hardship of others first hand strengthened [her] resolve to make a difference in the world. She has always been kind hearted but perhaps lacked the idea that she could make a difference or how to go about it"
My child "returned from The Gambia a changed person (and for the better!). He has more confidence, more respect, and a better idea of where he is going from here. He is also better motivated to achieve his goals. He is still a teenager but he is a much more mature young man too"
"His attitude to family and community has noticeably changed I feel. He has returned with a greater awareness of those around him and a desire to do his part within his family instead of thinking about his needs primarily. His inherent kindness is more noticeable now and his awareness of what others are experiencing".
Impact on Confidence
"I can in complete honesty say that TTV achieved every one of its stated aims. There is obviously no magic bullet for attitude and confidence, especially for youngsters battling anxiety and other issues. However, this programme has delivered more for him than any other individual factor"
"[Her] confidence & resilience has undoubtedly grown both in herself and in those around her. Now when she is told she is more than capable of doing something (rather than thinking she is being humoured by her parents!) she realises that we believe in her and she now believes in herself more!"
"Greater confidence in dealing with his peers, and this has continued at home"
Looking Back to 2018
Without exception, the 2018 UK respondents described significant long lasting changes in behaviour and perspective, attributed to the experiential learning opportunities provided by TTV one year on:
"I still have such good memories of being part of the TTV programme. Looking back, I think TTV gave me confidence in my ability to adapt to new and challenging situations. It made me realise that I can actually cope with much more than I think and has certainly helped me settle more quickly at University."
"Thriving Through Venture was an amazing opportunity that I will never forget. I made unbelievable memories with the best friends... The people I interviewed - both in the UK and the Gambia - changed my perception about a lot of things. Hearing their stories allowed me to imagine a different life."
"Although it has almost been a year since I visited, I can remember everything so clearly - the ups and the downs - both making it such an incredible experience. I wish that everyone had the chance to experience what I did, but I know they can't, so I am so grateful for the opportunity and am so passionate about talking about it for others to even get a glimpse into what I got from the programme. Hopefully Thriving Through Venture can help so many more people my age gain a new outlook on life and I can't thank all the people involved enough for - as cliché as it sounds - a life-changing experience."
"TTV is an amazing experience which transforms you into a well-rounded individual. During our visit to The Gambia, we embarked on multiple challenges, first of which was meeting Gambian partners. At first, I was quite apprehensive, however after being taught how to talk and approach people I didn't know, I was much more at ease. If there was only one thing I could take away from meeting these people it would be to think about what you have, appreciate it, treasure it, and be happy all day every day no matter the circumstances.