Our experiences shape us as human beings and for me it was a series of experiences over the past four years that have brought me here. Each experience has taught me something about myself and given me greater clarity on the path that I wish to follow.

The first of these many experiences was my temporary flirtation with Investment Banking. While doing my degree in Land Economy (and no it’s not a farming degree before you ask!) I applied for an internship in Investment Banking. Soon into the internship, however, I realised that this career and lifestyle wasn’t for me. Although the work was interesting and the pay was enticing, I couldn’t help but thinking that there was more to life than a large salary and long, unsociable hours.

After graduating, I travelled to Sri Lanka for some soul searching. While in Sri Lanka I volunteered at a Post-war peacebuilding conference that brought together children from all over the island to build friendships and promote reconciliation. Hearing stories of children who had lost their loved ones, their education and the innocence of their youth, due to the 3 decade long civil war, was heart breaking. Yet at that moment I was reminded of two things: firstly, of how fortunate I was and secondly, of my desire to help my fellow brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. Although I did not know how exactly I was going to help them, 3 years on I have hatched a plan and I am travelling with Social Starters to Sri Lanka to bring that plan to life.

Once I returned to the UK I was still no closer to finding the career that I wanted to pursue. It was at this time that Mindfulness, a skill that I had learnt during University, came to the rescue. Mindfulness is a meditation practice that helps us to wake up to our lives and stop living in “auto-pilot” by paying attention to the present moment. The meditation practice enabled me to admire the beauty of the nature that was all around me and helped me to realise that it was under threat from climate change. As a result I spent two years as an Energy and Environmental professional at Tesco working on corporate energy management, energy efficient investments and colleague engagement to help Tesco reach its carbon reduction targets.

Finally, in April 2015 I was accepted for voluntary redundancy at Tesco; applied for an Energy and Environmental Masters at City University and started up my own social enterprise that sought to replace kerosene lamps with solar lanterns in Sri Lanka. I then coincidentally came across Social Starters at my colleague’s suggestion and when I saw the immersion programme in Sri Lanka I had to jump on it. I am very excited for the Social Starters’ programme as it will give me an opportunity to use my skills and knowledge to help social enterprises in Sri Lanka and also teach me new skills that will help to launch my own social enterprise.

Colombo: 4th July – 15th August 2015 *2 places available*
Colombo: 5th September – 17th October 2015 *5 places available*
Location TBC: 13th February – 26th March 2016 *Recruiting now*

If you’re interested in joining us we still have a few places left for our summer programme in July, but hurry! Interested? Send us your CV & a cover note and if successful we’ll book you in for an interview ASAP. Places will go on a first come first serve basis so don’t delay!