Hey Dima, thanks for chatting with me, I’d love to know how your trip with Camps International has shaped your life?  

My volunteering experience has really made a positive impact on my life in general. Starting with the coolest place on earth, Borneo, Malaysia. I could have never imagined that I would find myself in Malaysia at such a young age, it wasn’t scary at all but it was rather extraordinary! I was beginning to realise that the time spent fundraising for my trip was allowing me to build my confidence, social skills and very much my communication skills that I was in need of not just in Borneo but everywhere I have decided to volunteer. I was growing as a person and during that time I learnt so much and how I can make a difference in a community. I also firmly began to believe that I could use my talent (which is making bracelets) in order to support my choice in volunteering in different parts of the world. I was becoming a person who could speak the language of her mission in order to get people to support and learn how they too can make a difference.

You now run your own Bracelet line called DIMA, how did this come about, I hear you’ve bagged yourself a bit of a celebrity fanbase? 

Volunteering in Malaysia had a huge impact on my life I came back even more determined to make a positive impact and to share my stories and experiences. I decided that I would take on an ‰Extended Project Qualification‰ because it gave me an opportunity to learn what kind of impact volunteering has especially in Borneo. I achieved an A* and then got to study what I had always aspired to study at University, Politics and International Relations. I was overly enthusiastic and I joined UNICEF and started making bracelets in aid and skydived! In the same year I met High School Musicals star Monique Coleman at the UN gala who believed in me, wore my bracelets and appointed me GimmeMo UK‰’s first Ambassador to her foundation.

I planned a youth camp in Lebanon the following summer with over 30 youth in a small village and taught English, Maths, development skills and empowered the youth to raise their voices. During that time I also expanded and continued to use my bracelets to inspire change. I got the one and only Muscles from Brussels Jean Claude Van Damme and his whole family to wear my bracelets. I had the honour of Miss USA, Miss England and Miss world to support me too and wear my bracelets! I have been supported by various different people from TV presenters to even having my bracelets on Dancing With The stars worn by my good friend Miss USA!

Some of Dima’s creations

Wow! It’s great to hear how Camps has inspired you to carry on volunteering, helped you in gaining your University place and encourgaed you to start your own ethical business! Tell me a bit about your experience over in Borneo Dima.

The day my first volunteering experience began was after approximately one whole day of travelling to the other-side of the world. We were unexpectedly fuelled with energy. It was like someone had charged us up to that one-hundred-percent you like to see on your phone.

That is a natural overwhelming feeling that a volunteer tends to feel when you know you are about to take part in something that extends way beyond your two hands! The next month taught me so much in terms of doing things I hadn’t done before. We had to go through four camps and I could have never ever imagined I‰’d be mixing cement or even clearing the rainforest with machetes. I also found myself sleeping in a jungle and I wasn‰’t afraid (kidding! I kinda was).

Sleeping in the jungle can be daunting huh, nothing quite like it though! So what would you say are the key benefits to young people of volunteering overseas? 

Volunteering allows you to open your eyes and shows you that there is more going on than what is broadcasted to us. Best of all, you will develop into a kind and mature individual and realise how grateful you are for having your own, lets say‰ bathroom? You will become patient (teenagers nowadays complain when they have an iPhone 5 and need to get the iPhone 6 because its the newer one) and your social skills and willingness to do whatever it takes to complete a task will improve. You will gain courage, enthusiasm and the urge to continue volunteering.

The most beneficial part is that you get to see where your money is going, real projects and real progress – all with Camps International. You take part in everything and there is always something for you to do. From all my volunteering experiences, all I know is you should use your gifts in a way you can, and this is how I can use mine. That is the weight of how valuable seeing so many parts of the world was to me. I have never wanted to succeed at anything more in my life than helping to eradicate some serious global issues because most importantly we would like to believe that if we were suffering someone is going to help us out.

Thanks so much for telling us your story Dima, long may your philanthropic activities continue, keep us posted!

Peace, Dima