I would be more than willing to help out a fellow Escape the City member. If I had never been helped out by one, I wouldn’t be here in the first place!If anyone is interested in getting into International Development, particularly from an accounting perspective, please do get in touch.Also, if anyone is ever looking for a potential travel partner, keep me in mind!
After three years of accountancy, Ben took a year off to travel the world and stumbled across a fantastic opportunity. Ben escaped his life as an auditor and now works for an NGO in Zambia that combats climate change and global poverty through solar power.
I would be more than willing to help out a fellow Escape the City member. If I had never been helped out by one, I wouldn’t be here in the first place!
If anyone is interested in getting into International Development, particularly from an accounting perspective, please do get in touch.
Also, if anyone is ever looking for a potential travel partner, keep me in mind!
I am currently based in Zambia working for an NGO called http://solar-aid.org/" rel="nofollow">SolarAid, a forward-looking and exciting organisation that works in various African countries to combat climate change and global poverty with solar power.
I was an auditor in a large accountancy firm for three years while I did my training.
I then travelled the world for a year before I came across this fantastic opportunity.
There was a moment during my time as an auditor when the realisation hit me that I spent more time staring out of the window daydreaming than doing anything else. That was a strong indicator that it was time to go!
The day I qualified, I left the job. A few weeks later I packed a rucksack with some things, caught a train to Dover and then a ferry to France. From there I made my way down to Africa and then various other places looking for adventure but also, importantly, something that felt worthwhile.
A few months later I came across an adventurer in Syria who was on his way from London to Sydney by bicycle. Prior to that he had been in recruitment in the City. He enthusiastically told me all about the EscapetheCity website and urged me to sign up.
Another few months later, having arrived in China, everything suddenly became clear when I realised that I wanted a return to Africa in the capacity of an NGO worker.
Fortunately, I heard about an organisation called http://www.afid.org.uk/" rel="nofollow">Accounting for International Development (AfID) through the EscapetheCity website.
AfID offer accountants the opportunity to make a genuine difference by volunteering with small community-based organisations around the world, using their skills to build long-term sustainability.
AfID have been fantastic, and I wouldn’t be where I am now without them - embarking on a career in International Development. They linked me up with SolarAid.
So far, the best incident took place after a long day of driving around the Zambian Bush visiting remote schools and villages. We were just about to call it a day and head for home when an old and exhausted farmer cycled alongside the Land Rover yelling for us to stop. He had been on his bicycle for twelve miles over rough ground, from village to village just missing us at each place. He had his money in his pocket for one of our small solar systems (which consists of a small solar panel, light and mobile phone charger). He was so happy to have the light and kept shaking our hands and saying "Thank you, thank you".
These products literally change lives, and to be part of that is incredible.
The worst thing was probably seeing an 80cm long rat caught recently in Lusaka near to where I'm staying. When held up next to the baby of the man who caught it, the rat is substantially larger!
However, don’t use this as an excuse not to ‘Escape the City’ – there are big rats in London too!
Now is always the best time for anything and that’s good, because now the world is more accessible than it has ever been (yet at the same time retaining its variety and excitement), and now there is more information and support than there has ever been.
These things make it easier to succeed. For people fearful of making a mistake and not following their dream, I’d suggest that they (wo)man up and go for it.
http://www.afid.org.uk/" rel="nofollow">Accounting for International Development have been a major help; from having taken the time at the beginning to discuss various options with me, to ensuring that I was fully prepared and informed. Although I haven’t needed to be in touch with them much, it’s good to know that they are there in the background if I need them.