This post will make more sense after reading this post here.
Aside from being a wonderful opportunity to do some amazing work volunteering can be very expensive. Not only will I give up the opportunity to be in paid employment I will have to incur significant costs just to make it out of the country. I have estimated these costs to be in the region of Â£3500. This figure includes insurance, flights, food and accommodation for six months and general living expenses. A full budget and breakdown can be found on the Placement Costs page of the Belize 05 section.
In order to meet my costs I shall have to obviously work harder, spend less and save more but that alone would not get me to Belize at least until around 2010. So I have decided to launch a fundraising and awareness drive; The Belize Challenge 2005.
The idea behind my first fundraising activity came from Mental Acrobatics, who suggested I design and sell Begins At Home merchandise. After a few days tinkering with PhotoShop I am proud to launch the Belize Challenge 2005 online store (hosted by CafÃ© Press). For the duration of this challenge there shall be a permanent link to the shop on this blog (that animated GIF thing in the sidebar).
On sale are mugs, t-shirts, mouse pads, bags and pin badges amongst other things all bearing the Begins At Home logo. CafÃ© Press have set base prices for all their products and I have set the mark up price for most items at $5. This means for every item (apart from the pin badges and magnets) someone buys they contribute $5 dollars towards the Belize Challenge 2005.
For those who do not want to buy but still want to donate there is a PayPal button on the sidebar (and the Home Page, and in the Belize 05 section). This can be used to donate an amount of your choice.
The Belize Challenge 2005 is not just about the money. One thing that made my placement last year a lot easier was the support and encouragement I received from friends, family and strangers. I can not place a price on how good it felt to receive emails of encouragement. So for those who wish to show their support in a way that doesnâ€™t cost a thing I have created an â€œI Support Belize 05â€? web site button. This idea came from Mshairi, and like other web buttons the idea is that anyone who so wishes can copy the HTML code found here and paste it on their site. Anyone clicking on the button will be directed to my site.
I will be more than happy to help place the code for anyone who is stuck. Alternately simple old-fashioned linking works just fine.
Lastly, if I could ask for just one thing, it would be please spread the word â€“ The Belize Challenge 2005 is now officially launched.