Josh’s call to raise international aid funds

Josh Gutierrez will soon be heading off to Cambodia where he will take part in a VSO project. Ref sh

Josh Gutierrez will soon be heading off to Cambodia where he will take part in a VSO project. Ref shs 7653-34-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

A university graduate from Sidmouth is calling on East Devon’s MP to lobby for a rise in international aid to help developing countries.

Josh Gutierrez spent three months in Cambodia on an education project while working with the International Citizen Service (ICS), which is funded by international aid. He said he experienced first-hand the lack of water and medicine provisions.

The 22-year-old has written to Hugo Swire, a foreign office minister, to put forward a motion in the Houses of Commons. Currently, 0.7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is allocated to international aid. Josh says the amount should be doubled to help organisations such as ICS and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) reach more communities in need.

The international and politics relations graduate is also calling on residents to join him and challenge an attitude of ‘not doing enough at home, so why help abroad’.

Josh said: “This mentality is easy to understand when situated within a secluded area such as East Devon. It is easy to separate ourselves off from the rest of the country, let alone the rest of the world. We must not let this perspective blind us to the need of others around the world in less economically-developed countries. It should not be a matter of politics, but rather humanity - a duty to help one another.”

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During his time in Cambodia, Josh recalled seeing a 10-year-old girl screaming in pain as her parents could not afford to buy painkillers. He said: “With no national health provisions, the poorest are deprived of simple medicines we take for granted.”

Josh also helped to purify water in a school after its pump broke. He said funding was limited to provide for other schools.

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Josh added: “Examples such as these are common throughout the world and, often, clinics like these, however basic, depend on funding from foreign aid to supplement them. An increase in funding could have helped this girl receive medicine.”

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