What You Do Matters

I am a young woman from an ethnic minority, born and bred in Newham. “Enthusiastic, high energy and loud” would probably be how people would describe me! I feel as though my life was pretty average until I graduated, but as I became hungry for experience, I could no longer do “average”. In 2011 I travelled around Asia alone for six months. Whilst my trip was full of adventure, I became increasingly upset and frustrated with the poverty I saw, particularly in Manila. I became overwhelmed with the need to get involved in charity work and volunteering. I came back from backpacking and did a tandem skydive for UNICEF.

Since 2012, I have volunteered for many organisations and created What You Do Matters in 2012 as a fundraiser for my trip to Ghana, raising over £1300. Since the 1st WYDM event, I have hosted:

• A music event in Newham for The A21 Campaign raising over £500 (August 2012)

• 16 volunteers who bungee jumped for a special needs school in Bulacan Philippines raising over £1800 (September 2013)

• Winter appeal, collecting donations for Typhoon Haiyan via Philippine Red Cross

• WYDM Domino Effect- acts of goodwill (January 2015).

It has been challenging and I have made sacrifices – financially, physically and emotionally, as well as sacrificing a lot of my free time. WYDM has led me to amazing opportunities such as being the key note speaker at the Newham’s National Citizen Service Graduation 2013, and I have also been part of The Challenge’s Dragon’s Den experience in 2014. One of my proudest moments is being featured in the video for the 10th Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting 2013 as a ‘young empowering leader’.

Since the beginning of this year, we have become an official limited company. Ten women, mostly Newham residents, have joined me on a voluntary basis, with the aim to inspire positive changes in women. In July 2015, we hosted two workshops in Newham for women living in London. The workshops focused on exploring the struggles, standstills and successes of women living in London and the impact of social media. I thoroughly love my team and enjoy managing them.

Watching WYDM grow and develop has been my biggest and greatest achievement in my life so far. I love the question ‘what are your plans for the future?’ because I’m a 110mph kind of woman – I’m always onto the next idea. I believe in the longevity of What You Do Matters. It’s the part of me that reflects everything I stand for, and I work on developing WYDM at every chance I get. I hope in the future WYDM will be an established charity in Newham, running workshops, mentoring programs and volunteering projects. The reason why I love volunteering and why I have loved every minute of WYDM is because bringing people together is where I feel I excel the most. What You Do Matters has been incredibly rewarding. It has changed my life.

Image: Jacqueline Fernandez, Founder of What You Do Matters

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