Florham Park resident Rakesh Jobanputra is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For many years I have volunteered on a part-time basis for non-profits supporting causes ranging from fundraising for blood cancer research to addressing the needs of orphans who have HIV, but I have always known that there would be a time when I would be able to commit and immerse myself on a full-time basis,” said Jobanputra. “Now, with the Peace Corps, the time has finally arrived and I’m looking forward to realizing my ambition to provide maximum impact to a global community.”
Jobanputra is semi-retired from a career in business, most recently serving as the senior vice president treasurer at a media and publishing company in New York City. He will be applying his career experience to serve as a community economic development volunteer in the Republic of Albania.
“The world is at a critical juncture. The largest global vaccination effort in history is underway while other widespread health, social, political, and environmental issues continue to erode the foundation of our global society. Actions taken in the next few years have the potential to fundamentally impact development trajectories for decades to come,” said Peace Corps CEO Carol Spahn. “Peace Corps volunteers returning to the Republic of Albania will work alongside community members to support urgent development efforts and build critical connections.”
The volunteer cohorts are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of Peace Corps’ six sectors – agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health or youth in development – and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work.
The Peace Corps currently has a high need for applicants to fill volunteer programs departing by early 2023. Interested Americans can apply online by October 1 for hundreds of available openings in nearly 48 countries worldwide. Volunteers receive a living stipend, extensive language and technical training, and financial benefits including student loan deferment and graduate school fellowships after service. To learn more about how to get involved with the Peace Corps and the benefits of service, connect with a recruiter online or register to attend an event.