My name is Dorina and I was volunteering for one year in Kolkata, India. It was a school, a project, which cared most about supporting women in the subjects education, microfinancing and early childhood marriage. It was a great experience to be part of this and knowing that even the smaller steps will affect the future of those children. Furthermore me personal gained from this year a lot of experience and my way of seeing things changed into a more deeper, more conscious way.
I came to Ecuador 4 years ago as a WorldTeach volunteer through Harvard University´s Center for International Development. Since that time, I have been teaching English and volunteering in local development projects and foundations. I find that when people learn another language, they have more opportunities to find better jobs and therefore improve their economic status and quality of life. Most of my students want to learn English to do just that. I have also worked with two different women´s organizations that help fight against domestic abuse and for women´s rights. Currently, I also volunteer at a foundation that works in sustainable development in a small indigenous community on the coast. Although there is much poverty and inequality in Ecuador, there are many ways to fight it.
My name is Steven and I live in Kenya. I would like to participate in eradicating poverty and hunger in my world, starting with my country, by ensuring that all people get good education. Education as we all know is a key to a good livelihood because with it people will learn efficient methods of utilizing resources. when people learn how to manipulate their environment for the betterment of their lives, it is automatic that they will not abuse it instead they will use it wisely so that they can have a better tomorrow.
I believe that volunteerism has a unique power on improvement of living condition of people, by providing emotional support. Because volunteerism is based on one's free will, it can focus in outcomes difficult to measure or quantify, such as emotional support. I came to realize the importance of emotional support by volunteering for a Christmas event for children with pediatric cancer organized by Sustainable Development Club in Hanoi, Vietnam in December 2011. The object of the event was to bring happiness and joy to children suffering from cancer. We decollated the hospital, prepared presents, songs and other events. At the beginning, by seeing small children suffering, I felt powerless and sad since I couldn’t cure them. However, by seeing happy faces of children and talking with their mothers, I understood the value of the event, and really felt happy. We couldn’t provide them any substantial solution to the disease, but children's smiles were beautiful, and the happy time we shared was truly meaningful. There are many complex issues including world-spread poverty and conflicts that take time to be resolved. Thus, in my opinion, activities which give emotional support to people in difficult situations are equally important as improvement of their conditions. I will continue providing emotional support in order to contribute to human development and world peace.
In 1994 when I completed my G.C.E. Advance Level Certificate with a childhood friend, we discovered that most of the children in our community (Banana Inn, Accra) were not interested in education but rather involved in social vices. The males were into alcoholism and drugs and the females into alcoholism and unsafe sex resulting in teenage pregnancy.
Based on our observation, my friend (Dzifa) and I decided to form a club which we named “Banana Inn Children Club”. Our goal was to use ourselves as role models for the children and help them develop interest in education.
We taught the members of the club how to read and we used the bible to inculcate good moral behavior in them. By the end of the year 2011, eight (8) of the children who were part of the club had completed their first degree and one pursuing her Master’s degree.
I just decided to radically change the path I was going onto. I jumped into an adventure which brought me to Kenya, working inside a Children Centre, living 6 months without water and electricity. I wasn't prepared for all this, and I had to quickly adapt myself once there. I met local people, I bought food and drinks from their shops, I spent hours chatting with women, I cried when I had to say goodbye to their children. And I came back with my eyes full of another world, maybe more real than the one I have been used to live in. We all come from there, those people are sons and daughter of our ancestors. But I came back with a lot of questions, with many contradictions in mind that I need to solve. We are all the same world, we are all the same love.
It all started during an extensive period of traveling to countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Japan and others in South America and Africa. The close contact to people and nature, every exchange and experience was a piece to a puzzle called “reality of suffering” and raised the question; what’s to do and what’s the new, desirable and most exciting way for everyone involved? Soon, my vision was born. Today I work voluntarily every day to make my vision "Blue Planet Life" come true. And here is my vision: Blue Planet Life is “humanity and nature”. We connect what is meant to be connected. We encourage the interplay, the action and the positive impact of our natural elements. We are placing our fundamental livelihood back into the centre and our all focus. With Blue Planet Academy and Earth People we care for and establish a steady, healthy and truly sustainable human development for all, aimed at protecting the environment and at the fair and sustainable use of natural resources based on education as well as cooperation, global networking and increasing awareness for our all home.
I was a part of the volunteer team for an educational project for minority children in Kosovo. In Kosovo, there are some children, particulalty those who are from minority community, who cannot enroll in mainstream education due to lack of financial recourses or lack of awareness among parents. Some were merely have no access to education, since education in minority languages are not fully available in Kosovo. I voluntary joined the project and provided some catch-up and cultural classes.
The Agency I volunteered to work for is called Dwelling Places which resettles street children in homes and schools. I was in charge of resettlements, counseling and guidance. This was an interesting task that allowed me for the first time to use many of the skills I had learnt in my sociology and personnel management classes. I had to involve creativity in convincing them to get out of street and resettle them in a home that was formed and managed by the agency. It also taught me a lot about planning and time management. I had to plan months in advance and fill in every second of the day with activities to keep them busy.
Counseling and guiding the children helped me to fully exercise the skills I had. I would sit with children of different backgrounds and counsel them. This was so interesting because there was a positive response; all of them settled and joined schools. My work did not stop there; I would follow them to classes and help the teacher. I would read interesting stories, sing songs and play games with them. This time was of great joy and pleasure. I enjoyed their company. This was a great experience that deals with a female role model in children’s life. I noticed that many of them who stayed close to me were those that had no mothers or female role models in their families before joining the streets; and this was one of the reasons that forced them to join the streets. I remembered how my dear mother was and is always there for me. These children had never had any one like that in their lives; and there was a gap that I really filled. Basing on this experience, I know that my contribution can make a positive change to lives of others and I will always be committed to the values and principles of volunteerism. I am looking forward to volunteering with International Organizations which are bigger than my first Agency. If all of us would just give up a little time a day and help others, the world would be a wonderful place.
There are thousands of Burmese refugees living in temporary camps along the Thai border; they want nothing more than to improve their education and empower their communities, so that one day they may return to Burma and help build a better country. I teach young women English, and encourage them to have hope for the future.