I have now realised that it is less than two months until I will be going to Vietnam, which I am positive will fly by and sooner than I know, I will be on the flight departing!
I have got my flights all booked, my visa sorted, and two days ago I finished my course of vaccinations - my arm has never felt so sore after so many injections!
Everything is now coming together and I am getting very excited to experience so many new things in just a matter of months. However, I already have a feeling that 1 month won't be long enough and I may have triggered the travel bug inside of me...!
I am really looking forward to going to Vietnam and assisting the staff and children at the Bo De orphanage, I think it will one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I know I will gain such a great deal from this visit and I think it will completely change the way in which I view things once I return.
It is always such a great feeling to know that our work in the different placement creates a good lasting impact.
Projects Abroad Mexico received a recognition from 'Puente de los Ninos'. They were saying 'thank you' to Projects Abroad Mexico staff due to the arrangement of the Day of the Children with the kids from this orphanage. As you might have read before, volunteers and staff made this happen last week.
Of course this recognition goes to all the volunteers that helped this event to take place, we all made this possible.
For us is such a great thing to receive as it is amazing to know we are creating a good impact.
A big Thank you to the volunteers involved and also to Puente de los Ninos for letting us have this great experience.
We had an amazing day at the orphanage 'El Puente de los Ninos', one of our placements based in Guadalajara, Mexico. The volunteers and staff were happily contributing to the improvement of the areas where the children play!
A big big thanks to all volunteers that joined us today, it was a great day and for sure you have left your foot print in this amazing space designed to of
fer a better life to children!
Please check the pictures at: http:/
Mexico Social Manager 19 days ago
As most of our volunteers in destination are participating today on the Children's Day celebrations in Bolivia, we want to share with you some pics of this happy occasion!
¡Feliz día del Niño!
Inge Holtman (25) was inspired to work with people who have special needs by her older sister who has down syndrome. “She is great and always positive,” says Inge. “Because of her I look otherwise to the world and my clients.”
Inge pursued studies with concentrations in special education, psychiatry and addiction. Since 2004, she has worked with people with a mental handicap on different levels or with problem behavior and/or psychiatric problems. As a Team Leader at S Heeren Loo Midden Nederland, she divides her time between working with her clients and time in the office.
Despite having a wealth of experience, Inge was curious about how developing countries managed care for people with disabilities.
“I wanted to see how healthcare is done in Africa. I really wanted to work with handicap people and share my knowledge and experience with the local staff. I also wanted to develop myself and share it with my colleagues at home. I am the type of person that always wants to learn something new and challenge myself and working in healthcare is my passion. I love it with all my heart.”
Inge signed up with a six week care placement with Projects Abroad, a global volunteering organization with projects all over the world. She was assigned to a special needs school in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
“Projects Abroad makes a big difference at the school because the children have low education. The school needs volunteers to give the children the attention they need and teach them new things.”
Inge spent five days a week at the school assisting the teachers and often leading classroom lessons in basic math, English language and games.
“You can get as much out of it as you want because when you do nothing, they do nothing. During my six weeks I learned a lot about African culture but the most important lesson was patience.”
One of the most rewarding experiences for Inge was teaching one of the young boys how to use sign language. The student had been unable to communicate when he needed to use the bathroom and as a result had been wetting himself regularly. Within one day the student was able to use signing to ask the volunteers/teachers to escort him to the toilet.
“I feel like I made a difference because I saw progress in some of the children in speaking and basic skills. I will never forget how amazing these children are and how happy I felt when teaching them something new. I will carry this experience with me for the rest of my life.”
Inge in the classroom with the students from the special needs school.
Inge, along with other volunteers enjoy a day at the Zoo.
Nineteen year old Iris Van Loo wasn’t sure what she wanted to study after graduating from Het Stedelijk Lyceum, so she decided to use her gap year to volunteer abroad in Tanzania.
In January, she arrived in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and was placed at a special needs school by Projects Abroad.
From day one, Iris realized that there was a big difference between life in The Netherlands and the culture in Tanzania. “The school is completely different from the schools in my country. The way of teaching, the relationships with the children, the motivation of the teachers and the equipment and resources available to the schools are all very different.”
A typical day for the students and the volunteers included a few hours in the classroom followed by recreational play. “We get a lot of responsibility. We play games with the kids and teach them basic skills such as the alphabet, counting, mathematics and improving their English language skills. We also take care of the smaller ones and help them go to the toilet and make sure they stay in the classroom and don’t walk outside.”
In addition to teaching, Iris says the most important thing she and the other volunteers gave to the students was a lot of love. She believes she gained a great deal within her three month experience.
“I learned a lot during my volunteer work. For example I learned how to gain trust from children and the teachers and how to work with people who have a totally different culture. I also learned to be more patient and how to work with disabled people. Some of the students did not speak English or had speech handicaps but I adapted by learning how to communicate nonverbally.”
Iris joined efforts with a Norwegian volunteer to raise money to improve the school. They were able to receive enough money to repair the school bus, purchase school supplies and new playground equipment and sponsor a field trip to the Dar Es Salaam Zoo for all the students and teachers.
Overall, Iris was very happy with her volunteer experience. “I love Tanzania because I think it’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The population is friendly and I really like Dar Es Salaam because there are a lot of things you can do during weekends!”
Iris plays a memory game with the students during their recreational break time.
Cherie Smirl, a retired food industry professional from the Victoria province in Australia arrived in Arusha, Tanzania in early February. She had arranged to spend one month volunteering at a local orphanage as part of her care placement with Projects Abroad.
Cherie lived with other Projects Abroad volunteers in a house located next to the orphanage which enabled her to fully immerse herself in the culture and develop relationships with the children.
“The children at Tumaini for Africa are incredibly well cared for and guided in life skills. The kindergarten school offers good academic basics and the children are happy and loved. Volunteers have the ability to bring a variety of ideas, stimulation and a greater level of interest to the daily lives of the children while supporting the teachers and Mamas of Tumaini. The children respond positively to this interaction which in turn fosters and develops security and reassurance.”
A typical day started at 8:30am to 11am in one of the two classes at the school. In the baby room, Cherie and other volunteers initiated fun learning projects such as playing outdoor musical games, reading, and using primary coloured playdough to create “My Face” models with google eyes, pom pom noses, mouths, teeth, and long tongues. In addition, she utilized her background in agriculture to teach the children how to sprout seeds in mini-gardens. In the older class, Cherie assisted with preparing and correcting homework assignments.
“Volunteers from Projects Abroad fill Tumaini with inspiration and new life. Through this experience I have no doubts, volunteering can bring about change, albeit slow and filled with uncertainty, I am challenged to find positive outcomes and know these challenges will take me back to Tanzania when the time is right.”
Even though Cherie was only in Tanzania for a month, she has fond memories that she will cherish for the rest of her life. “Apart from being unconditionally loved every minute of everyday, the profound silence of children moulding playdough in their hands is something I will always remember. Another defining experience was undoubtedly spending a day at Robert’s [Projects Abroad Volunteer Coordinator] Maasai family village. My heart is empowered with love at every thought of that day, I feel such compassion and yet the greatest admiration at the same time for them.”
Cherie’s advice to future volunteers is to “Prepare for and research every aspect possible of your location and placement. Take nothing for granted and leave no stone unturned in your quest to make yourself as ready as possible for the incredible journey ahead of you. Never underestimate the difference you will make to even to one life and embrace every challenge of the days ahead of you. You will never regret it.”
Cherie taught the children how to make faces with playdough.
Chantal Antheunisse (Netherlands) and her friend Maxim Kolijn (Netherlands) spent 3 months at a care placement in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania beginning in March of 2012. The experience left a lasting impression on the volunteers so they created their own home video for their family and friends.
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