Saturday, 6 September 2008

Voluntary work

Voluntary work in Ecuador is probably one of the most important things I've ever done to try to "save the world." I always wanted to do volunteer work. I know that many people believe that "with everything that needs to be done at home, why go so far to help" (an opinion that I do not share at all, but let´s talk about that another day). At home, I simply could never find time. But this year, whilst traveling around South America, I did have time and, so far I have worked with three NGOs. I worked sporadically in Buenos Aires with LIFE (, which helps children in poor neighborhoods of the city, and Leer (, which promotes literacy in Argentina, and I have worked full time for two months at CENIT (, which helps working children in the markets in southern Quito.
Volunteering has definitely changed me. On the one hand is a very satisfying experience personally. In this type of organizations (usually not very organized), you need to use your initiative, and so I've learned a lot about organizing programs, planning classes, how to engage with the children ...
But working with children and closely watching their reality has been the biggest shock. Of course you realise before you start that they live in poverty, they have to work and so they don´t go to school, their parents or relatives do not pay attention to them, or worse, they mistreat or abuse them ... but you don’t realise what these things really mean until you see them closely and put names and faces to these problems.
In these two months, I feel that I have achieved many things and I have helped many people (or so I hope). I will work with another organization in Otavalo, also in Ecuador, for another two months, this time with adults ... so I´ll let you know how that goes! And when I return, I want to try to raise money for these organizations that help so many people.

No comments: