Volunteers are those who travel to Zambia to serve and to learn. It is a life-changing experience.
Over the years, I have travelled to Zambia with men and with women between the ages of 19 and 62. From all walks of life, everyone can make a contribution. No special skills or experience are required, as all training will be given before leaving Ireland, but patience, hard work and a willingness to compromise are necessary.
The basic role of a volunteer is to work to the best of your ability and skill on the projects and opportunities which arise. We, in Ireland, have amazing education and advantages which we take for granted, but which can make a profound impact in Zambia. I am especially seeking teachers, librarians, educational psychologists, computer experts, accountants or financial advisors, but also anyone who can help. Remember that even being proficient at computers is a rare skill in Zambia so we will make use of the skills which you do have, to work in Zambia. We work as a team, together with our Zambian friends who guide us with the work. We use the skills which we have to get the job done.
In order to fund the work in Zambia, we have to raise money. We need money to fund the micro finance project, to pay for the transport of a container of books to Zambia, to buy blocks and mortar and to pay builders for the construction of schools and even to pay local staff to run these projects. I have always paid my own air fare and cost of travel myself and I make a significant donation to the project myself every year, so none of the money I have ever raised has been used for the cost of my participation in these projects. Every cent raised counts and every cent gets to where it is needed. We need more money. That much will never change. Every volunteer is expected to raise a significant amount of money for these projects.
Everyone who travels to Zambia meets the other side of our planet and knows by name people who previously were only on the periphery of our consciousness. It affects us profoundly. We learn a lot from those we meet, as they no doubt learn from us. This is a cultural exchange. We go to serve and to learn. It is common for volunteers to report they have received more from their participation in the project than they have put in to it. I include myself in that category.
When we return home, we have a role in telling the rest of the world of what we have seen. We hope to raise awareness of those others who share our planet, but out of our sight.
Are you interested?
When in Zambia we live in the villages and townships where we work. We live in the same houses as those we serve. We share the same basic living conditions, although we have the advantage of mosquito nets, innoculations and vaccinations which our neighbours do not have. We have no showers, toilets, electricity or running water. The conditions are simple and the work is hard but the spirit is uplifting.
If you would like to volunteer next summer, send me an email.