Want to know what it might be like to volunteer abroad?
Omprakash volunteers have been posting stories, photos and even videos from their time abroad since 2007. We now have an extensive collection of personal stories from volunteers who've worked with our partners abroad. You can browse through the most recent stories below or use the category selection tool to narrow your search. Alternatively click on the Stories tab for each organization we work with to see specific accounts from a particular organization. Be careful - you might lose a couple hours of your day in here! Happy reading.
Last Few Months at PSF and Future Possibilitiesprint story
October 13, 2011
Since my last progress report, I basically immersed myself into project management. As a project manager it was my responsibility to help oversee the projects, the project leaders, and the site assessments. This role allowed me to gain actual experience in project management. Although I went into this experience wanting to volunteer my time and just help in any way possible, I came out of it gaining so much more out of it, such as work experience.
Immersing myself into the project manager role meant that I often found myself working longer days and on weekends. Work wasn't always between 9AM and 5PM; problems sometimes arose outside of “work hours.” Being one of the people that knew a lot about the on-goings of the organization meant that many volunteers would turn to me for advice. Staying organized and being constantly aware of what was going on were skills that helped me do the job to the best of my ability, and my love for PSF kept me motivated.
When I initially applied for a volunteer grant I had great hopes and ambitions as to the changes I wanted to make at and with Pisco Sin Fronteras. Having volunteered with the organization in the past, I knew a bit about how things ran, and I had ideas as to improvements that could be made both within PSF and within the community. I knew there is major issue regarding lack of health education, especially sex education, amongst the Pisco community. Therefore, I had the idea to raise awareness regarding social issues, such as sex education. Upon my return to Pisco I quickly realized what I probably already knew in the back of my head, which is change does not happen over night, especially social change. At first it was a bit discouraging to realize that there wasn't much that I would be able to do at this point in time, but as my time at PSF went on I got involved more in project management and I discovered that change was slowly developing and although I would be around to see it fully develop at least I could find comfort in knowing that I had a small part in it. As time went on more experienced and socially skilled, Spanish speaking volunteers arrived and I realized that in the hands of these types of volunteers, so much more social change would be able to happen in Pisco. The grants I received from the Jessica Jennifer Cohen Foundation and the Omprakash Foundation allowed me to stay in Pisco, Peru long enough to learn that change does not happen over night, but watching the seeds being planted for change is just as gratifying.
Upon my return to Hawaii I had the opportunity to speak at my former high school to a leadership class, who are currently working on collecting various items to donate towards both a local charity and an international charity. During my stay at PSF I was in contact with a former teacher and even sent her my write up on my PSF project - "Percy's House." She was moved by the piece and the work I was doing and invited me to talk to some of her students about my experience and how they could help PSF.
I spoke to them about the work that PSF does, as well as my experience with PSF and as a volunteer in general. I recommended volunteer-tourism as an option for them after high school whether they go to college or not. I wanted them to realize that going to college right after high school does not have to be their only option. Some people might be able to learn more from a volunteer experience than they could ever learn in a classroom. I let them know that there many resources, such as the Omprakash Foundation, out there to help find a perfect fit volunteer-wise for each of them.
I also offered my help and guidance to them in regards to their fundraising efforts. I let them know what items on their list that could be utilized by PSF and how to make donations via Omprakash. Some of the items they are looking into collecting are toothbrushes, tooth paste, books and various school supplies.
My hope was to pass on my experience to the next generation of possible volunteers and I think it went over very well.