For quite some time now, I have wanted to go to other developing countries as a volunteer. This experience will provide an opportunity to contribute to the development projects in another part of world. At the same time, it will help me connect with people in these countries at a personal level allowing me to learn about their culture while sharing with them about my own culture. This dream became more pressing after I volunteered with PMI’s Community Service Project where we helped set up a small garden in the Starlight Park Elementary School in Phoenix. We were attending a PMI volunteer leaders’ conference (PMI North America – Leadership Institute Meeting) and were fortunate to be part of this onsite volunteer activity. What an amazing experience! I learned how to sand, stain, and install a wooden garden bench. To see a rough bench surface turn into a smooth surface, making sure no splinters were left to harm the kindergarten kids, was a new experience for me. Even though it was a weekend and the students from the low-income neighborhood were not in attendance, we had the chance to meet a few of them as they welcomed us. I feel connected to the school, the students, their families, the school administration, the community, and my fellow volunteers. Isn’t it sad that when we think about USA, we think of it as a monolith where everyone is living a dream life. But such interactions allow us to see firsthand the country, its people, and their challenges. How much impact we can make if we came closer to each other and interacted as ‘human beings’ first.
Driven by this urge, a few days ago I explored the online global volunteer opportunities. However, most of them require financial input (upwards of USD 2,000 for one week volunteer visit). I did register at Global Volunteer Network (GVN) as a volunteer. I was (and still am) planning to save money to volunteer with GVN. This morning, I received an email from GVN telling me about their special holiday season gift certificate offer whereby I can ask my family and friends for support via a gift certificate to go abroad for volunteering with GVN. The deadline for this offer is Sunday Dec 14, 2014. I thought about it and decided to give it a go.
Rarely have I asked anyone for a gift as I like giving gifts more 🙂 However, asking for gift certificates for my GVN application seems worth it!
How to donate
For those who’d like to donate to enable me to volunteer through GVN, you can purchase a pre-paid GVN gift certificate via this link.