Thursday, April 10, 2014

Volunteering is Grrreaaat!

There are also great joys in hosting volunteers.

This week is National Volunteering Week and I have two posts about volunteers. 

We've been receiving volunteers here in Kazembe since 2006. Our first volunteer came out in 2004 before we even imagined we'd open an orphanage. She worked with me in training teachers at the Community School--Flying Angels--which was our first project in Zambia. She then became one of my very best friends. Since 2006 when we began construction on the orphanage we've had more volunteers than I can count right now from many different countries. We've had volunteers from Australia, Northern Ireland, Ukraine/Russia, Switzerland, Germany England, the United States, Canada, and more! 

Click over to our volunteering page to see some of their lovely faces (scroll down to the bottom). 

We love having volunteers come work with us here at Kazembe Orphanage. There are so many reasons, but I'll highlight a few here.

Volunteers bring fresh energy to a project.
There's nothing like a volunteer fresh out of college, brimming over with enthusiasm to bring energy and excitement to a project. Regular, mundane jobs are transformed into FUN!

Volunteers bring fresh eyes to a project.
To a volunteer everything is new--new culture, new people, new climate, new views, new food. And sometimes it is good and refreshing to see the place we live and work through someone else's eyes. Watching a volunteer discover Zambia for the first time reminds me of when I saw more of the things around me and less of the work. It gives me a chance to reevaluate my priorities and my outlook.

Volunteers bring helping hands.
This kinda goes without saying. That's what volunteers are supposed to do, of course. But, you'd be surprised how many times a volunteer has come in just in the nick of time (having planned a trip months in advance) because God knew we'd need them there right then. At this moment, because we have volunteers, I know the sick babies and toddlers are being checked on even though I'm stuck in the office.

 Volunteers fill a need
Whether it's teaching, or building, or playing with a troubled child, or simply holding a sick baby, volunteers help us to do more than we could alone. 

Volunteers help us reach the community
Like the points above, without volunteers working alongside us, we couldn't have the impact in the community that we'd like. Volunteers spend time with our staff members, or other organizations in the community, or mothers at the clinic, and this all expands our reach and makes our project more successful.

Volunteers create awareness
Once a volunteer has been here and seen the work being done with their own eyes, seen the malnourished, neglected and deprived children, and then seen them transform in the care of Kazembe Orphanage, they can't help but spread the word back home about the needs and the vision. They become Ambassadors that people take seriously because they have been there.

Our kids love volunteers
Our kids have such an extended family spread around the world of 'aunties' and 'uncles' who have spent time with them, played with them, or just sat and listened. They are more well-developed, confident, and compassionate for having been so well loved.

If you'd like to volunteer, click over to our volunteer page or email us for more information!

Three Cheers for all our Wonderful Volunteers!

Extra Reading:
Great article about volunteering. Really good website overall.

Exactly One Year Ago: Visitors and Parties (speaking of volunteers)
Exactly Three Years Ago: Shopping Trips 
Exactly Four Years Ago: Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That


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