Truth About Volunteering

by Patricija Saric

In my previous article: Volunteering in Colombia, I told you about my amazing experience as a volunteer and how it changed my life.  I want to dedicate this post to everyone who wants to discover the truth about volunteering. Were you thinking about becoming a volunteer? If one of your questions, is Why? How? What For? You should definitely read this post!

WHY SHOULD I BECOME A VOLUNTEER

Before I became a volunteer all I wanted was to experience it without really knowing the meaning of it. Through my volunteering experience, I learned what generosity and humility without limits really mean. How to put others first and help them in every way possible. But most of all, I learned to show gratitude and appreciation for all I have.

If you would ask me whether to do volunteer work or not, I would say – do it! There is nothing to lose, but so much to receive – happiness, life-lasting friendships, sense of identity, change and so much more. Try to be open-minded, positive, embrace new challenges and you will be good.

HOW TO BECOME A VOLUNTEER

The truth about Volunteering is that it doesn’t need to be expensive and you can easily organize it on your own. There are many online platforms such as Worldpackers, Hippohelp, Helpx etc. where travellers, in exchange for volunteering, are provided with food and accommodation. I highly recommend the Workaway platform. I was using it and in my opinion, is safe, plus the membership is super affordable. For just 40 € per year, you will have access to countless volunteer opportunities across the globe.

Once you are in the country and meet locals it will be much easier to connect to some local organizations, schools, hostels, farms etc. depends on what kind of volunteer work you want to do. One tip from my side – always prepare yourself and investigate every place you go, read all the feedback about the host and last but not least, use common sense and you will have the best time ever, I promise.

If you would like to find out more about the organization, I volunteered for: Sueños y Huellas Del Mañana you can check their page https://www.suenosyhuellas.org/home/ or Instagram account @suenosyhuellas and learn more about what they do and what they want to achieve. Any kind of help is more than welcome!

TRUTH ABOUT VOLUNTEERING - WHAT DID I GAIN?

I learned how to be more resilient and how to be real support for those in need. By observing the people working in the organization Sueños y Huellas Del Mañana, their unique way of how to behave and communicate with each other and with children. What I liked the most about this organization and its people is how they are creating hope and raising aspirations for those children, reminding them every single day they are so valuable and important.

The truth about volunteering is that you are working in a team with one common goal, to do good. I learned a lot about unity and equality which is something that describes perfectly the way how the Sueños y Huellas Del Mañana works. It is not important if you are a director or volunteer, you go to that neighbourhood and you help to share food and clothes, the whole day if necessary. Even the smallest act of kindness affects someone’s life in the largest of ways and once you realize it there is nothing more fulfilling than that!

EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME

As a conclusion, I would like to share with you one of my favourite sayings that go perfectly with this story of mine:

’’Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

Volunteering taught me how to uproot many fears and prejudices, it exposed me to extreme vulnerability, suffering and pain, but also it showed me the great power of love, hope and optimism. Above all, I was lucky enough to experience the actual meaning of satisfaction of giving and happiness of helping in its purest possible form.

This is all the truth about volunteering. Thanks to this beautiful journey, my appreciation for Colombia and its people has no end. Memories of friends I met and stories I was told will last forever. Volunteering in Colombia was one of the strongest and most beautiful experiences I have ever had in my life!

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