It is no secret that life experiences change our lives and that is exactly what stands out the most when meeting with Rebecka Stavenheim and Ellen Undervall from Sweden. Both were international volunteers at Give a Child a Family (GCF) in 2009 and nine years later they are back, visiting the organisation.
The women had just completed school, when arriving the first time. Young and adventurous. One of them stayed 5 months and the other 8 months. Little did they know how their volunteer period would change their lives forever. Rebecka and Ellen eagerly share how their volunteer period made them grow as people and how they got a completely new perspective of the world, when seeing others struggling through difficulties, so different from their own safe upbringings in a faraway first world country.
Rebecka talks about the memories she still cherishes dearly. Little ones waiting for her and calling her name when entering the nursery in the early morning hours. Helping the child care workers getting the babies and toddlers ready for the day, driving the older children to school. Ellen is laughing and remembers standing in as a teacher for some time and how she was deliberately tested by her young students over and over again. Other memories take her back to the time when the volunteers made a music video together with the older children, who just could not get enough of High School musical. The memories are countless. They are real, some challenging, but most are without a doubt happy.
Without these experiences Rebecka and Ellen might have had chosen other career paths, but volunteering at GCF gave them a desire to do more; to help others. Today Rebecka has a degree in prosthetics and orthotics and Ellen is a professional nurse. The very same day as our meeting, Ellen had arrived to South Africa after a three months’ period as a nurse at the mission boat Mercy Ship in Cameroon, while Rebecka shows her husband the country that never left her heart.
So, would these compassionate young women recommend others to become volunteers at GCF in the future? Their answers come quick. “Absolutely, it’s an adventure. One get to know oneself and become thankful for the life one has”, says Rebecka. Ellen continues “Yes! I came without much life experience and was now faced with difficult situations. I met children who had been sexually abused, which I hardly knew anything about. It changed me.”
Volunteer duties can be many. Being a driver, assisting the child care workers as mentioned above, IT related, renovations and so much more. GCF is a Child Protection organisation, with all children’s best interest at the heart and core of the organisation, so that is criteria you are required to have if you would apply to become an international volunteer with us. Are you 20 years or older and have 6 months, or more to give? Or, perhaps you know someone who would like to join us? Don’t hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and our International Volunteer Co-ordinator will come back to you.
It will surely change your life!