News from 2014
Following on from their positive experience at the Projects Abroad Microfinance Project in Senegal, volunteers Helge and Kina have been instrumental in founding an exciting new microfinance initiative in conjunction with Khemara, a well-established NGO in Cambodia.
Last week our volunteers in Thailand celebrated the Kings 88th birthday by participating in a dive clean-up organised by the local government. Volunteers cleaned the coral reefs of Koh Hong as part of the “Dive against Debris” initiative.
Last month marked the one year anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the island nation of the Philippines. Projects Abroad began working on Cebu Island at the beginning of 2013, and could not ignore the havoc and devastation that was left behind after Haiyan struck.
Projects Abroad Peru has tracked a group of spider monkeys to discover that they have successfully reintegrated into their natural habitat. Projects Abroad’s reintroduction and rehabilitation project is the only spider monkey release programme in the country that is recognised by the Peruvian government.
The Bolivian government asked Projects Abroad to participate in the opening ceremony of the country’s Plurinational Olympic Games, after seeing our Equine Therapy volunteers participating in a parade on Bolivia’s Independence Day.
After hearing about Projects Abroad from several classmates, Isabelle knew that a project in Nepal was a great way to spend her gap year. Growing up hiking in the Ramapo Mountains, she always had a love for the outdoors. However, it was not until a summer college course in environmental science that Isabelle realized she would pursue environmental studies.
Our High School Special volunteers made a significant impact abroad this summer. The following infographic shows just some of the ways in which more than 500 volunteers helped out across 12 countries.
Ultimately, the aim of any volunteer work is to be part of a greater community and a bigger picture. This comes from seeing an impact first-hand. By working one-on-one with local communities and studying the ecology of a specific area, volunteering at a conservation project provides this opportunity.
The Operation Get Ready competition aims to get residents in vulnerable communities ready for the hurricane season and other natural disasters. Projects Abroad Jamaica offers a Disaster Management Program which facilitates individuals from across the world.
In June 2014, a group of students from the United States Military Academy embarked on a three week teaching and care project with Projects Abroad in Mongolia. One of the academy’s main priorities is to expose their students to different countries through international service projects and cultural immersion.
A simple laptop is a window to a world of possibilities. Along with many other types of communications technology, it has transformed the way people learn about the world around them. However, children in developed countries have a significant advantage over their counterparts in developing countries; especially those in Africa.
Today is World Food Day. According to the World Food Program, over 805 million people do not have enough food to live a healthy life and 66 million primary school children go to school hungry in developing countries every day. The facts speak for themselves.
Volunteers in Bolivia recently embarked on an outreach health program to assist elderly people in having their blood sugar and pressure tested to commemorate World Heart Day.
Home of Hope is a center for children and male adults living with disabilities. We are delighted to announce that, after a summer of hard work, our volunteers have finished converting two disused rooms at the center into a physical therapy room and a sensory room.
A new pen pal initiative to increase literacy levels of children thousands of miles apart from each other has been launched by Projects Abroad in Jamaica and South Africa.
“There were always so many laughs and, well, a child’s laughing is contagious! At the end of my placement I made a book to leave in the classroom called ‘What do you see’. We had just finished an English book following a similar theme, but instead of the book characters I put in pictures of the students and their nicknames in English! They loved it and thought it was so funny that I was trying to say their names and giggled at everyone’s pictures.”
“My advice would be to find joy in all the little things that happen at school. We are volunteering in a country that is not our own, we cannot do everything perfectly, so try your hardest and have fun. Enjoy every smile and laugh because it goes by so quickly. My last piece of advice would be to ask a lot of questions and learn as much Thai as you can,” said Lexi to future volunteers.
To say that the story of business volunteer Ann Cope was interesting would be a huge understatement. First of all, Ann is an extremely successful business woman. She has an undergraduate degree in Business Management and Psychology and a Masters post-graduate degree in Organizational Development. “I have pretty much done every job within human resources. I have led entire organizations in the past and my most recent position was the vice president of Talent Development.”
“I wanted to travel outside the USA to learn about medicine and to sincerely make a difference,” says Jessica Ann Dobrowlski about her decision to volunteer abroad in Tanzania.
The last few weeks at Taricaya have been busy as usual and, with the floods a distant memory, we have been able to push on in many of our projects and the results have been very rewarding. After nearly 14 years of working with volunteers on our Conservation project, I am still amazed by the levels of dedication they show and their ability to work hard in often unfriendly conditions.
21 year old Logan Hamilton from Idaho, USA, had always wanted to volunteer in Mongolia. Despite delays in obtaining a Mongolian visa, Logan did not give up on his dream and recently spent one month volunteering with Projects Abroad at the sports project in Ulaanbaatar.
The nutrition, health and wellness project in Fiji is going from strength to strength since it started in May this year. So much so, that even the Prime Minister in Fiji cannot help but notice the incredible work our volunteers are doing.
In May 2014, Projects Abroad Cambodia welcomed a group from West Point Military Academy to do a Khmer project as part of their Cultural Immersion course. The group consisted of five people including the group leader, John Hagen, who is their professor of International Relations in their Social Science Department. The four students – 19 year old Melissa Anderson from Colorado, 19 year old Austin Espey from Texas, 20 year old Amos Lee from New Jersey and 20 year old Joshua Lobdell from New York - applied to do the Khmer Project for three weeks.
Twenty-two year old Zimbabwean, Kurayi Mahachi, graduate of Luther College, traveled to Togo to volunteer with Projects Abroad on a medical project. His stay in Togo has been meaningful to him. “My experience in Togo has been one full of ups and downs, and I learnt a plethora of things, not only about Togo’s culture, but also about how medical labs work and where I see myself in the long run. Each day has brought a new adventure, from the crazy 6am soccer games on the beach to the interesting interactions of the grand market.
Third year undergraduate student majoring in Physiology at the University of Arizona, Kimberly Pham (21) will be doing her honors thesis on acupuncture and the differences between Eastern and Western medicine. Kimberly thought signing up for a volunteering program with Projects Abroad in Vietnam would be a good way to gain more hands-on experience in her academic field while giving back.
Joseph Miano (20), with the ambition of becoming a surgeon after med-school, traveled to China to do an internship during his summer break at Renji Hospital. “Med-school is very competitive and I needed to do something that would differentiate me from other people in my position, something that would be attractive to future employers while at the same time gaining some meaningful experience for myself.”
The spirit of Mandela Day has gone global, with countries around the world celebrating Nelson Mandela’s birthday by donating their time to helping others. In Fiji, Ian Campbell of the WWF joined Projects Abroad to educate local children at the Multi-Cultural School on the importance of protecting sharks. As part of the day, teams of children and volunteers joined forces to clean up the local village and beach, collecting over 20 bags of rubbish.
Ian Campbell, the Program Manager for the WWF Global Shark Program, recently tweeted that Projects Abroad have “possibly the most important shark project in the world”. Since the Shark Conservation project started in January, 200 volunteers have signed up to assist the local scientists in Fiji.
The Projects Abroad Building project in South Africa is part of Village Heights’ Friends and Neighbors, a World Design Capital 2014 project. The Friends and Neighbors project has been awarded a Gold Star rating in the City of Cape Town’s Mayor’s Portfolio of Urban Sustainability, which showcases some of the best practice achieved in the development of areas in Cape Town.
The Projects Abroad team in Tanzania has been working alongside the local community in Dar es Salaam to create a sustainable endeavor through the work done by Projects Abroad volunteers. According to the Country Director in Tanzania, Gloria Matoi, the voluntary work done in Tanzania assists in uplifting the local community.
An interest in infectious diseases is what prompted Pamela Bailey’s decision to travel to the Caribbean. She thought that coming here would allow her to see a wide range of illnesses and fulfill the necessary requirements for the completion of her medical degree. As a result she signed up for the medicine programme with Projects Abroad Jamaica. Once her volunteering tenure ended she would return home for
graduation and start a new job.
“Priceless” is the best way to describe the expressions on the children’s faces at the New Hope Children’s Home, who were treated to a fun-day on May 27 courtesy of Projects Abroad Jamaica as part of Child Month.
Each year on the 5th of June, World Environment Day is celebrated to create worldwide awareness and encourage action for the conservation of our environment. In light of this day, volunteers on the Conservation in Thailand placement joined the Krabi Provinicial Administrative Organisation and welcomed school students to an educational day.
Projects Abroad’s Disaster Relief project in the Philippines is moving on to its next mission: to reconstruct the grade two section of Banban Elementary School, which was greatly affected by the 2013 Typhoon. Banban Elementary School is 2km away from Bung-aw Elementary School where Projects Abroad volunteers have rebuilt six classrooms.
Earlier in May, the first baby howler monkey was born at the Taricaya Rescue Center, giving the centre yet another reason to celebrate this month. Yesterday, on May 28th, the Taricaya Rescue Center celebrated six years of wonderful work in Peru and will add the birth of this little fellow to its already long list of achievements.
World Hunger Day 2014 is upon us, with its aim of celebrating sustainable solutions to ending extreme hunger and poverty. In line with its goal to highlight the positive actions taken by those surviving on very little, we turn the spotlight on our Nutrition Project in Peru and its impact on the community.
Twelve students from New College Nottingham traveled to Madurai, India with Projects Abroad to spend two weeks volunteering on a medical project. As part of their health studies course, the students chose Medicine in India with the aim of gaining the medical experience that is difficult to get in the UK.
The Costa Rica Conservation Project is working with three schools near the Barra Honda National Park in order to gain the Ecological Blue Flag Award. Projects Abroad is assisting in education, training and the building of ecological strategies that will aid the social development of these three communities in an innovative and sustainable way.
To celebrate World Penguin Day, Projects Abroad continued to support SANCCOB in Cape Town. SANCCOB is at the forefront of saving African penguins, as well as other seabirds. Volunteers assist in preparing food, feeding the birds, cleaning out the cages and rehabilitating injured or oiled birds. If the birds are unable to go back into their natural habitat, SANCCOB provides them with a permanent home.
American volunteer spends six months as a consultant at Riverkids Foundation in Cambodia
23-year-old Sylvan LaChance from Massachusetts wanted to experience a full cultural immersion somewhere completely different and far away from home. This motivated her to travel to Mongolia and she signed up to spend one month volunteering at the Projects Abroad Nomad Project. Sylvan had previously completed 2 trips with Projects Abroad; a Care Project in Tanzania and a Building Project in Ghana.
Alex Kitchie (25) came to China to experience a different culture while getting some valuable work experience. “I wanted to have a new experience and have something great on my resume that is different to most. I found out about Projects Abroad and saw their awesome business marketing programs in China, so I decided to go for it!”
The City of Bogo and the Department of Education in Bogo City organized a dinner party for Projects Abroad volunteers in April 2014 at the City of Bogo Science of Arts and Academics (CBSAA). The event, dubbed as “Mga Pungpong sa Bulak” (Wreath of Flowers), was to acknowledge the volunteers’ dedication to help rebuild classrooms in public elementary schools in the city through Projects Abroad’s Disaster Relief project.
Projects Abroad have been supporting worthwhile projects in Jamaica for the past six years. In order to celebrate their sixth anniversary, the Projects Abroad team in Jamaica will be holding an information week to acknowledge those who contribute to the success of the destination.
With continuous help and support from Projects Abroad over the last six years, Jhon Valencia Cordoba received his professional qualification and became a licensed archaeologist in Peru. Jhon is based at the Inca Project in Peru and has spent a lot time investigating the ruins in the Lucumayo Valley with many Projects Abroad volunteers.
Projects Abroad Tanzania will begin construction of a primary school in March 2014 at Meserani, a Maasai community located just outside of Arusha. In November 2013, Projects Abroad Tanzania purchased 4,046m of land which will provide enough space to build two classes, two toilets, a temporary kitchen and a small playground.
In the summer of 2006, Patricia Sexton (38), from New York, seized the opportunity to follow her dream of becoming a journalist when she embarked on a 3 month volunteer adventure with the Projects Abroad Journalism Project in Mongolia.
Supported by the Projects Abroad Microfinance Project, a small community soap factory in Ghana produced and sold their first batch of locally made soaps last week. The Obuotumpan Soap Factory in Koforidua was established by the community through the support and direction of the Microfinance Project’s volunteers and staff.
22-year-old Matthew Gaal, currently in his 4th year studying music education at Ohio State University student, was determined to use his musical training and passion for music to positively influence the youth.
When the Building project in South Africa first started, around 2008, in the impoverished community of Lavender Hill in Cape Town, the site was home to just one small wooden crèche and was surrounded by shacks. The project is now in its third phase of development; a literacy room has been built, as well as a toilet, a wash area and two rooms.
“I went back to college as I am working on my PhD in history for which my focus is Senegal; I wanted to experience the Senegalese culture and learn Wolof - the most popular Senegalese language,” said Ofosuwa Abiola (51).
Established in 1991, the Khemara Organization was the first local NGO in Cambodia which played a significant role in working for the advancement of women and children in Cambodia by working directly with communities. Its goal is to support vulnerable people including women, children and disadvantaged families.
One of the reasons that many volunteers choose Tanzania as their volunteering destination is because of the Maasai tribe. This tribe has maintained their tradition and culture regardless of the encroaching modern world. As the Maasai people are very private, it is rare that foreigners get an insight into their lifestyle and rituals.
Not all English teachers in Peru have the competency in the English language that is required to teach students. Therefore, the Teacher Training Project aims to help teachers in Peru so that there can be a higher standard of English in schools in addition to bringing new teaching techniques into the classrooms.
The www.myball.ch/ Project is an initiative which was started by the Steiner family from Switzerland, who wanted to help the many children who do not receive gifts. The aim of the project is to distribute balls to disadvantaged children in developing countries.
Projects Abroad’s Shark Conservation Project has begun in Fiji with 26 volunteers confirmed for the month of January 2014. Currently, 13 volunteers have already begun their dive lessons with Beqa Adventures dive instructors.
Twenty-two-year-old Lena Finucane, a recent graduate from St. Joseph’s University, decided to participate in Care and Medical Projects in Sri Lanka with Projects Abroad for two months.
“I wanted to see what other parts of the world were like,” says Emily Hassinger (20) about her decision to volunteer abroad in Tanzania. “I spent much of my life volunteering in small ways so
Abigayle Zimmerman (18) decided to travel to Fiji with Projects Abroad to volunteer at their Care Project for three months. She chose to work with children as she hopes to pursue a career in teaching special needs children.