- Can you please tell us a little about the organisation where you volunteer?
The organization I first went to Ghana, Africa with to volunteer is called IVHQ. They were great and I would highly recommend them since they are still one of the most affordable and most reliable international organizations I know. They had an onsite team that made me feel very welcomed, comfortable and safe as they provided all the necessary information and accommodation to make me feel "at home" in a foreign country with scarce resources. I found that IVHQ did a good job introducing me to the issues of various orphanages and various communities and by no means am I undermining their work! However, I wanted to make a more substantial, long term impact my own way so I did 3 solo trips thereafter. Nonetheless, I owe it to IVHQ as they paved the way for me to build a foundation of connections to the local people of the remote villages to allow me to start my own relief efforts! I've started my own organization now and it's one of the most proudest accomplishments of my life!
- If someone wanted to donate to the organisation, where would they need to go to do so?
This is a very sensitive topic for me to answer because I have witnessed so much corruption when it comes to donations. There are so many onsite volunteers who set up gofundme pages (who by the way, have the BEST intentions) to donate money to things like school, healthcare etc. However, unfortunately, a lot of these donations are often given to the headmaster of an orphanage/organization who may not use the money in the way you may expect. Therefore, the best organizations to donate to are the long term volunteers who are on site, who are familiar to the issues of the village and who have a strong knowledge of where to allocate the money to ensure it reaches the right people for the right reasons. If you ever need the names or contacts of these people please don't hesitate to message me !
- How long have you been a volunteer for, and what made you get into it?
I volunteered on and off for about a year and a half in Africa. I have always wanted to go and one year, all the stars aligned for me to actually make the leap and book my flight! I wanted to make an impact all while challenging myself and feeding my curiosity of exploring more of the world!
- What do you like most about being a volunteer?
My most favourite part of being a volunteer is being able to make such strong and genuine connections. My connections with even the youngest children taught/impacted me more than I felt like I could ever teach/impact them!
- Can you please tell us a little about yourself, what motivates you, and what your ultimate goal is?
The fear of remaining stagnant in life is what motivates me. For this reason, although it sounds odd, I always welcome failure as it forces me to grow whether I like it or not. It forces me to change my perspective, overcome obstacles and to become stronger and better on the other side. This mentally is especially necessary for me to complete my ultimate goal of becoming a physician!
- Do you have one memorable moment while being a volunteer which you would like to share?
Oh gosh, there are SO many that I cannot just pinpoint only one. However, I think one distinct moment that I will always cherish is when I crossed paths with a little boy who suffered from a severe case of sickle cell anemia. He had no family, he was severely emancipated due to the lack of nutrition he was receiving and he needed various blood transfusions to live. He had every reason to hate life, but he was the complete opposite. Despite all the multiple hospital visits we had, despite all the hardships he's had to endure, he ALWAYS had a smile on his face. He was ALWAYS happy and was ALWAYS so grateful for every second he had REGARDLESS of how terrible he obviously felt. He was the one who really inspired me to start the 6+ medical outreaches (malaria, sickle cell anemia, ABO blood testing) that I funded and lead that helped/saved over 3000 orphans and community members in the villages of Ghana.
- What advice would you give someone who was looking to become a volunteer?
Do your research! There are many ways to volunteer but it's important to do it ethically and responsibly. I have a website linked in my bio in which I touch on some of the things you should really be aware of before volunteering. The goal is to do good and cause no harm! If you have any questions feel free to message me!
- Do you have a favourite quote, which motivates you that you would like to share?
The road to success is always under construction. This quote has stuck by me since I've heard it as a kid. It's simple yet powerful. Success can be defined in many different ways and so this quote applies to various aspects of my life whether it's my career, my relationships, etc. This quote allows me to focus on the journey and to ensure that I enjoy that rather than just the finish line.
- Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Whatever your passion is in life, don't let anyone tell you you can't do it. Don't let the fear of striking out take you out of the game. Don't let the challenges or failures you experience stop you. Don't put up road blocks because the only person you're hurting is yourself! Always do your best to change your perspective into one in which you can be better and one in which you can do better. You're stronger than you think and you'll surprise yourself at the end. Be patient and kind all while being a boss babe!