“It’s a treat for your soul." This is how Olga described her experience volunteering at Gracias’ partner organization in Ethiopia a local children's home in Addis Ababa. She was speaking by live video from London at the “Celebrating Volunteering” event, ably hosted by Chris Reichenbach, to an audience at eBay Bern.
Discussing how the experience had made her feel and what she had learnt, Olga explained “we live in a bubble; when you go there you break the bubble for a period of time.” She revealed that she remembers the children’s smiles every day. Their sense of thankfulness and community at the table and gratitude for a simple but special treat of a Coca-Cola at a café really made an impression on her. She continues to be fascinated by the rich culture and people of Ethiopia and plans to return there to volunteer next year. These insights have affected her own life, she reflected “(I have) become more giving, more thankful, more grateful for everything I have today."
As Chris pointed out in her introduction to the event, volunteering has positive benefits, both to local and international communities but also in our own lives and attitudes to it. This is backed-up by our volunteers’ discussion of their experiences. Gracias has a number of short and longer term volunteer opportunities available, plus there other ways you can help. Find out more here and make a change!