GRATITUDE FOR GOOD
A Blog by Gratitude Alliance
(Reposted from The Gracias Foundation, now called Global Gratitude Alliance)
“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.
Olga described her motivation, after speaking to Gracias president, Amy; she was inspired not only to start a fundraising campaign, but also to spend two weeks of her sabbatical volunteering. Thanks to the availability of generic ARV’s, our partner organization is now home to a group of HIV positive 14 to 16 year olds who need vocational training and motivation to succeed and make a life for themselves once they leave the orphanage after finishing high school. Olga’s contribution was to run a “Sewing by Hand Workshop” designing and making skirts with a group of girls which helped give the participants a sense of pride and achievement.
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."
Sacha and Jack, our student volunteers, also spoke at the event, and were both enthusiastic about their week at the Maisha Home, Kenya, recommending the experience of volunteering. Sacha stated that “(volunteering is) something someone should do in their lifetime.” She said that she had learnt a lot from spending time with the kids and helping with the daily chores at the home and changes are visible in her life; she is now more accepting, helpful and thankful.
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!