Evan loves volunteering with Global Volunteers: she has done it 20 times. Twelve of those service programs were in Romania, where she has dedicated most of her time to helping children at an orphanage. Evan just finished a service program at PPA, a children’s home in Peru. While she was serving, she talked about her experience and views on how to help orphans…
How to help orphans
The ratio of staff to children at orphanages or children’s home is not good. The children need a lot of attention. But the staff cannot give them enough individual attention. The children don’t get held. And sometimes in places like Romania the children with disabilities stay in their cribs all day because they don’t get help.
The impact of helping at orphanages and children’s homes
Serving at orphanages or children’s homes is more process oriented than goal oriented. You don’t get to quite see the impact of your service. You don’t know what the impact is because you don’t know or control what happens in the rest of their life. And you are not there with them all time, but it’s the chain of volunteers who keep coming group after group who are there for them.
Usually when you start working with the children they are sitting there next to a toy. Once the children get your attention they start to smile more. They are not just sitting there with the toys, they are playing with them.
“Once a staff member at an orphanage told me: anybody can give them money, but you give them love.”
At the beginning of a visit at an orphanage there was a boy who was autistic, and he was hitting his head. Then a volunteer payed attention to him. By the time the volunteer left the kid was more attentive. I have also volunteered at an orphanage in India. I see that a lot of it is the individual attention you give to the children.
Helping orphans in Peru
I’m about to work with three siblings at PPA who had not seen each other before we came. Now we gather them and play with them. It was hard for me and Maru (the Team Leader) not to cry when we saw them together. They were so happy to see each other!