Lakota culture on Rosebud reservation

Rosebud Reservation volunteers share their team journal reflections on opportunities to learn about Lakota culture on a South Dakota service program.

Day 2

Today we arose with anticipation of the work assignment. We headed out and gathered any tools we could find for the day ahead. We worked outside of a home belonging to Danielle, a local single mother. We worked together as a team collecting garbage, mowing around her yard and had a fantastic time interacting with her children, Jasmine, Isaiah, Marissa and D.J.  After we finished, we moved on to another neighbor’s yard to continue our work. Some local boys and girls, Ben, Charles and Bethany helped right alongside with us.

We had lunch at the Senior Center again- tuna sandwiches, tomato soup and cake. It was so fun eating with the elders and hearing their stories.  None of us wanted to leave, but we wanted to finish the work we started in the morning. I felt, as I am sure all of my fellow volunteers did, a good amount of accomplishment looking back at the work we had done today. Danielle was very thankful to all of us and her children were an amazing addition (bonus) to our day. Her neighbor made a point of telling us what a great person Danielle was, and how great it was to help her with her home.
-Dina Bosby

Day 3

Early this morning, a thunderstorm rolled through as has happened just about every morning.  And, just like every morning, it passed and we awoke to the sun. After breakfast, we got to work cleaning and mowing around Shiloh and Lowell’s homes. The sun was hot and the hills were green. We were joined today by Homer’s three grandchildren: John, Rose, and Daniel. Charlie and Ben were there again as well. We continued our work until 3:30, and then packed up and headed back for dinner and a trip to Wounded Knee in two groups.

Lakota culture

Visitors contemplate Lakota history at the Wounded Knee cemetery.

We walked around the white stone marker commemorating the final resting place of hundreds of slaughtered Native Americans—all of them unarmed and most of them women and children.  This is a tragic part of American Indian history, but spotlights the purpose behind some Lakota culture and traditions. Special stones and offerings of tobacco surrounded the base.  Traditional Indian names like Yellow Robe, Red Eagle, Pretty Hawk, Little Water, and Long Bull were etched in the stone surfaces.  The air seemed heavy amidst a panorama of rolling hills, lush pine trees, and dilapidated shacks.  A young woman approached us for donations toward gas to get her 18-month-old daughter chemotherapy in Denver.  Paul thunder Horse, old, wrinkled, pocked, and supremely talented and proud hawked his beaded treasures at a roadside stand.

Although our two groups who went to Wounded Knee didn’t cross paths there, we arrived back at the Rosebud Veterans’ Center at nearly the same time…safe and sound and ready to rest up for another day working, playing, and learning on “the rez.”

– Michelle Godwin

Day 4

After a morning of work, Homer, two grandchildren, John and Daniel – smiling, what with their grandpapa’s happy spirited nature radiating – to view the buffalo. What an honor to sit next to this inspirational man.  Traveling with Homer is like going on a short journey through the Lakota history.  When his pickup truck stops at our destination, that historical journey stops.  You don’t want to stop…instead you want to keep listening.  Such an intelligent, knowledgeable, and passionate man who is so proud of his Lakota blood…so well learned of his Lakota culture.

lakota culture

Buffalo are a central part of Lakota culture.

We arrived at the area where the buffalo roamed. As we stood and observed the buffalo feeding on the grass…and the cute calves feeding from their mothers, we took this moment to take some great shots. We then met Leonard Two Eagle, Buffalo Ranger from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Game, Fish, and Parks.  He spoke of his role as buffalo manager of the two different types of buffalo that were grazing—(1) Catalina, and (2) Dakota Wind Cave.  The meat is used for ceremonies, funerals, local businesses, and to feed the needy.  Leonard spoke respectfully of the buffalo—a sacred animal.  Seeing buffalo grazing on the green hills, surrounded by pine trees on Lakota tribal land was truly a spiritual experience…feeling connected with spirit…with South Dakota.

Back to work!

Yard work and cleaning the Veterans’ Center continued all afternoon.  There was enough support to work on the remaining two properties. After dinner, Homer and Rosalie shared their stories on life as a Lakota Native on the rez.  Whilst listening to these people’s stories, emotions – disbelief and sadness ran high.

Rosalie described life as being a P.O.W. (Prisoner of War) in her youth.  She used the clear plastic sugar bowl as an effective analogy—like being imprisoned in a confined space with those in power watching over them.  Loss of identity and culture was discussed.  She described how difficult it was to change from tepee to a square box divided by rooms with doors to shut. She said the government didn’t want the Natives to be educated, knowledgeable, have good jobs.  It gives them power.  It was sad to see Rosalie expressing her emotions regarding this social issue, so unjust.  In spite of the sadness, Homer and Rosalie radiated love, warmth, and humor.

Lakota words were shared with the team.  Homer and Rosalie are very proud of their Lakota language.  It was evident that they endeavor to have their language continue into the next generations.  They teach their grandchildren Lakota…a must for the language to survive.  One could go on forever.  Unfortunately that is not possible.  However, one last thing to finish this journal entry:  today we definitely learned about the Lakota culture—one of many reasons why we are here.  Words like medicine man and medicine woman demonstrated that their culture continues on.

– Viv Arranz-Boyle

Day 5

Honestly, I have no idea where to start.  The responsibility of writing about this, our last full day in Rosebud, is a great one.  The sheer range and power of the emotions and events experienced today is not only overwhelming, but near impossible to accurately recapture with inadequate written words. Nonetheless, I shall give it a go! Our day began with our well-established pattern.  Those mad enough to be “morning people” woke at an hour still unknown to me, and eventually made too much noise for us “lazies” to rest in peace.  I hauled myself out of my sleeping bag and off my mattress to shuffle across the main community room.

Lakota culture

Engaging Lakota children at the Rosebud Reservation pow-wow.

After a day of mowing, weeding, clipping, and watering, we all gathered together – volunteers and local residents – beneath a big shady tree.  This is when the emotions began to run wild.  There was no way to remain unmoved by the generosity heaped upon us.  We received T-shirts from a couple of tribal offices, which were put on by many within mere minutes.  Sharing what you have is a big part of Lakota culture. Tears were shed, both openly and in private.  The depth of the unquestioning welcome, friendliness, acceptance, and perhaps even love, almost short-circuited my cynical soul.  There was too much happiness to express, though it was the most bittersweet sort.  We will leave tomorrow, back to suburbia and routine.  We’ve been made to feel so welcome that it seems we’ve been here forever, though at the same time it feels we haven’t been here long enough.  A realm of contrast, this reservation.

Lakota culture

The round dance is a traditional element of Lakota culture.

We eventually made it out to the powwow in St. Francis.  We were greeted by Meredith (hard-working Ben’s mom), who informed us that we were to take part in the Grand Entry.  Nervous, excited, honored, and a little embarrassed, we lined up behind the color guard, a beautifully dressed fancy dancer, and shawl dancer, and a passel of incredibly precious little girls in both shawl and jingle dresses. Most of us step-shuffled our way through a couple of round dances, demonstrating that lack of rhythm is not synonymous with lack of enthusiasm.  The powwow was the perfect setting for our final evening together.  Everyone mingled, always seeming to return to Homer and Rosalie.

Storm clouds rolled in as the sun lowered, creating perhaps the most breathtaking sunset I have ever witnessed.  I would like to think that the sunset was a last gift to us from Rosebud and South Dakota. Getting into the car was the hardest thing I’ve done all week.  I had no desire to leave the sunset, the hills, the drumming, our friends.  But our time in Rosebud has come to an end—for now.  I feel comforted knowing the Lakota language has no word for “goodbye.”  Instead they say “Until I see you next.”  I don’t know the Lakota phrase for this, but if I did, I would say it in the Lakota way—from my heart.

– Erin K. Smith

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new volunteer opportunity for families

As we shared before, Global Volunteers has recently been invited by the Municipality of Miraflores to partner with them in various human development projects. We asked the Miller family about their experience to learn about this new volunteer opportunity for families.

What led you to join in this new volunteer opportunity for families?

Irene: I wanted to do a family volunteer trip. I started to research and narrowed it down to several organizations. But I found I could relate to Global Volunteers’ focus on the children. I thought we could relate to that as a family; that’s why I chose Global Volunteers.

Hannah: I think that this is the best way to volunteer and travel. When you volunteer while you travel you get to know the community, actually. When you volunteer you really see the community and learn the culture.

“I wanted to take a vacation that was meaningful. I wanted to learn about another culture. I found I could relate to Global Volunteers’ focus on the children.” Irene.

new volunteer opportunity for families

The Miller family with the rest of the volunteer team in Barranco, Peru.

What projects have you been working on?

Irene: We’ve been working on a variety of projects according to our skills. My husband has a painting company, so he is working on maintenance projects, painting and repair projects in the community center.

I’ve been working with the elementary school children teaching them conversational English through games, books and other activities. My youngest daughter, Grace, is 11, and she’s been working alongside me in the classroom.

Hannah: I was working in the classrooms in the mornings. We have small groups of 5 or 6 kids, and we do basic games, like bingo or word games, where we teach the children basic English. One day I also worked in the library, organizing books by genre.

Irene: The work changes based on the needs of the community, for instance if a teacher is absent we go and help.

new volunteer opportunity for families

Irene in a class teaching conversational English at the community center in Miraflores.

How do you think this is helping the community?

Irene: We bring a different culture to them; they have the chance to learn another culture. They are learning another language. Right now, we are working at the community center, we are helping repair and fix the community center. This sends a message of worldwide peace. It’s important for them viewing us coming here.

Hannah: It’s important that they see that people care about them and want to help.

Irene: The children don’t have much. But they have a lot of love to give. We’ve experience that. We are leaving and the one girl is crying.

new volunteer opportunity for families

Students and families bring food for the volunteers to thank them for their service.

 

“There is this one boy, Adrian. He has down syndrome. I only saw him the first day for about an hour and a half. He said he was cold, so I gave him my jacket. And then on the last day he just comes running up to me and says: ‘Bye! Adios! Adios!'” Hannah.

new volunteer opportunity for families

Grace and Hannah with one fo the boys at the elementary school.

Irene: The community organized a welfare party. There were about 300 kids. And they said bye, we love you. It was very moving. I think we showed we cared about them, that they mean something to us. I think that as much as they got something out of this, we got something out of it as well. Besides, it’s a good bonding experience for our family. We also got to make new friends. And our team leader, Maru, was excellent.

“As much as they got something out of this, we got something out of it as well. Besides, it’s a good bonding experience for our family.” Irene.

Check out the whole interview:

family volunteering in Peru

Summer Family Volunteering in Peru – Sydney Hill and her new friends in Alto Progreso.

The teens shared an interest in soccer.  The children welcomed hugs and games just as kids everywhere do.  Neighbors worked together to build a stairway for safety and access on the steep cliff. At the conclusion of their two-week project, they felt they shared important, life-enhancing experiences together.

“Everyone really wanted to go. We were all super excited, ” said 14-year-old Beau.

But, these “neighbors” live nearly 3, 000 miles away, and traveled more than 10 hours to lend a hand to families in Alto Progreso, Peru.

family volunteering program

Jennifer, Sydney and Ryan play with toddlers.

 True Service was Goal for Hill Family Volunteering Program 

Jennifer and Ryan Hill of East Lake Woodlands, FL and their daughter Sydney and son Beau had one singular request for their family volunteer vacation:  “We want to help where we’re needed most.” 

They decided Alto Progreso, Peru was the place where each family member could offer the greatest contribution.  Planted on a desolate and dusty mountainside, this community is cut off from running water, public transportation and the public education system.  Helping improve life here, the Hills reasoned, would be highly meaningful.

Early in the service program, they met Haydee Mendoza, community leader and mother.  “Haydee beamed at the roads being built, walls, stairs and the like.  She shared stories of success and failures over her time as president of the community association, ” Jennifer said.  The differences between Haydee’s neighborhood of Alto Progreso and the Hill’s in Florida was staggering.  But the family appreciated the warm welcome of the local people, and the pride they felt about the modest upgrades the community recently made.

“Haydee took us to the hidden gem – the childcare facility run by her sister. This building used to be the community center, but was now helping single mothers by giving free childcare so they could work.” Jennifer and Sydney played with the babies in the bright, colorful playroom while husband Ryan “entertained everyone endlessly” while cheerful music played.  ”The children showed every toy to us.”

family volunteering to build stairs

Jennifer, Ryan and Beau help build stairs.

For two weeks, the family worked hand-in-hand with Alto Progreso residents – painting the inside and outside of the new community center, carrying cement bags, building forms, and helping construct a new set of stairs.  It was obvious the work they did was greatly needed and appreciated… even by the volunteers.  Beau, the youngest Hill family member, regarded the stairs project as a work-out to strengthen his lower body.  “Beau was able to feel like he could trust his legs to do more hard labor tasks, ” Jennifer reported.

He also said he was grateful to have time to spend with the local kids to get to know them as he worked.  Most important, they learned they “were able to complete a difficult task and keep doing more.”

Summer family volunteering

Jennifer plays Uno with girls at the PPA.

 They Also Helped Out Together at Lima’s Largest Orphanage

Part of the time, the family volunteered together at the Puericultorio  Perez Aranibar (PPA), a large orphanage inside Lima.  Teaching the teens conversational English and playing games with the younger children, Beau and 17-year-old Sydney felt they developed a genuine understanding of the local people’s lives.  “On the outside their lives and towns look depressing to live in, but once you get to know the people of the community, they’re almost just like yourself, ” said Sydney.  “You learn that not everything in life is a choice.”

Beau added:  “I’d say that helping makes you feel good, and seeing a different way of life really opens up new perspectives.”

family volunteering with children in Peru

Sydney spends quality time on the playground.

Jennifer recalled the last day of volunteering.  “Back to the community center, it was more full than I had ever seen it.  Many children were finishing their lunch.  Syd’s usual crowd of young girls showered her with love as we colored.  We played active games – roja luz y verde luz, agua y cemento and pato, pato, ganzo.   Ryan did all of the painting he could to finish the exterior. ”

“When it was time to leave, Ximena cried, telling Sydney good-bye, clinging to her and sobbing.  Syd walked her part-way home to help her cheer up.”

What did they hope to gain as a family volunteering in Peru?  Jennifer stated simply:  “In addition to helping a community, Ryan and I wanted to teach the family about the importance of being humble and having a giving spirit – to appreciate and respect how other people live and work.”

Smiling, she concluded Global Volunteers in Peru is an ideal volunteer opportunity for families.  “Go! Your family will be better because of it, ” she said.

“I honestly felt sad to leave, and could not believe we were not coming back again anytime soon.  I’m a jumble of emotions, and will selfishly keep the rest of my thoughts to myself.  In my heart, I hope this is buenos noches and not adios for the Hill Family in Alto Progresso.”  – Jennifer’s entry in the volunteers’ team journal

Learn how to volunteer abroad with your family!

Visit our Volunteer as a Family page to learn more about family volunteering opportunities worldwide, or request our family volunteering tip sheet with the form below.

Send me a family volunteering tip sheet.

 

Request a program catalog here or by calling 800-487-1074.








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Christmas in India

Happy Christmas to all! It is 1:17am and a fun and a full Christmas Eve Day has quickly turned into early Christmas morning…

Our day began with a first visit for team members Riley and Barbara, and a return visit for Susan, Brookie, and Katie to Assisi Illam where we’ve been working all week.  The teen and preteen boys and girls we encountered at Assisi were on school holiday, and pretty wound up as they anticipated the day’s Christmas activities.  All the same, we kept each other entertained with some reading, games and singing. The highlight, however, was the over-the-top dancing talent discovered amongst the ranks.  We witnessed an amazing variety and quantity of dancing by everyone – but best dancer award definitely went to Augustine for overall performance, and volunteer Riley for her Irish jig.

After lunch, the Global Volunteers ladies went to work doing a little shopping (with a big assist from Sheeba, who had her own beautiful sari) for Christmas Eve outfits for church services.  And it’s a good thing we did as the children from Assisi and the hundreds of other people who attended the 10pm Catholic mass looked stunning – women in their saris, and the men ‘spit polished’ as well.  What a magnificent Church and Christmas mass!

Global Volunteers team with the children and staff of Assisi Illam on Christmas Eve.

Afterwards we returned to the orphanage for gift exchange with the children.  Santa, who under that white beard and Santa suit looked very similar to Augustine, passed out gifts.  Santa also remembered the Global Volunteers ladies, who apparently had been mostly nice all year, because each received a lovely scarf. Santa didn’t forget anyone!

So why did we four Global Volunteers ladies choose to “sacrifice” time with our families at the Christmas holidays to spend time with perfect strangers halfway around the world in India?  Turns out Christmas in Chennai wasn’t sacrifice at all, and please don’t wince when we tell you it was based simply on best scheduling options for all four of us – along with our families’ blessing to go.

the children of Assisi Illam

“Santa” Augustine prepares to distribute gifts.

Although the foundation of Christmas is its Christian beliefs, in the U.S. it has become so secular and commercial that most all of us celebrate the season in some fashion.  In India, it is largely the small Christian population who celebrate Christmas.  But in both countries, the focus of Christmas is all about family.  We may have left our own family at home, but we certainly have found family here in Chennai – to  share Christmas together.  We feel the same love that these children without families experience every day.  – Barbara

Spend Christmas in Chennai, India with the children of Assisi Illam in 2017.  Teach, nurture and motivate children who have no families outside of their orphanage – and learn how significant you can be!  Call a volunteer coordinator to join an India Service Program:  800-487-1074.

teaching in India

Global Volunteer, Michelle, reports on creative ways to engage students in learning English when teaching in India.

After dropping Steve and Barbee at Assisi Illam, Jennifer and I headed back to Christ the King School for a second day with the 4th and 5th graders. We built on the animal teams and team slogans created on Monday by leading the kids into a competitive game of Pictionary. And what a competition it was!! The 5th graders were really into it, so much so that at times it felt like the room was ready to go off the rails! After a spirited game, a small team of smart “Cow” girls mopped the floor with everyone else, winning an impressive victory.

The 4th graders, once they warmed up and caught on, definitely finished with the same enthusiasm as the 5th graders. Michelle and Jen found a new phenomena even more intriguing though. They began to get “I don’t understand” head bobbles nonstop. The kids kept saying they didn’t know what words meant, not because they didn’t know the word but because they thought it was too hard to draw. Luckily, we caught on before they ran out of pictionary cards.

teaching in India

Steve teaching English in India to captivated (and captivating) students.

Over at Assisi Illam, Jen and Steve used a game to model phone conversations  – and gave them a good laugh.  Steve talked about how he told the kids they were going to practice talking on the phone by holding a banana up to their ear, which is what kids in the United States would do to simulate a real phone. After listening very intently to his instructions, Steve told the kids to pick up the phone and talk into it. “But it’s a banana”, one kid said, as if Steve didn’t know the difference!

Message for the Day: The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.– Saint Theresa of Calcutta

More Volunteer Voices on Teaching in India:

 

teaching English in Mexico

Two University English Instructors in Querétaro, Mexico made a point to express their gratitude to our recent volunteer team.  In case you think you can’t make a difference by teaching English in Mexico as a volunteer, please read on, and then talk to a volunteer coordinator:

teaching English in Mexico

Hector Gomez, English Teacher, Universidad Tecnológica de Querétaro

“Our countries and people must be closer.”

I would really like to express my happiness and gratitude for the opportunity to be part of the wonderful experience our students in Universidad Tecnologica de Querétaro (UTEQ) have with the Global Volunteers. For us; teachers and students is a time of sharing, learning and making new friends with you. Every time we tell our students about your visit they become excited and they really want to do their best in communicating their thoughts – even though it is a language they are still learning and some of them really struggle.

Global Volunteers Team Leader Pam and her team always show respect and a positive attitude towards the students and this really helps making the communication easier. We have nothing to say except thank you for the excellent job you are doing for our students and teachers as well.

In this modern world our countries and people must be closer because we have so many things in common that we just ignore and this gives us the chance to feel closer to each other and also the students are able to learn what people outside Mexico think about us.

– Hector Gomez, English Teacher,  Universidad Tecnológica de Querétaro

 

teaching English in Mexico

Hugo R. Masse, Ma Ed., Universidad Tecnológica de Querétaro

“We bring together the peoples of both nations.”

I’ve found this program does a lot to bring together the peoples of both nations. As this is a public university, run on federal funds, many of our students come from rural areas, and haven’t had much contact, if any, with the English language, not to mention an actual native speaker.

When they are finally face-to-face with a member of the Global Volunteer visiting us, all their worries vanish. I realized how their faces changed from cautious to captivated. The volunteers’ teaching aids (maps, small whiteboards and markers, magazines, news cutouts, etc.) helped them cross the bridge, forget about their worries and experience this communication gap as a game and an opportunity to discover a fascinating person that could tell them about places and events they would have never imagined.

On more than one occasion, when the allotted hour was up, the students were unhappy that the class was over. I heard comments like “She is so nice”, “I really liked her”, “I wish we could have more time to talk.” Other groups asked when they were going to be visited. Apparently, word travels fast among students, and everybody was excited about practicing English with American volunteers. If it was up to me, I would have this sort of visit happen as frequently as possible, for the benefits are immense.

– Hugo R. Masse, Ma Ed.,  Universidad Tecnológica de Querétaro

 

Learn more about Global Volunteers’ Mexico Service Program here or chat online with a volunteer coordinator about teaching English in Mexico as a volunteer.

Teach conversational English in Peru

Although Cora served on 10 previous volunteer programs with Global Volunteers, she proclaims her assignment teaching conversational English in Peru was her most rewarding volunteer experience to date! Never having taught conversational English classes before, she was moved to answer the urgent call of La Molina University, one of our community partners in Lima. She now urges other volunteers to teach conversational English in Peru and experience the reward of helping university students prepare for their futures.  Her conversation with Daniel Salazar:

The Project

I facilitated English conversation with a group of students age 17-29, many of whom are working on their masters. To start, I created an assessment questionnaire called “getting to know you, ” to assess their interests and capabilities. I used that as a basis to teach, and then we studied pronunciation, idioms, and heteronyms. We sang songs, played games; anything to generate interest, anything didactic.

The Impact

In order to develop and progress in their careers, the La Molina students must acquire not only reading comprehension skills, but be capable of communicating easily with English-speaking people. Practicing English conversation opens up many more opportunities for them.

The Reward

Personally, teaching conversational English was totally out of my comfort zone. In all my Global Volunteers trips, I had never done it. And these were non-English speakers! I had definitely some apprehension about my role and their response. Our team leader, Maru, told me the best way to help them was to focus on conversation.

“Over the past two weeks I have grown to adore my students, who are very bright. They are polite and interested about English, me, and America. We have become a very close group, which I had not anticipated, and which has been totally rewarding.”

Teach conversational English in Peru

Cora teaching one of her conversational English classes at La Molina University

Even though I required them to mainly speak with each other, they gained a great deal of confidence in word choice and pronunciation. I also taught them idioms – hard to explain, but Americans use a lot of idioms, they’re important.

The Experience

“I think that this is probably one of the most rewarding programs I have done in all my ten trips with Global Volunteers.”

I think this experience was so rewarding because the Hotel Torreblanca treated us like family. Our team leaders were always making sure we had what we needed. The food is abundant. While the traffic was horrible, our driver was safe and aware; I rarely felt threatened. It is a safe environment were we stay and where we are with the students. The people at La Molina have always attended to our needs, and the students have become family.

Teach conversational English in Peru

I highly recommend the program and would hope that more people would do it. My recommendation:  Take the challenge.  No experience needed. No excuses. If you speak English, you can teach conversational English in Peru!

Teaching conversational English in Peru

Volunteer receiving a certificate from the Director of the Language Center at the University.

Teach conversational English in Peru

Volunteers and La Molina University’s staff having a farewell dinner after conversational English classes are over in Peru.

Teach conversational English

Don has served in 10 different countries with Global Volunteers, and has always chosen to teach conversational English. While doing so at a university in Peru, he talks about his experience and tells us why you should teach conversational English.

Why teach conversational English

I choose to teach conversational English because I feel that I can be more productive and supportive by teaching English or other subjects. I like to support in construction (labor projects), but I feel more comfortable doing this.

“Although the task is teaching conversational English, the skill of the volunteers are always useful to help the local communities. So the medium is conversational English, but you use other skills also.”

Teach conversational English

Volunteer teach conversational English to men, women, and children.

The importance of teaching conversational English

It is important to enable students in countries with a language different than English to be able to compete in a world that uses English as the neutral language. It gives students more confidence in dealing with people from other countries that speak a foreign language.

The Effect

The people with whom we are in contact are left with have improved their English conversational skills, even if only a little. Also, they get a better feeling and understanding about Americans.

The Experience

Right now I am teaching in Peru and my experience has been very positive. I like the people, the food, and the environment that I have encountered. I particularly enjoyed helping Hans with preliminary design review of his thesis topic, while helping him to translate his abstract into English. This way I was able to apply my own engineering skills as well as my English skills.

I have enjoyed immersion in all of the countries in which I have been involved. When I get back home, I like to educate my American fiends on the cultures and people from other countries. So my job does not stop at the end of a Global Volunteers assignment.

Teach conversational English

Don teaching English in China.

Just like Don, you can teach conversational English in various countries around the world. All you need is to be able to speak English and a desire to help others.

girls' education is critical

First Lady Michelle Obama’s mission is to help educate girls around the world, and is the expressed theme of CNN’s new original film:  “We Will Rise.”

This documentary is a follow up to CNN Films’ 2013 “Girl Rising” which presented girls’ stories from around the world and explained how the power of education can change the world.  Education ends generational cycles of poverty and disease and provides a foundation for sustainable development. A quality basic education equips girls with the knowledge and skills to adopt healthy lifestyles, protect themselves from HIV and take an active role in social, economic and political decision-making as they transition to adolescence and adulthood. Educated women are more likely to have smaller and healthier families, to be informed about appropriate child-rearing practices and to ensure that their children start school on time and ready to learn.

We Will Rise – The Goal of Girls in our Partner Communities

Global Volunteers is deeply committed to improving girls’ education worldwide.  Our volunteers enhance girls’ opportunities to go to school, encourage and sustain their desire to attend, positively influence the classroom experience, and enrich their educational goals.  For example, 60 Masai girls attend secondary school in Pommern, Tanzania as a result of our cooperation with the ELCT, which manages the school. The girls stay in dormitories constructed by volunteers and local people, and they learn from both their local teachers and short-term volunteers – most of whom are American women who offer aspirational role models for these girls. This accomplishment is nearly unprecedented in Tanzania, given the repression of girls and strict roles in this tribal society.

girl's education is subject of We Will Rise

In India, Peru, China, St. Lucia, Greece, Vietnam, Ecuador, the Cook Islands, Poland, Portugal and Romania, our volunteers encourage, support, mentor, guide and lift up girls of all ages to improve and preserve their self-esteem and commitment to learning.  This is where you make THE difference.  Through English conversation, math, reading and science tutoring, health, hygiene and nutrition education, and instructions on disease prevention, you help raise girls’ capabilities, strength and dignity.

Watch “We Will Rise” to learn about the inequities in education worldwide.  Then, join us to make a personal investment in local leader’s commitment to help girls thrive worldwide.