“Marvelous Maddy,” (above) is a student volunteer who raised over $6,000 worth of dental supplies for the RCP (Reaching Children’s Potential) Clinic in Ipalamwa, Tanzania.“Seeing the children’s faces light up as they held on tightly to their new dental tools was so heartwarming. At that moment, I was so proud of our fundraising efforts and the people who helped my dream become a reality!” she said.
“I know what I want, I have a goal, an opinion, I have a religion and love. Let me be myself and then I am satisfied. I know that I’m a woman, a woman with inward strength and plenty of courage.”
– Anne Frank
Women strengthen and humanize Global Volunteers in limitless ways. Women are the mothers, grandmothers, and sisters of those children we serve. Women are our volunteers, our donors, and often our strongest advocates. Maddy is the most recent distinguished woman who’s extended herself in pure compassion to help make children’s and families’ lives better. Over 35 years, women have volunteered internationally and at home in large majorities on Global Volunteers programs. What motivates them to contribute their time and talent to others – and return year after year? Here’s some inspiration:
Three-time Global Volunteer Gila Cohen-Shaw says, ” It was clear that the needs (in St. Lucia) were great. As a pathologist with years of experience in early childhood development, my initial expectation was I would be of service focusing on language development. I was willing to do anything within my skill set, and to learn to do things outside of my skill set! My attitude was, and is, ‘I will do what I am needed to do.’ In Tanzania, getting out of my own comfort zone was most rewarding for me personally, and I received far more than I gave in that respect. The beautiful people, culture, and genuine enthusiasm of the villagers for a better life for their children called me back immediately. I signed up for my third service trip when I returned home.” Read more from Gila here.
To Build Bridges of Friendship Between Cultures
Roberta Kayne, a two-time Global Volunteer, tells how she was “moved to tears” by two young women she taught in Cuba who were determined to learn English. They worked together on their language skills, and when it was time for Roberta to return home, she found the ladies had found a permanent place in her heart. Listen to her moving exchange:
“The younger you start to volunteer, the better,’ says Cassidy Richardson. “In my opinion, service should be a priority for everyone – as it teaches you so much, not only about others, but yourself as well.” Throughout her childhood, Cassidy was encouraged to learn about different cultures and languages. The more she studied, the more she felt drawn to help others while putting her growing understanding to work. When Cassidy turned 18, she embarked on a gap year to expand her perspective of the world and find out how she can contribute her developing skills to others. As a Global Volunteer in the Cook Islands, Cassidy tutored primary students at Takitumu school for three weeks. Each day, she helped them strengthen their reading and writing skills, practiced sight words, blended sounds, and read books within their level. Read on about Cassidy’s global journey here.
Lisa Godek and her 13-year-old daughter, Chloe Fargo, are committed to helping others outside of work and school. Their latest service trip was a week on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota with Global Volunteers. Lisa explained, “I’ve recently embarked on a new life chapter, having left industry after a 20-year career and taking on an adjunct faculty role. I gave myself ample time to reflect on my past and future with the goal of determining what I wanted moving forward. I realized that my career to date consisted of only indirect impact on people’s lives.” They lent a hand to the native Lakota people through everyday tasks and creating a children’s fair for the community. Chloe remarked, “At the end of the week, we had the fair, and I was shocked because kids were coming up to me, hugging me, and thanking me for putting on the event. I did not think I did anything remarkable; it seemed very easy to put this fair together. I didn’t recognize that I would have such a big impact on these kids who have so little.” Lisa concluded, “Living in Manhattan can skew perspectives on what’s important. It’s easy to lose sight of others’ hardships. I wanted Chloe to engage with a community in need and learn, and this is why I chose the Global Volunteers South Dakota program for us!” Read more about Lisa and Chloe’s mother and daughter volunteer program.
Retired special education teacher Mary Rowlette said she learned in the rural village of Ipalamwa that we’re all more alike than different. Her personal goal, she said was to help children, observe, support others and make a difference. Slow down, she said, and look at life from a child’s perspective. “Everyone can do this successfully,” Mary said. “It’s a matter of putting yourself in the mind of a young child and seeing their needs through their eyes. Their lives are quite simple at that age, so just going with the flow is the most effective strategy, in my opinion. They just love the attention.” Her main assignment was teaching conversational English, level three, to children aged 8 to 12. She pointed out that the classrooms are over-crowded, and often the lessons are held outside on the soccer field. The teachers and volunteers try to integrate play into the English tutoring; switching between topics of discussion to hold the students’ attention. Singing and games are a favorite activity. It was this light-hearted focus on the “now” that most fulfilled Mary. “As for the children, well, they were amazing. Throughout this volunteer experience, the children and I learned, laughed and sang many, many songs. They even tried to teach me Swahili. That’s something I’ll never forget!” Learn more about Mary’s summer service in Tanzania here.
To Support Moms and all Women Worldwide
“Moms want to do the best they can,” says Diane Marsch, a retired neonatal intensive care unit nurse, who has cared for mothers and babies in both their best and in their most challenging moments. She’s moved by the inequities of wealth and privilege between countries of the world, and through her work with Global Volunteers in the Cook Islands and Tanzania, Diane is assured that regardless of the culture, “women are willing to learn and to try something different.”
Women as Global Volunteers
Global Volunteers’ community development work in host countries worldwide strengthens women’s and children’s capacity and supports their sustained health and development. Under the direction of local leaders, our volunteers help ensure academic accessibility, foster parental involvement, offer psycho-social support, provide nutrition and health education, fund girls’ scholarships, construct schools with girls’ bathrooms, tutor literacy and numeracy, and so much more. Contact us using the form below to learn how you can contribute to this critical agenda.
To learn more about the vital role of women in the world, read Women and the Sustainable Development Goals.