The joy of Volunteering
It's time for my next blog post and this time about something I really enjoy, i.e. volunteering. Have you ever done a job for free, because you had a strong interest in something, wanted to help somebody or just because it made you feel good?
Volunteering and doing good is a bit of a reward in itself, I would say. Of course not every day. There are times when I feel like canceling an English class because it's just one of those days when I'm not really with it, but I always come home with a smile on my lips. And I always volunteer for organisations that I find interesting and want to learn more about. It means that I gain experience and knowledge about areas that I would like to work with in the future and build up a professional network.
When I lived in Sweden I did all kinds of volunteer work. I helped arrange a music festival two years in a row to raise money for humanitarian projects in West Africa, such as building a school in Guinea, and I practiced Swedish with immigrants and refugees at a Red Cross language café. I also assisted on an integration project to arrange festive evenings for people with different backgrounds who usually would not meet and helped out at a performing arts festival for children and youngsters.
Nowadays, I volunteer as an English teacher for the association "Mujer Emancipada" in Málaga, where I once a week teach a group of women. The majority of the women are from South America and Spain, so every time I learn some new Spanish words and something about their cultural backgrounds and the life in their home countries. It's really rewarding and it's only 1 hour (2 hours with the preparation) of my time every week. I used to teach English to youngsters in Málaga too, 2 hours a week through the organisation "Acoge". All the kids came from troubled families, so the motivation was not always on top, but my goal was to make all of them smile and laugh at least once every time :) We usually played games and I think they picked up some new expressions every time.
I'm currently making plans for my next volunteer project, which is going to be at the reception centre for refugees in Málaga. I would especially love to work with women or girls in some way and many ideas have popped into my mind the last weeks. It should be something simple with as low costs as possible. I'm thinking about an afternoon with baking cakes (since I love to bake) and hanging out, or doing some kind of exercise together such as a zumba class (I love zumba too), making an excursion in Málaga or arranging an evening with fun activities and simple food (the last one could be open to immigrants as well as locals, if I could manage to find funding and keep the costs down). It's all very exciting! :)
I'll end this post with some pictures from my current volunteer work in Spain. Have a nice Thursday everyone!