Learning World takes a look at the educational benefits for those who engage in volunteer work. There is no doubt that volunteers pass on vital skills to those they work with, but how do the volunteers themselves benefit from the experience?
In Argentina students at the prestigious Colegio Del Salvador in Buenos Aries are involved in a building project in a remote village in Patagonia, a practical mission that also acts as a life changing experience as one of the volunteers, Tomas, explained: “We are here to help people build houses and they help us, they tell us their stories and open up their hearts to us, we also build a relationship. After this I am a different person.”
In the Portuguese city of Porto university students are working with disadvantaged children offering them educational and recreational activities. The scheme provides the kids with some respite from their daily difficulties.
Soraia Jolas, another volunteer, revealed it is a two way process: “I have learned a little bit from each child. I realise now that you can learn from anybody, these children teach us a lot.”
The tale of 18-year old Alessandro Woodridge is an inspiration. He had a dream of travelling to India to “do something that had a positive impact on people and do something new, because I haven’t done this before. It is my first time here, I have never been to India before. I saved all my money to come here since I was 13”.
As well as helping children with their education, his own life has been enriched he said: “They helped enforce my compassion and care. They changed me as much as I changed them, as cheesy as that sounds, it’s really true. They really did, they helped me a lot and they changed my view on things.”