Our international partners accomplish amazing things with volunteers. Read their stories.
Volunteer assistance is critical to enabling our international partners to create change in their communities. Many of them have shared the work they were able to accomplish with the help of international volunteers. Read their stories below.
Volunteering in Morocco print story
August 13, 2012
Moroccan Center for Arabic Studies, Morocco
Volunteering is defined as the action of one person giving their assistance through their actions, to another person or a cause for nothing in return. But what do we mean when we express a desire to volunteer? It was in this context that I first came to Morocco back in 2007. I was ready and eager to give myself over to the local work assigned to me. I knew I was going to enjoy it, for no other reason than it was going to be something foreign, something brand new and an experience in a new setting I was undoubtedly going to learn from.
My work consisted of orphanage duty, a task I gladly accepted. It was an all morning activity, 4 hours before lunch and then I was off until tomorrow. Before the first week of work was over I had already befriended many of the nurses through my broken Arabic and orphans through my eagerness to play / umpire their games in the yard. Before long it became apparent to me that the more I gave myself over to the work, the more I was enjoying it because I was not only providing a service but I was able to learn so much more from it.
It is always a learning experience when you are able to contrast what you know with what you don’t in a first hand way. This is learning through doing; practice, empiricism, not theory or listening to rhetorical judgments. And it comes to you naturally through the act of volunteering yet also requires a willingness and ability to adjust to your new setting.
This is what makes volunteering such a unique and rich experience; through the act of giving oneself over to something, in such a way where one is expected only to give, what can be gained is the kind of knowledge through experience, which is profound. The new situation demands from the volunteer that they involve themselves in the interests of the local parties. In this case it was the nurses and the orphans.
Volunteering also opens countless doors in the local community. Rarely have I come across a member of a community who did not take kindly to one who was there to volunteer themselves. The local setting has so much to offer the volunteer if they approach it with the desire to learn. The act of giving also involves that of receiving, they are not independent nor are they mutually exclusive, but rather mutually reinforcing sides of a coin of the volunteering experience. The more one gives, the more they take out of the experience, the more confidence they have in what they are doing and the fuller is their reward at the end.