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volunteering in 3rd world countries

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volunteering in 3rd world countries

Postby pakjohn » Wed, 03 Jun 2009 9:30 am

Many of us have been around less fortunate regions of the world and come away wondering how to help. My last trip was particularly stirring because the people I met just need some resources; they have the skills and are really kind and generous people.

I'd like some suggestions on the best way to contribute. I met with the Director of a charitable foundation in Siem Reap, a survivor of Kmer Rouge, her advice is to send money. She pointed out labor is nearly free and the people need the work (She offers volunteering vacations for people but I get the impression she looks on these people as a bit posh and self serving.)
It seems the best thing to do is to send money and let them hire local folks to do the teaching, building, and caregiving. Double reward.

My best thought so far is to find some really focused small groups in that area and be a fund raiser.
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 03 Jun 2009 11:40 am

Pakjohn, it's a noble thing to do but unfortunately, one has to be extremely careful as often donations of money OR goods just ends up in the pockets of the warlords, administrators, or on the black market. Witness what happened with the aid sent to Myanmar after the cyclone hit it. I'm not a cynic but I'm more inclined to contribute my knowledge and physical help (oversight) as then I know that it's going to those who need it most.

Guess that's why I spent 3.5 years in the refugee camps with UNHCR during 88-91.

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Postby pakjohn » Wed, 03 Jun 2009 11:51 am

Pakjohn, it's a noble thing to do but unfortunately, one has to be extremely careful as often donations of money OR goods just ends up in the pockets of the warlords, administrators, or on the black market.


That's really the problem, I agree with you. I hope to benefit from the experience of people that have done it. I guess I'm just hoping to find those few pockets of effective but underfunded groups that might exist. Didn't take long to get through the big charities, they seem to be top heavy.
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Postby sillingw » Wed, 03 Jun 2009 12:14 pm

That's exactly my problem. I don not want to be paying exhorbitant salaries to the heads of the charity - read NKF. Nor do I want to be donating money to Warlords, criminal gangs and the like. I would also love to contribute if it's the right thing, to the right people. We have been looking for some time for a charity that I can trust and that is worthwhile.

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Re: volunteering in 3rd world countries

Postby hei guess what » Wed, 03 Jun 2009 1:34 pm

pakjohn wrote:It seems the best thing to do is to send money and let them hire local folks to do the teaching, building, and caregiving.

That may be true but it's still possible to give of your time and expertise, especially in areas where local knowledge is lacking.

For instance, in the medical field:

During my trip to Cambodia, I met a US pediatrician (accompanied by his wife) who spends perhaps 1-2 months each year to help train local doctors at the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap instead of jetting off to some more luxurious travel spots for their annual vacation. While he's conducting the training, his wife would be out and about raising funds.

Perhaps the following would be a worthy cause:

Please see the sticky 'IMPORTANT ALL POSTERS PLEASE NOTE' Moderator.

The Kantha Bopha Academy for Pediatrics
http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/nonpro ... atr-1.html
http://www.beat-richner.ch/
.
Last edited by hei guess what on Thu, 04 Jun 2009 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby QRM » Wed, 03 Jun 2009 1:49 pm

sillingw wrote:That's exactly my problem. I don not want to be paying exhorbitant salaries to the heads of the charity - read NKF. Nor do I want to be donating money to Warlords, criminal gangs and the like. I would also love to contribute if it's the right thing, to the right people. We have been looking for some time for a charity that I can trust and that is worthwhile.


How about looking closer to home, help pay for your maid/helpers children to get a decent education and a university degree?

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Postby sierra2469alpha » Wed, 03 Jun 2009 3:50 pm

Hi guys - having done some fairly extensive volunteer work overseas, may I suggest you pick up a copy of Lonely Planet's "Volunteer", which is a guide to "voluntourism", where you can enjoy a break and at the same time use your own life experience to assist in different projects.

I also recommend i-to-i.com - this is a co-contribution scheme where you can embark on any of their projects world-wide but you pay for your airfrare and some basic accommodation.

If you have specialist logistics or medical skills, Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) is a fantastic organisation - I spent a wonderful 3 months in Mexico on a project with them.

Alternatively, I always have the need with our charitable foundation that we're setting up in Vietnam - we will be providing ex government PC's to a series of deaf and dumb schools in that country to assist in education to break the cycle of dependency.

Anyway, just a few ideas for y'all. Mr. P

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Postby pakjohn » Wed, 03 Jun 2009 4:07 pm

How about looking closer to home, help pay for your maid/helpers children to get a decent education and a university degree?


Yes, I agree it's a good place to start and easy. Our's is getting her nursing certificate and will be headed to greener pastures in Toronto.


Alternatively, I always have the need with our charitable foundation that we're setting up in Vietnam - we will be providing ex government PC's to a series of deaf and dumb schools in that country to assist in education to break the cycle of dependency.


I like this idea!
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Postby morenangpinay » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 10:55 pm

hi i was working for a government agency before in the Philippines..we documented some government and ngo programs.

what i learned was that it is better to give them the opportunity to earn their own money.

if you have the knowledge, you can coordinate with government agencies or NGO who can help you organize a group of people in the community. You can teach them skills or a new trade which can help them sustain their livelihood.

some communities in the Phillippines were able to organize a cooperative. They sewed rags into placemats, floormats, etc..and they are helped by the government to link with some buyers. so now they are earning.

And from what i learned, they are more protective of their livelihood or cooperative, because they worked hard for it. There is a sense of ownership. so they will never let it go to waste.

There's also a story on the readers digest a couple of months back...the guy formed a small loaning facility in africa. He lent the entrepreneurs there small amounts with small interests. Theres a good result...i just dont remember which issue.

something like that. :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 11:14 pm

morenangpinay wrote:
There's also a story on the readers digest a couple of months back...the guy formed a small loaning facility in africa. He lent the entrepreneurs there small amounts with small interests. Theres a good result...i just dont remember which issue.

something like that. :)


They've imported the idea here as well, via a funding type of situation. It was in the local birdcage liner last week I believe at some point.

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Postby morenangpinay » Thu, 04 Jun 2009 11:25 pm

thats great then :)

you might also want to check out..HOME..its an NGO in Singapore which helps foreign workers here.

Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME)

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Postby pakjohn » Fri, 05 Jun 2009 12:14 am

what i learned was that it is better to give them the opportunity to earn their own money.


Exactly! That's what I was leaning toward, teach a man to fish kind of thing.

The people I met already have the skills; weavers, boat builders, house builders. They just don't have anything to work with and no one to sell it too.
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Postby morenangpinay » Fri, 05 Jun 2009 12:38 am

great

you can work with an organization or a community leader....for a community project...build a center for weaving..or something depends on what they need....youd find it out with their community leaders..then help them export it...

You can also find inspiration from this too-gawadkalinga.org
i'm sorry my insights are mostly Philippine environment.. lol hope it helps

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Postby morenangpinay » Fri, 05 Jun 2009 12:55 am

Something worth sharing...
An Interview of Dylan Wilks by Bo Sanchez

Dylan Wilk was born to a poor family. But at
the young age of 20, he
started a computer games company that made him
a millionaire. Soon,
Dylan operated in nine countries and ran his
own TV channel. Then at the age
of 25, Dylan sold his company for multi-million
British pounds. He became
the ninth richest person in the Great Britain
under the age of 30.

But one night, while lying in bed, he was
distressed by a nagging
question that wouldn't let him sleep.

"God, why am I rich?"

He asked if there was a reason for his immense
wealth. Ironically, he
also felt terribly empty inside. This, despite
his ability to have any kind
of pleasure he wanted. He had just bought
himself a brand-new Ferrari and
took one holiday after another. But he was
discovering that pleasure
was like fire... it constantly needed more fuel
to keep it going. And he
realized he would never be happy in the path he
was taking.

One day, a Filipina friend visited him. She
said she felt guilty going
there because her plane fare could have built
two homes for the poor.
That made Dylan pause. How can you build two
houses for that measly
amount? He decided to investigate.

In January 2003, he visited the Philippines.
And for three hours, Gawad
Kalinga (GK) Director Tony Meloto brought Dylan
to different GK
villages for the poor. With his own eyes, he
saw something that would change his
life forever...

Bo: What did you see on that day?

Dylan: I saw hope. More than newly built
houses, I saw transformed
lives. We were entering rather dangerous slums,
breeding ground for thieves
and kidnappers... yet in the middle of that was
an oasis... the Gawad
Kalinga village. I saw people smiling, men
working, children laughing... I've
seen many other projects in South East Asia and
across the world. And I've
never seen anything like GK. This was
different. This really worked!

Bo: So what did you do after your trip?

Dylan: I went back to England. I saw my BMW
parked in the garage and
realized I could build 80 homes with it... and
affect the lives of 600
people. I saw the faces of the children I could
help. I called up Tony
Meloto and told him I was thinking of donating
$100,000 to Gawad
Kalinga and asked him if that was okay...

Bo: What did Tony say?

Dylan: He said, "No, I don't want your money."

Bo: Only Tony can say something like that.
(Laughs.)

Dylan: He said if I was really serious in
working for the poor, I
should go back to the Philippines. So two
months later, I sold my BMW and flew
back to Manila. And in June of that year, I
made a decision to stay in
the Philippines and work for GK for seven more
years.

Bo: Wow.

Dylan: I've decided to invest in the poor of
the Philippines. Not in
stocks or bonds. If I can help in uplifting the
poor of this country, I
can say that I spent my life well.


Bo: I presume your family wasn't too crazy about that
decision.

Dylan: No! They thought I was brainwashed by a
religious cult!
(Laughs.) So my mother came and spied on me. But she
was soon convinced of the
beautiful work we were doing and went back home and
told my sister
about it. And my sister said, "Oh no, they brainwashed
you too!" (Laughs.)
But today, all of them support what I do.

Bo: You've made a decision to give up your wealth for
the Filipino
poor.

Dylan: I don't see it as a sacrifice. When you give
charity out of
pity, you feel pain parting with your money. But when
you give charity
because you love, you don't feel that pain. You only
feel the joy of giving to
someone you love. That's what I feel.

Bo: I hear you built an entire village for GK in
Bulacan.

Dylan: I don't see it as my village. I just provided
the materials.
Architects, engineers, volunteers gave their labor.
Together, we built
63 houses for the poor.

Bo: Amazing. What else do you do?

Dylan: I go around the world telling everyone that
Filipinos are
heroic. Because I work with them every day... the
volunteers of GK.

Bo: What do you see in the Filipino that we take for
granted?

Dylan: You're hardworking. You're always laughing,
always eating,
always singing. Even in your problems. You're loyal.
And honest. Sure, there
are exceptions, but generally, that's been my
experience. And you have the
bayanihan spirit. The pyramids of Egypt are beautiful
but they were
built by slavery. GK villages are more beautiful
because they're made through
the bayanihan spirit of the Filipino. It's especially
this bayanihan
and love of family and community that makes the
Filipino more valuable than
gold. If you take a golden nugget and kick it on the
floor for 400
years, afterwards you won't be able to see much gold,
just mud.
This was what happened to the Filipino... for 400
years you were slaves
and then you suffered under dictatorship and
corruption. This is where
the crab mentality came from; I don't think it's a
natural Filipino quality
because every day I see the gold under the surface of
ordinary
Filipinos. If we wipe away the mud by bringing hope
and being brothers to one
another in bayanihan, the gold will shine through and
the world will see it.

Bo: Let me get personal here. I hear that you don't
only love the
Filipinos, but you've fallen for a particular
Filipina.

Dylan: (Smiles.) Two months ago, I married Anna
Meloto, the eldest
daughter of Tony Meloto. She grew up with the GK work,
so we're totally
one in our mission. And yes, I'll be having Filipino
children. The best
way I can secure a future for my kids is to continue
to help raise this
country from poverty. Instead of building high walls
in an exclusive
subdivision to protect us from thieves and kidnappers,
I will go to the
breeding ground of thieves and kidnappers and help
transform their
lives.

Bo: Thank you for this interview. You don't know how
much you inspired
me.

Dylan: Thank you for being our partner in GK. I read
KERYGMA every
month and I'm happy to see GK stories in every issue.

Bo: It's our immense privilege to tell the world about
it and ask
others to join the miracle.

Dylan: To me, GK isn't just Gawad Kalinga. It is a
part of "God's
Kingdom" in this world. Thank you.


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