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Lifeforent
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Anyone want to do volunteering in Africa?

Postby Lifeforent » Thu, 03 Mar 2011 2:03 pm

Hi,

I am always dreaming of volunteering a few months in Africa, probably in Orphanage in Kenya, is there anyone who has the same passion?

I'd like to go in the 2nd half of this year, for 2-4 months, the plan is yet to be finalised. Would be nice to have a company to go together,

Pls email me: sonia_zou@hotmail.com,

Thanks!

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aster
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Re: Anyone want to do volunteering in Africa?

Postby aster » Thu, 03 Mar 2011 5:23 pm

Lifeforent wrote:is there anyone who has the same passion?


Nope. :)

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Thu, 03 Mar 2011 8:17 pm

Why do you think you can contribute anything that a local can't?

Might it not be better to just send an African orphanage $100, and you go off to Bintan for the weekend?

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Postby Lifeforent » Fri, 04 Mar 2011 4:03 pm

Hi, JR8, I bet you've already been to Bintan, may be more than once. Just wanna check have u sent the $100 cheque out yet?

Still, thanks guys. I didn't give much hope on this but just in case.
Life surprises us. so does people :)

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Postby JR8 » Fri, 04 Mar 2011 5:48 pm

Lifeforent wrote:Hi, JR8, I bet you've already been to Bintan, may be more than once. Just wanna check have u sent the $100 cheque out yet?

Still, thanks guys. I didn't give much hope on this but just in case.
Life surprises us. so does people :)



Er, actually I haven't. Though I have been to Africa about 15 times and done academic voluntary work in other third world countries so I have witnessed first hand how the young 'do-gooders', being under no serious contractual obligation appear to treat it as a holiday with a few errands thrown in, and simply get under people's feet. In any serious operation this is nothing short of a burden and hindrance.

And so, we now see a growth industry in 'not-for-profit' organisations that offer opportunities for the young to come and volunteer and throw a few thousand $'s at some fictional issue. The provider grows fat (the 'not-for-profit' derives from them paying themselves every cent the company makes, and so therefore there is no profit), and the customer gets their ego stroked and leaves with that warm glow of having spent daddies money on something useful.

I tend to do most of my charitable giving via sponsorship of friends who are up to various challenges or endeavours. But my last larger donation ($1,000) was for a village well to be built outside Siem Reap in Cambodia.
http://www.sustainablecambodia.org/default.asp
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Postby Lifeforent » Mon, 07 Mar 2011 3:23 pm

Hi, JR8

Thanks very much for your reply. I totally understand your concern. I wish I could get daddy's money and throw such an expansive trip there to have some exotic fund and boost my ego. Unfortunately I have to finance myself. I've been working for almost 4 years and now finally save a little bit to do what I really wanna do, with the risk of losing my job. But I am not that young anymore. I feel that, if I don't do that now, I will never be able to do it.

I also got a couple of friends went there, via one of those NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORG you referred. There are actually tons of commercia NGOs that make money via offering ppl volunteering oppotunitties, which is a shame. That' why I am directly contacting some of the local NGOs myself, there's no extra money to be charged but your own living costs.

I am not sure how much I could contribute to the locals. But I would try my best. Besides the reason that I want to do something good, it does have my selfish intention inside also, I love travelling very much. I want to take this chance, to explore Africa, the facinating culture, landscape, people, etc, not through the normal tourist way but to live and feel with Locals.

I actually got contaced by a young girl and boy who want to join me. They thought it' easy and cool but had no idea what it is really about.
I have to say you have every reason to worry.

Thanks again, hope I can find someone. If you could give me more tips, that would be really wonderful:).

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 07 Mar 2011 6:40 pm

I think I've kinda said my piece, and if you have taken that on board then there is little to add.

Good luck.

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Postby Lifeforent » Mon, 07 Mar 2011 11:59 pm

Appreciate that:)

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Postby Eau2011 » Wed, 09 Mar 2011 1:21 pm

JR8 wrote:
Lifeforent wrote:Hi, JR8, I bet you've already been to Bintan, may be more than once. Just wanna check have u sent the $100 cheque out yet?

Still, thanks guys. I didn't give much hope on this but just in case.
Life surprises us. so does people :)



Er, actually I haven't. Though I have been to Africa about 15 times and done academic voluntary work in other third world countries so I have witnessed first hand how the young 'do-gooders', being under no serious contractual obligation appear to treat it as a holiday with a few errands thrown in, and simply get under people's feet. In any serious operation this is nothing short of a burden and hindrance.

And so, we now see a growth industry in 'not-for-profit' organisations that offer opportunities for the young to come and volunteer and throw a few thousand $'s at some fictional issue. The provider grows fat (the 'not-for-profit' derives from them paying themselves every cent the company makes, and so therefore there is no profit), and the customer gets their ego stroked and leaves with that warm glow of having spent daddies money on something useful.

I tend to do most of my charitable giving via sponsorship of friends who are up to various challenges or endeavours. But my last larger donation ($1,000) was for a village well to be built outside Siem Reap in Cambodia.
http://www.sustainablecambodia.org/default.asp


I also did a few times, donations for animal welfare, natural disasters in some countries, also vonlunteering by selling Xmas cards for UNICEF at Christmas market.

For donation, the only thing I'm a bit concerned about is if it's assured the donation is not used for something else, but only for that purpose, in some countries the corruption is high, in some organizations the administrative costs are huge.

Can you tell me how you differ the serious ones from those not serious ones? It's flood of information shown in internet. :???:

BTW, I found that village gift programme in sustainable Cambodia very creative. :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 09 Mar 2011 2:25 pm

You want to do some good work? Contact the UNHCR and see if they can use your help somewhere in the world.

I worked alongside UNHCR for for 3.5 years from 1988~1991 throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the 'peens resettling VN'mese refugees ("boat people"). In fact, during that time I also wrote a rather large manual for usage by all caseworkers from the various countries and UNHCR as well to assist them in determining the truth of what they were being told by the refugees and how to inspect their documentation and stories with what really happened and where and what was fraudulent and forged. For me it was a sort of penance for my tour of duty from '66-'68. A couple of years ago I posted a link on here for some of the photo's I took of the P. Galang Camp in the Riau Islands as they actually looked. Not what the Indonesians have remodeled the camp to look like today. Huge difference, believe me.

Anyway, spending 6 months to a year or so doing charitable work is good for the soul and I would recommend it to everybody. You want to feel good? Donate you time. That comes from yourself, from deep inside. Money? That came from somebody else. It always stuck in my craw, the local process of just donating money. Their pragmatic viewpoint is with money the charity can buy the help needed, and they don't have to quit making more money in the process. So it's just a placebo for them to feel good and to give them bragging rights.

It's better to donate you time, IF YOU REALLY CARE. It's the only way you can ensure that your efforts go directly to those who need it. Otherwise, 90% of all donations (if not, as noted, all of it) usually go for administrative costs.

I don't regret any of it, and the look of their faces, after I'd walked their case through the US Immigration officer (I shared his office in International Plaza) and got their approval to be resettled in the US was worth more than money could buy.

Maybe I'll put the link back up if anybody's really interested.

sms

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Postby Eau2011 » Wed, 09 Mar 2011 3:31 pm

Thanks SMS, that's really informative.

Yes I'd like to donate my time, too. That's why I volunteered for UNICEF before I came to SG.

Yesterday I haved checked two homes for the elderly (Adventist home and Gift of Love Home by catholic welfare) and will visit them and ask what if I can help.

I read those old people are abandoned by their next-of-kin, (the poorest of the poor), knowing there is no governmental elderly care and health insurance. I'd like to donate money as well as my time.

Check volunteer opportunities on UNHCR, I found this link:
http://onlinevolunteering.org/en/vol/op ... rch/?rgn=5

Maybe I can find one opportunity from those. :)

P.S. Can you please put the link back up? :) I'm really interested
sundaymorningstaple wrote:I don't regret any of it, and the look of their faces, after I'd walked their case through the US Immigration officer (I shared his office in International Plaza) and got their approval to be resettled in the US was worth more than money could buy.

Maybe I'll put the link back up if anybody's really interested.

sms

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 09 Mar 2011 5:32 pm

The Indo's made it look real nice now, trying to impress the visitors, but it's a far cry from what the reality was.

http://www.keynote-engineers.net/PGalang/PGalang.html

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 09 Mar 2011 5:44 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:You want to do some good work? Contact the UNHCR and see if they can use your help somewhere in the world.

I worked alongside UNHCR for for 3.5 years from 1988~1991 throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the 'peens resettling VN'mese refugees ("boat people"). In fact, during that time I also wrote a rather large manual for usage by all caseworkers from the various countries and UNHCR as well to assist them in determining the truth of what they were being told by the refugees and how to inspect their documentation and stories with what really happened and where and what was fraudulent and forged. For me it was a sort of penance for my tour of duty from '66-'68. A couple of years ago I posted a link on here for some of the photo's I took of the P. Galang Camp in the Riau Islands as they actually looked. Not what the Indonesians have remodeled the camp to look like today. Huge difference, believe me.

Anyway, spending 6 months to a year or so doing charitable work is good for the soul and I would recommend it to everybody. You want to feel good? Donate you time. That comes from yourself, from deep inside. Money? That came from somebody else. It always stuck in my craw, the local process of just donating money. Their pragmatic viewpoint is with money the charity can buy the help needed, and they don't have to quit making more money in the process. So it's just a placebo for them to feel good and to give them bragging rights.

It's better to donate you time, IF YOU REALLY CARE. It's the only way you can ensure that your efforts go directly to those who need it. Otherwise, 90% of all donations (if not, as noted, all of it) usually go for administrative costs.

I don't regret any of it, and the look of their faces, after I'd walked their case through the US Immigration officer (I shared his office in International Plaza) and got their approval to be resettled in the US was worth more than money could buy.

Maybe I'll put the link back up if anybody's really interested.

sms



Eau, you asked if that charity is run by friends and have I visited the village. The answer is no and no. I saw the name of the charity on signboards as we drove through the countryside around Siem Reap. In one village there might be two wells and one might read say 'Donated by John and Amy Walker, Sydney Australia' with the Aussie and Cbn flags on, then the next 'Donated by the Cronkite family, New York, USA'... and so on. The benefits of these wells are so tangible and clear to see. And the self-propogating nature of the works is inspired. I'm not in the habit of throwing my money around for some fake feel-good glow, so rest assured I was thoroughly persuaded of the case :)

How do you pick charities worth supporting? Look at the people who are running them. Look at their mission statement. Look at the people who are patrons, and significant supporters. Look at their accounts. With Sustainable Cambodia, their overheads are miniscule, something like 5% or less.

SMS, I too take a rather jaundiced view with regards to much 'charity' (or perhaps to the concept of what is regarded as charity). Maybe another one of my pet peeves :wink: For me true charity is giving of yourself, rather than giving with the expectation of any kind of return (PR, headlines, that 'warm glow', to boast to your friends). Giving time is good when you can afford it and that time is correctly applied. Not everyone always has time available on tap and so I wouldn't dismiss cash donations out of hand as a form of vanity exercise though. In fact volunteers who have time generally create overheads, and it is cash donations that fund that too...

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 09 Mar 2011 5:59 pm

JR, you know, I am still getting occasional correspondence from some of those whom I resettled those 20 years ago. A lot of them were young adults or children/teens and now have families but have kept in touch. Kind of gratifying knowing you can change somebody's life forever for the better, yeah?

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Postby Eau2011 » Wed, 09 Mar 2011 6:04 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:The Indo's made it look real nice now, trying to impress the visitors, but it's a far cry from what the reality was.

http://www.keynote-engineers.net/PGalang/PGalang.html


Amazing! :) I guess those boat people have a good life and big families in US now.

Now this is a tourist site to remember the history. Hey, SMS you have been a part of it. :)
Last edited by Eau2011 on Wed, 09 Mar 2011 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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