Anja working for the Poor
Spanish Course + Volunteer Work + Internship 2010
After comparing the offers of several volunteer organizations abroad, I chose Chile Inside for two reasons: On the one hand, they offered the best value for money, and on the other hand, I was able to attend a language course in the morning and do part time volunteer work in the afternoon. So I was able to apply what I learned in the morning learned in the morning right away.
With the help of Chile Inside I did both volunteer work and an internship.
First, from August to October 2010, I worked at a school for handicapped children. My tasks included not only the development of teaching material, but also support with teaching activities and to care for autistic children. This work requires special empathy, because the children have both language and coordination problems and often have great difficulty approaching strangers. But once you win their hearts, they give you so much confidence and affection that the work is a great benefit for all.
After those two months in Santiago, I made my way to Talca, about 3 hours south of Santiago. The city was severely damaged by the earthquake in February 2010 and was regularly hit by so-called "temblores", this is how Chileans call “smaller” earthquakes without damage. In Talca I worked at the International Institute of Statistics. Because of this work, I came in touch with destitute people and their lives and was thus able to gain deep insights into the local political structures. We regularly took a four-wheel drive to the farms near Talca. Most people we attended lived very remote, some even without hot water, electricity and telephone. In addition, many people lost their homes to the earthquake and now live in makeshift shelters because most of do not know how to apply for help from the local government. Seeing all this, I learned to appreciate my life in Europe. I got an idea of how people live without all those things that we take for granted. It shocked and impressed me at the same time.
Both programs presented me with great personal challenges, which I mastered with the help of Chile Inside. If I had questions or problems, they tried to help and find a solution immediately. I really can recommend Chile Inside and I hope they will go on like this.
(Anjas' report was translated from German, look here for the original post.)