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Sebb's picture



How can I help?

So I've been thinking about what I want to do after highschool...I thought about maybe taking a course in art (photography or painting) but I would REALLY like to take time away from school for a while...go somewhere different, experience a different culture and, most of all, I want to help people.


I haven't started looking for a way to do this yet but I was thinking of maybe going to Africa or another place that needs help and doing my part. I don't want to go with a Christian organisation and teach kids to praise the Christian god and all that (I think that doing so is harmful).


Does any body know of an organisation that does this? I was thinking of looking up Green Peace but I haven't gotten around to it yet. So, if somebody knows of a way I can do this I would be verry happy and give a thousand internets!



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YouthWorker's picture



Hmm... there are a number of ways you can do this, but most of them cost a lot of money.


If you're able to work a lot and save a ton of money, you could do some international volunteering for a few months.


One that might interest you is...


As for working and earning a living wage... I don't know how many options there are.  You could teach English internationally.  You don't have to be a teacher, but I don't know what the requirements are.


Your high school guidance office may be able to help you look for something.

Sebb's picture



Thank you Youth Worker : ) I didn't really want to do this for money, volunteering was what I had in mind. I was worried that it would cost alot of money (I don't have much...)

YouthWorker's picture



 Do you have fundraising abilities?


That's an odd question, but here's what I mean.  My friend is a natural born fundraiser -- if it were him going, he'd hold a coffeehouse at his church and get lots of volunteers to help set up and donate food and he'd charge admission, blah, blah, blah.  If it were me, I couldn't do anything like that.


Are there other sources of funding you can access?  Does your school offer awards at the graduation ceremony?  Scholarships and bursaries are usually only for university or college tuition, but an award can usually be applied to whatever.  Are you a part of a group where you can apply for funding or a grant?


If you're really interested in this stuff -- talk to the organisers and see what they say.  They may have tips for fundraising or may know of places you can apply for funding.

jon71's picture



What about the Peace Corps?

kaythecurler's picture



Would something like this be of interest.  I know some people who spent time with this organsiation and learned a lot.

LBmuskoka's picture



Sebb you may find this organization interesting, it includes the cost for the destination as well.


ProjectsAbroad (Canada)


An aside to Jon - we don't have a Peace Corps in Canada but there are some similar organizations one of which is CUSO-VSO which is backed financially by the Federal government - could be another option for you Sebb.




The mother in me advises you to do some serious research on any organization you may think of joining, find others who have attended and ask open and frank questions about health and safety issues.


The adventurer in me says, Oh I wish I could come




Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him.     Albert Schweitzer

YouthWorker's picture



It occurred to me that wherever you go and whatever program you do, make sure that the activities are beneficial for the local people, not for you.  That sounds a bit confusing, lemme explain...


A lot of people go into these things hoping that they'll get a story to tell out of it.  A friend of mine went to Guatemala for a missions trip and, among many very good things, he handed out those Project Shoebox things that people make at Christmas.  As a number of people here at WC will tell you, those shoeboxes are not so great -- they create a dependency on charity, parents sometimes sell the stuff that was given to their children, having to beg for gifts for their children is often a slap in the face for parents, and all sorts of other things.  The thing was that handing out those boxes was a big deal for my friend, it's one of his favourite memories of the trip and one of his favourite stories to tell.


International volunteering and other things like that, if done correctly, are positions in which you will *support* the local community.  You won't do things *for* them, but rather you'll do things *with* them.  Doing something for them often causes damage, whereas doing something with them creates community and lasting change.


I hope you understand the difference -- something tells me you will easily see what I mean.  There are many adults I know, however, who do not see the difference at all.

Sebb's picture



Thanks for all the links ^_^ I have some sites to look through now :D


LB, I was planning on checking the safety of the place I go, but thanks for the concern ^_^


YW, I do see what you mean and doing something that would be harmful in any way to the people where I end up going would stop me from going at all.


ninjafaery's picture



YW -- I am glad you pointed out the difference re: "to" and "with".  Many people aren't aware of the effects of "charity" on the self-esteem of others.  It isn't just in the third world.  That principle is important everywhere. 

Unconciously maybe, we give from a perspective of "us" and "them", which is rather demeaning.  It really is a possibility that we could at some point be in need of such support.  What would make it easier to accept it without losing your dignity?  We need to try to imagine it that way.

Giving has to be effective and cognizant of a person's inherent worth.  Just because a population is poor doesn't mean they're  useless and have to give up their autonomy and the ability to make choices for themselves. 

I would suggest going with the idea that you have something to learn from whoever it is you're "helping".

cjms's picture



What about the Stephen Lewis Foundation.


Here is a link to a FAQ page about volunteering.  It lists a variety of other organizations that work in Africa as well.


Good luck!...cms

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