Many volunteers have found their way to Africa, volunteers make a difference in Africa through programs like our organization offers on our website www.elghana.com listing some of our volunteer opportunities in Africa and mission trips to Africa. They have contributed to the local economy and local families through their spending, buying of arts and crafts and going out to local restaurants, events and places of interest. Volunteers make a difference in Africa supporting many rural schools, orphanages and healthcare clinics in places where there might be only a midwife and a local person the midwife trains.
There are occasions people have argued some volunteers actually influence the communities more negatively than good. And others have been uncomfortably challenged by the new cultures seen from volunteers from abroad. But I have always seen the positive in every single volunteer I have had. The mere encounter of a foreigner in that local village sparks inspirations and dreams. I have several examples and testimonies, some of which you can read from our webpage and join us to salute our heroes who volunteer in Africa with us.
The negative observation is that over time, we see efforts by a few professional associations to make the process more costly for volunteers to volunteer in Africa, in their attempt to tap resources for their operations. I must quickly say before i explain myself further that all professional bodies and staff, just like virtually every single person in the countries our volunteers are placed in, have been very hospitable, welcoming and understand that volunteers are not taking their jobs from them, and appreciate that volunteers make a difference in Africa.
At the points of entry, we have had to pay duty on some basic items volunteers bring to donate to hospitals, orphanages or local schools. This is not encouraging; it does not show we welcome them wholeheartedly. It does not show that we need them, though i know we do welcome and need them a lot and with a whole heart appreciate that volunteers make a difference in Africa.
To some local organizations like us, the literacy projects, scholarship for children, free healthcare and medication for rural folks without a health center and many of the programs including our operations are sponsored partly by fees paid by volunteers which also cover insurance, accommodation, meals, transportation, visit to places of interest and all the support and services we provide volunteers. Volunteers make a difference in Africa by keeping employed the very inspired people willing to work to bring change to many people. More information on volunteer opportunities and our missions trips or what our volunteer in Africa program and volunteers do.
We sure must find ways to even make volunteering free for them, but there is also the evil of depriving the local people the programs and funding which come from our money. So do you choose to raise money and put the money into the local poor communities or to support a volunteer travel to volunteer in Africa? The lesser of the two evils is to appeal to the volunteers to pay fees to support our operations and their stay.
And we make sure to return value for that spending by giving the volunteer a great adventure, cultural immersion and broadened horizons, adaptability and creativity skills; Keys that can make them more valuable to employers and successful in their lives in pursuit of competitive opportunities in their countries. By this, the volunteer know that beyond the self-gratitude of such trips, they can in someday reap what they sow and further, in return, we are able to make a difference in the lives of our communities.
I will be discussing more about this and others at our blog page.
Volunteers have always enjoyed our hospitality; Let us let them know that we appreciate the role they are playing in changing lives of many people within our poor communities. Let us salute all those brave ones who make a backpack and take on the trip to unknown places in our dear mother Africa to offer their help the way they can.
My name is Agyapong Gyamfi, the head of operations and projects for the non-profit Sem-Fronteiras receiving and working with volunteers and groups in Africa in Ghana, Zambia, Kenya and Uganda. You can find our Facebook page here