International Volunteer Day: Tdh volunteers tell us about their experience
Asmaa, Senu Ara and Elodie: three young women from very different geographic and cultural backgrounds. What do they have in common? These women of Syrian, Rohingya and Swiss origin are among the thousands of volunteers worldwide dedicated to helping Terre des hommes give vulnerable children a proper childhood. To mark International Volunteer Day, we invited them to tell us about their experience.
Asmaa, 22 years old, Jordan
“I wanted to become a volunteer to give something back to the community. I come from Damascus, but I fled Syria in 2013 because I didn’t feel it was safe to give birth to my child there. While I was a refugee in a camp in Jordan, I started to take part in the activities organised by Terre des hommes. It helped me to escape the crowded conditions and regain my confidence. That support encouraged me to take volunteer training. Everything I learned through Tdh in terms of psychological and social support, I can now share with child refugees. I supervise activities for the children, such as drawing and football training. This role has helped me to take control of my life and to block out unpleasant thoughts. I love my work. I feel like I've become a member of the community.”
Senu Ara, 25 years old, Bangladesh
“I am a Rohingya community support officer in the Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh. I wanted to help these people who have witnessed terrible things in Myanmar. If we were not here, they would not know who to turn to in the camp for support, which would only increase their suffering. Rohingya families are often wary of new people; they don’t want to go to the clinics. I’m here to reassure them that they can trust Terre des hommes and to ensure they receive the right care and medication. I visit Rohingya families to provide health education and prenatal care. I also identify children who need care, such as one boy who was suffering from severe diarrhoea and an eye infection. I talked to his mother to convince her to bring him to the health centre and see a doctor.”
Elodie, 22 years old, Switzerland
“This autumn, we built a mobile shelter destined for Iraq within the University of Lausanne itself. Our aim was to raise awareness of the situation of displaced people in areas destroyed by the Islamic State group. This allowed us to recreate the situation on the ground and to connect with the reality of the local population, of which we had only a vague understanding before then. The presentation of the Better Shelter project, which Terre des hommes supports, was one of the first events organised by the recently-founded Tdh student volunteer association within the University of Lausanne. Before that, I was involved with the Lausanne volunteer group for three years, taking part in other actions such the orange sale. I enjoy volunteering; it teaches me skills and gives me ideas for topics for my sociology studies. For example, I was able to interview a Tdh specialist on the topic of child marriage. My experience so far has really made me want to work in the humanitarian field in the future.”
Our volunteers play a vital role within Terre des hommes. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work and commitment!
Photo credit: © Tdh