My time volunteering
I was working on a Inclusive Education and Disability Mainstreaming project in Nandi County, Kenya.
My role mostly consisted of helping out with a local project for orphans and vulnerable children from poor families at the hospital office I was placed at; as well as visiting families in rural villages where there were unregistered people with disabilities living. As a placement team we would help get information to them about what support was available to them and try to mobilize them to get this help.
The impact of my placement
Sometimes it can be hard to see the immediate impact of volunteer work to the community, but as time went on we started to see individuals benefitting from the work.
For example after initially visiting the home of a young child with a severe disability, we were able to locate his disability ID card and after following up with his father, found out they were able to pick it up so the child can now recieve benefits.
I also witnessed a lot of empowerment in the community - especially at the event we helped organise for UN Disability Day, where we had a procession, performances and exhibitions from People with Disabilities and speeches on the importance of empowering PWD’s.
My unforgettable moments
One of my best memories was at the UN Disability Day event. I helped a blind woman walk with us in the procession and it was a truly special moment. She told she had lost her sight a few years ago due to glaucoma and struggled a lot at first mentally and physically. She was so debilitated at first that she didn’t even want to live through it anymore - but she eventually got into rehabilitation and has a support network of friends and family. Now she can do tasks around the house and can even work on a computer!
She said this was one of the first occasions in a long time that she had been able to walk a long way outside of the house and didn’t want the walk to end! When we got back to the starting event, her elderly mother was so proud. I felt honoured to be able to be a part of that little moment and it showed me that small things can make a big difference!
The impact my placement has had on me
After returning home I realised I would really love to work in International Development, whereas before I had no idea what I wanted to do. In my own community and others I want to try to be a part of sustainable volunteering projects and help those in the community. ICS taught me a lot about sustainable volunteering and responsibility when working with different communities that I’ll always take with me in the future.
ICS gave me experiences I’ll never forget, it taught me more about cultural differences and gave me great friends who I still speak to today.