Help Me Volunteer in Colombia!
Organized by: Christina Kirby
EVENT DATE Dec 30, 2014
In two short months I'll be graduating from UC Berkeley and on my way to Colombia... for an entire year of volunteering! Through the non-profit organization WorldTeach, I'll be working full-time as a teacher at a Colombian public school, predominantly with disadvantaged youth. I will be teaching English, starting an independent side project, and positively impacting the community! In order to do this, I need your help and support to raise $4000. Thank you for making this possible!
What is WorldTeach?
WorldTeach is an established and reputable nonprofit organization that was founded through Harvard University. The program places volunteer teachers such as myself at schools in developing countries around the world, like Colombia. Volunteers are provided to countries that would otherwise not be able to afford qualified teachers. Only 4% of all volunteer financial contributions go to the maintenance of the organization, the remaining 96% directly fund the volunteers. To learn more, visit the website at http://www.worldteach.org.
Where is my donation going?
All donations solely fund my service abroad. As a volunteer, I do not receive a wage from the school that employs me. Although the bulk of fees are subsidized by the Colombian government, I still will be responsible for contributing $5000. The financial breakdown is as follows:
-Initial program fee of $1,500: This includes training costs as well as the cost of my homestay for the year.
-Airfare around $1000
-Living costs of $2500: I will be receiving a $200 living stipend per month to help cover all food and public transportation costs to/from the school. Both the WorldTeach handbook and Colombia volunteer alumni say to plan on spending an additional $200 per month for living costs, at the minimum.
What will you be doing?
As a WorldTeach volunteer, I will be working full-time at a public school teaching English for one year. Simultaneously, I will have the opportunity to start a side project of my interest within the school, which I aim to establish based on the perceived needs of the community (for instance, a peer health group for high school students). My goal as a volunteer teacher, in addition to teaching English, is to provide support, encouragement and assistance to the disadvantaged youth I will be working with. I am confident that my genuine enthusiasm and love of children will facilitate these endeavors!
Unfortunately I will not know know the age of my students or the location of my placement until one week before departure. Placements range from rural communities, such as Isla Baru, to major cosmopolitan cities, such as the capital Bogota. I will be sure to update you all as to where I will be living!
Why are you volunteering?
My motivation to teach abroad developed after my past spring semester spent studying Spanish in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Certain aspects of living abroad, such as the striking poverty seen in shanty towns, left a significant impression and desire to aid such communities; this provided the motivation to return to South America as a volunteer with WorldTeach.
Teaching is specifically the optimal platform for my service abroad because I have an abundance of experience working with children. Over the past eight years I have been a nanny, tutor, camp counselor, art teacher, volunteer with children in Mexico… the list goes on and on! Not only do I love being with kids, but I feel confident with my ability to be a supportive and inspiring teacher.
Isn't Colombia dangerous?
Don't fret; Colombia is not the tumultuous and dangerous country you may be imagining. Although the country certainly faced serious troubles in the past, the nation has recently benefited from drastic improvements in safety. While the nation is still recovering from its well-publicized past, the 21st century has given way to vastly improved security and drastically falling crime rates.
Despite the positive development, Colombia is currently a nation of stark contrasts depicting the dichotomy of sharp economic growth, and a poverty rate of 37%. Thus, despite recent improvements, there is still vast room for social and economic improvement. Recent focus on revamping the public education system provides an optimistic route to make positive change in the country.