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Volunteering Overseas: Passion and Purpose

Having a sense of purpose, and feeling that we have made a difference in the lives of others, becomes increasingly important to many people as they reach the later stage of their career or enter retirement years.

Good causes are all around us, each with compelling reasons why we should help them. If you aren’t on the Do Not Call register phone calls come through day and night asking for donations. When you go to smaller shopping centres you have to walk a carefully planned route with your eyes downcast to avoid being accosted by someone who wants a donation to a 'good cause'.

But many of us are very jaded with the constant requests to donate to good causes. We are horrified when we hear of how much money gets spent on administering charities and even more horrified when we hear of people getting personal benefit from the money that has been donated.

Volunteer Overseas

Last Sunday I had the privilege of hearing about the difference some dedicated people can make in the world and I wanted to share this with you. Our friends Marilyn and John lived and worked in Laos for some years. They loved the country and the people and throughout the years I have known them they spoke of their dream to return to Laos and use their skills to make a difference. 

Lao childrenNow they are doing just that, using their considerable professional and practical skills to volunteer in Laos.

They have set up Global Support Association with a board of directors who are all experienced professionals sharing a similar passion to make a big difference in the lives of the children at an orphanage and school in Laos. Donations go directly to the cause, with all volunteers paying their own way and all administration costs absorbed by the volunteers themselves. They are looking for volunteers from November 2014 to February 2015 to assist in improving the conditions at the orphanage and school.

On the website you will see some of the photographs which we were shown on Sunday of the work they have already completed at Suan Luang Facility. We heard delightful stories of some of the small jobs that had a huge impact on the living conditions of the children:

  • scrubbing the dining tables from years of accumulated gunk then covering them with vinyl so they can be easily wiped down
  • washing the plastic food covers and discovering that they were all different colours, not brown as they had appeared to be for years
  • giving each child their own mattress and blanket
  • turning a dirty food preparation area into a tiled, clean and hygienic kitchen.

Passion and Purpose

Passion and purpose were expressed as volunteers spoke of their experiences and of the difference it had made in their own lives. It was a privilege to meet these people and I hope that you will take the time to have a look at what Global Support Association is already achieving.