|Volunteer Experiences 2007|
The most recent articles from this year have been written by Melissa and Mervi, two outstandingly commited volunteers of Casa Do Caminho. You can read both very personal accounts of their time at the Casa in the news section:
Moreover, every volunteer has the opportunity to give written feedback to the Casa coordinators after their stay at the orphanages. According to the volunteer's wishes the information is treated confidentially or may be discussed in public. By courtesy of Marta Szuchnicka her volunteer exit interview is published below.
Volunteer Exit Interview
CDC: Explain your role:
Dates of Volunteer Assignment: 7.04.-20.07.2007
"CDC" stands for Casa Do Caminho.
M.Szuchnicka: Organic farming volunteer, one day a week educator volunteer, Casa Amiga once/twice a week educator.
CDC: If you could change your volunteers role, what would you like to change
M.Szuchnicka: For me it was perfect, as I could work in the garden few days, few days with kids and in result I was doing many different things. But I think that in the future it would be better that Organic Farming volunteer has less responsibilites apart from Garden, in order to concentrate better on the project. It depends of course on the amount of volunteers working in the garden. If there are few of them, they can easly combine many roles.
CDC: How would you describe Casa Do Caminho?
M.Szuchnicka: At the moment that I left it was quite well organized, much better than when I came. Staff seems to me motivated and working well in team. Kids still must learn a lot, but the level of their education is improving in my opinion. If everything is going like now, with the same director, I’m very optimistic about the future of Casa,
CDC: Could you suggest new ways to create a welcoming environment for volunteers?
M.Szuchnicka: In my opinion the environment is already welcoming, but the day I arrived there was a party
CDC: Do you feel you received adequate support and training in your role?
M.Szuchnicka: Yes, the training about new system was very important and explained many things. In organic farming I received good training from another volunteer.
CDC: What have you learned during your stay at CDC?
M.Szuchnicka: Firstly many things about organic farming. Also how to behave with kids and educate them. I started to speak and write portugues, I met many interesting people and everyone has many stories about their culture, experiences and travels. I improved my capoeria skills. I also learn to drive fusca
CDC: What where your positive experiences?
M.Szuchnicka: For me being in Casa was totally new experience and it was very positive. Firstly I was living with people from other culture. Work with kids was great for me, even being tired sometimes I enjoyed it a lot. I met great people and I learnt a lot.
CDC: Any negative experiences or things that can be improved?
M.Szuchnicka: After two months I experienced decrease of energy and I was feeling tired almost all the time. It’s very difficult to rest living next to the orphange. Maybe if every volunteer has 2 days obligatory off weekly, in Xerem or another place outside the Casa, would be possible to avoid this situation. At the moment it’s recommendable to take days off, but many volunteers don’t take them. One week holidays is also great for “recharging batteries”.
CDC: What would you suggest needed to be improved to make the experience better for other volunteers in the future?
M.Szuchnicka: As I wrote above, more time to rest. Maybe some activites (sport, trips, etc), also to integrate them with local community.
CDC: Future/Goals of Casa Do Caminho
M.Szuchnicka: To improve the education by using constantly new system, to increase expectations for kids education, to teach all new staff about new system, to see better kids education outside the Casa and to have more kids.
CDC: Overall satisfaction of experience: Was your volunteer work meaningful and rewarding? What made it that way for you?
M.Szuchnicka: I’m very happy that I was there and I want to come back. As I wrote I learnt many things and I hope my work could somehow help Casa. My impression is that I really started to have good contact with kids and educate them after 2 months, as it took a long time to know them and to speak good enough. And then I had to leave. I think that for Casa is better to have volunteers for longer then 3 months, or local ones, that come not often but regularly.
CDC: Would you recommend others to volunteer for this organization?
M.Szuchnicka: Yes, definitely.
CDC: How did you hear about Casa do Caminho? Website?
M.Szuchnicka: Yes, I found it in the Internet.
|Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 November 2008 )|