If you are planning to go on a volunteer program abroad, you have to keep in mind that spending a few weeks at an orphanage or an NGO will not make a permanent impact or a sustainable difference. However, it will definitely transform you from within and give you an idea of the real situation at the grass root level. To me, this experience helped me gain valuable experience in terms of practical implication of different policies before starting an NGO, United World Foundation, in India.
From a number of programs I could help out with at Kayamandi, South Africa, I chose the Adult Computer Literacy program as it allowed me to utilize my computer skills and technical background for a good cause. The main idea behind this program was to help the local youth increase their potential employment opportunities by improving their computer skills.
During my high school and college years, I loved teaching as a part time tutor. As a summer camp instructor, I had taught math and English to grade 1 through 10 kids during my college years. I also had an opportunity to teach kindergarten level math and English to very young children at Future Hope Baby Centre in Kenya and Lasting Blessing in Tanzania. After teaching kindergarten kids for two months in Kenya and Tanzania, I was ready to take on a class full of adults. Honestly speaking, teaching the adult class went a lot smoother than the kindergarten class.
At Kayamandi, We taught a class of around 15 adults the basic Microsoft Office skills. We covered basics of MS Office and taught the students how to prepare their resumes and write a professional cover letter. All the students were very keen to learn as some of them had been on the computer for the very first time.
During my stay at Kayamandi, I also had an opportunity to visit other local projects and meet other volunteers from all over the globe. Since I loved teaching and spending time with children, I participated in the nearby teaching programs after finishing my adult computer classes. Spending time with the kids right after teaching a class full of adults was definitely a fun transition.