About halfway through my time of impending unemployment, I got the crazy idea that I would like to do some volunteer work out of the country after getting laid off. The genius of this idea was two fold; first it could help me start totally fresh and leave my work in corporate America behind (a “soul-cleansing” as I’ve taken to calling it), and two it would check off two major bucket list items for me, volunteering outside of the US and visiting Peru. I have two very close friends who had both done volunteer work outside of the US, which I found very admirable and an interesting twist on dedicating time to others. And my uncle travels to Peru about once a year to work in clinics in rural villages and talks so fondly of the amazing people. Thus, volunteering abroad was something I have always wanted to do as well. Plus, who doesn’t want to go to Peru? Added bonus: I could work on my Spanish which will hopefully help me get an awesome job. And, as Ghandi said ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’
I did a ton of research to find my project. There are so many companies out there that charge a crazy huge amount of money to volunteer in other countries and very little of that money ends up in the countries of need. I wanted to make sure that the money I was spending would end up in Peru with the people I wanted to help. I ended up with IFRE, a non-profit based out of Texas. The money I will be paying for room and board while in Peru, which is very reasonable, goes directly to the people I’ll be staying with rather than some company in a country much better off than Peru. I’ll be living and working at Casa Residencial, a home for teen moms in Cuzco. The home provides somewhere for the girls to go when they have no where else to turn and childcare so they keep going to school. They are also working on setting up a bakery so that the girls can learn basic business skills. How lucky am I to be able to help in such an amazing place?!
I’ve never done something like this on my own before but it I’m not one to shy away from a new adventure. I’m ready to lose my self and really start something new.
Check out IFRE’s volunteer programs: