Name: Lucy Wilson
Nationality: United Kingdom
Languages spoken: English
University: Sheffield Hallam University
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for Disabled Children in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: July 2015
Claim to fame: Has appeared in the media several times campaigning for people with disfigurements and disabilities.
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
My ambition was to always give to a community overseas. I’m highly interested in international development, so when I did some researching online and came across UBELONG, it matched up with what I wanted to achieve. The website gave a thorough insight into what to expect on your project and all of the relevant information, so I knew that it was for me. I volunteer back in the UK with children suffering from burn injuries and I wanted to challenge myself in working with children in a developing country. I feel that it is important to have an understanding of the differences back at home and those who are less fortunate.
What was your impact on your volunteer project?
I worked with children with disabilities in an orphanage. I helped care for a group of around ten children. With there only being three ‘mama’s’ caring for them, my help went a long way. For example, a lot of help was needed at feeding time, play time and when nappies needed to be changed. There wasn’t a moment where I had nothing to do. I felt that my time and help was needed. The children I cared for were severely disabled and therefore needed round the clock care. They craved affection and attention. And making them laugh everyday was extremely rewarding. As extras, I also bought additional essentials that they desperately needed (i.e. Wipes, sanitiser, new toys.)
What were your major challenges?
My main challenges were when I first started the project. You have to be mentally ready for the challenge. The children are severely disabled, many with missing eyes and have HIV. The nappy changing is overwhelming also. Nevertheless, knowing that your time helping is having a huge impact, you get used to it, and those challenges go out of the window. Another major challenge was coming to the realisation that these children are socially rejected from society. Without the orphanage, they would either be on the streets, or ended up in a fatal situation.
In a sentence or less, what did you think about the food?
Fried tarantula actually tastes like fried chicken.