Name: Rosa Hong
Hometown: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Nationality: South Korea
Languages spoken: English, Korean, Spanish (beginner)
Occupation: Product Manager at Guess Asia
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for People with Disabilities in Cusco, Peru
Duration: 5 weeks
Start month: April 2018
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
After leaving my corporate job of 10 years, I really wanted to do something different and special with my time off. After a suggestion from a good friend to consider to take part in a UBELONG volunteering program, I checked it out online to see what’s it’s all about.
The reviews and videos were amazing and since I have always loved to travel and wanted to explore Latin America, I decided to apply for the program in Cusco and do something meaningful with my time off by volunteering in Peru. The experience I had went beyond just regular traveling which is what most people do normally and this was exactly what I needed and wanted, a totally unique experience.
What impact did you make on your volunteer project?
I participated in a Program for Children with Disabilities during my stay in Cusco providing help at a home for disabled children while immersing myself in the local community and culture.
Our main daily tasks were to care for the children who mostly needed to be in wheelchairs with physical therapy massages as well as feeding them lunch. On days when the weather was sunny and warm, we would take the children outdoors and play with them and they really enjoyed it. We would dance, sing to songs on the radio, eat snacks and share stories with Chris, the full-time physical therapist who we worked with closely.
I also had the opportunity to interact and connect with other local volunteers in the field to practice my Spanish and I also made a big effort to chat with the nuns who took care of the children, most of them who have been abandoned by their parents. I would ask them questions in order to understand each child and their condition better which helped me to adapt and adjust to my program quicker and better. Everyday was somehow a different experience, learning and growing with every experience!
Helping to care for disabled underprivileged children and giving them the love and care they each deserve and need changed my life in so many ways. The impact of just being there to help goes a long way and I felt that.
How did you grow personally during your volunteer trip?
My trip gave me so happiness and fulfillment in leaving my comfort zone and daily life at home and immersing myself in a whole new world completely beyond my own. Meeting new people from different countries, learning a different language, interacting with the locals, exploring new places, and most of all helping disabled children and giving back to the community were all life changing and invaluable experiences.
In a sentence or less, how would you sum up your volunteer experience?
UBELONG is a great organisation to be a part of, the local partners were very welcoming and excited to have us volunteers there and the friendships made along my journey have been amazing!