Anna Vindics, MSc in Social Policy (EU and Comparative Social Policy) 2015, volunteered in the UK and Ghana with KickStart Ghana during her time at LSE. Here she talks about her experience and the impact volunteering made:
Volunteering with KickStart Ghana was a life-changing experience for me as it helped me to discover what I am truly passionate about: international development and improving the wellbeing and opportunities of people living in developing countries. I now work at the Development Cooperate Directorate of OECD, which would not have been possible without the knowledge and fieldwork experience I gained whilst I was volunteering with KickStart Ghana.
During my stay in Ghana I learned more about development than I did from books behind my desk as I came to understand what it really means and how it works on the micro level. Now I understand more about the lives and issues of people living in developing countries, plus I developed further knowledge about NGOs that work in that field. I feel particularly privileged that I had this experience with KickStart Ghana as I got an insight into the work of an organisation that focuses on responsible volunteering and development with the interest of the Ghanaian children above all else. What I found especially interesting was exploring completed projects financed by KickStart Ghana and attending the summer school and shadowing the amazing work of local teachers, volunteers and the children. It was a unique opportunity to engage with all the stakeholders: the founders, international volunteers, Ghanaian volunteers, local teachers, citizens and the children, to develop a comprehensive understanding of the issues the charity is working on.
During my stay I gained an insight into the life and issues of a developing country and the contribution of NGOs to development through the example of KickStart Ghana. Moreover I met a lot of exceptional people, both Ghanaian and English. I am not exaggerating when I say that from the moment I arrived I felt like a member of a big family. We had an amazing time while travelling to the beach during the weekends (and participating in an all-night reggae party), eating fufu (a spicy local speciality), watching the football matches of Dynamo (a local team supported by KickStart Ghana), and playing pool in spot bars or cricket at the KickStart Ghana house. The unmatched kindness and openness of Ghanaian people is another thing that made the whole experience unforgettable. Even without the professional advantages I would consider this the most amazing experience of my life. Therefore I truly hope I will be soon be back in Ho.
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