A country director from HELP International met with the United Nations and UNICEF last week to discuss the upcoming projects HELP International has in mind for this summer.
HELP International, a non-profit organization, is accepting volunteers to Nicaragua, Belize, Fiji, Uganda, Thailand, India and Peru this summer. HELP empowers volunteers to fight global poverty through sustainable projects.
Volunteering for HELP also counts as an internship credit for a wide range of majors at BYU.
The office manager, Kara Goodrum, explained why HELP is different from other organizations.
“We help communities with projects they tell us they are in need of and we help them accomplish it,” said Kara Goodrum, the office manager. “We also go back to the same cities every year to make sure our efforts are sustainable and keep in contact year round.”
The first wave leaves on May 10 to countries across the globe. Volunteers can stay for one wave, about a month, or all three waves, the whole summer, for $2,950.
Until recently, HELP’s volunteers have been primarily BYU students, but it is now receiving volunteers from all over the United States, said Matt Collings one of the co-executive directors.
“This year we have students from Notre Dam, Harvard, Yale, ASU, Washington D.C., and many schools in California,” said Collings. “I think it will be good for our teams to have a variety of different backgrounds.”
Volunteers experience a wide array of projects that leave them with a sense of accomplishment.
Kaylynee Lisonbee, a volunteer of HELP last year, helped develop a project that got children in Belize off the streets and into sports.
“I know people might wonder why working in the rain, heat, and mud was enticing and life changing, it’s because I wasn’t doing this work for myself but I was doing it for others,” said Lisonbee. “The saying is true that when you get lost in service, you find yourself.”
Shawney Tagg a former volunteer in El Salvador and Belize taught people English and created a curriculum for future volunteers to continue the classes.
“Knowledge is power, being able to help educate someone is empowering to that individual. We want individuals to feel empowered to help get them out of poverty,” said Tagg.
Elise McAllister worked in an orphanage in Uganda for one of her projects.
“All I have to say is that kids in orphanages are probably some of the most heart-melting children you will ever meet,” said McAllister. “They love any sort of human contact, they run up to you, hold your hand, hug you, want you to pick them up and hold them. Its rather heart-wrenching.”
If you would like more information call 801-374-0556 or visit help-international.org.