Sylvia’s top 5 volunteering experiences

This week is #VolunteerWeek and as well as asking our volunteers why they volunteer, we asked our long-serving volunteer Sylvia to share her top 5 volunteering experiences with us! This is what she had to say:


“Volunteering and engaging with the community where I’m living has been a part of my life since I was 14 years old. By volunteering I have met amazing people who have all touched my heart in so many ways. Through volunteering in charities, we, as individuals, are able to share our skills with other people and organisations that might need a bit of our help to fully thrive.


Here are my top 5 volunteering experiences.

1 – Bangladesh: The first success story was when a lame beggar on the streets of Dhaka changed his profession. He went from a beggar to a trades-man. I gave him a small amount of money and instead of begging, he started selling bananas and gradually built up a large group of regular customers.

2 – Bangladesh: A couple of us volunteered to open a slum school for street children in Dhaka in the early 90s. We basically paid for a teacher and some reading material. Amazingly that small slum school has now turned into a high school where many children now have the chance to get a basic education and some of them continue to college.

3 – Sweden: One of my funny volunteering experiences happened in Sweden. We were all having a great time volunteering in a charity with a lady who was there training to be a hair dresser. I told her she could try her expertise on my hair. I asked if she could cut two inches off my hair.  However, the poor lady was so nervous that she cut all my hair except two inches (imagine a mop-top). I thought “hey my hair will grow back, but this lady had a chance to try her skills”.

4 – Brazil: Through volunteering with a micro-finance NGO working in the slums of Brasilia, I got to know so many inspiring local people, learnt the local language and saw what a bit of help and support could do in terms of amazing changes to female entrepreneurs from the poorer areas of the capital of Brazil.

5 – England: I moved to England in 2011 and volunteered locally in Richmond with a group of senior citizens who wanted to have their yearly event. They looked forward to this every year. But due to a lack of money within the charity, the members got sad and thought the party would be cancelled. I told them, “don’t worry, I can find a way to make the smaller amount cover the costs”. The fun part was that we managed to have the most brilliant event with food and drinks for the senior members and they were over the moon with the success.

Today: At the moment I am a full time volunteer. I volunteer for GlobalGiving UK and Lendwithcare UK plus I also volunteer a couple of hours a week for our local church while I am looking for a paid job.


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