Yesterday I found an entry here with the title of “Darfur is not for volunteers”, it helped me to realize many fact that me, a Sudanese citizen, never knew before. So it is not really that simple as I imagined! And here is another goal that have to be postponed!!
Here is the entry which is actually a comment on a teacher’s entry asking about an opportunity to volunteer there in Darfur :
” While I think it’s noble and inspiring that so many people want to volunteer in Darfur, there seems to be some misinformation on what that entails.
I am an aid worker and worked in Darfur. You have to have at least a Master’s degree to work there. You cannot just ‘volunteer’ in Darfur. Please remember that this is a post-conflict country recovering from a war and security risks to westerners are high. Volunteer organizations do not send volunteers to countries like these. There is a a United Nations Volunteer (UNV)program, although these are paid jobs and require significant experience. The Sudanese government is also very selective about who it lets in and where they can go—several aid agencies and officials have been expelled over the past few years.
In spite of the risks and very basic conditions it can actually be quite hard to find jobs there! But there are positions in education- mostly coordinating and managing education projects so these skills are in demand. Most positions require a 1 year committment.
If you are American, a lot of aid workers began their careers through the Peace Corps.Looking at this and other volunteer organisations would be a good way to start. You won’t go to Darfur, but you’ll go to other countries that need you and learn skills to bring to Darfur or anywhere else.
And please remember that there are many ways to make an impact, especially through teaching. In fact, you are quite likely having far more of an impact through your teaching in Brooklyn than you would be in Darfur. The one-on-one impact is removed there—you will spend a lot of time behind a desk writing reports about the work your Sudanese colleagues are doing in the camps and with the communities.
I think we have a tendency to romaticize working in Darfur and other African regions we see on the news (often inaccurately). A wiser aid worker once told me it’s important to make the distinction between wanting to be of service and wanting an adventure. We need to ask ourselves- what skills do I really have to offer that a local person could not? Where could I really be of most service? I’m guilty of not doing this enough myself.
Remember, we are not going to make a significant change in a country we know little about by virtue of the fact that we are from rich, western countries. And we don’t have to sacrifice our health and well-being to have meaningful, impactful experiences.
Good luck to everyone! “
source4 months ago