Volunteering Overseas: Passion and Purpose

Volunteering Overseas: Passion and Purpose

Volunteering Overseas

Have you thought about being a volunteer abroad? Having a sense of purpose, and feeling that we have made a difference in the lives of others, becomes increasingly important to many people as they reach the later stage of their career or enter retirement years.

Good causes are all around us, each with compelling reasons why we should help them. If you aren’t on the Do Not Call register phone calls come through day and night asking for donations. When you go to smaller shopping centres you have to walk a carefully planned route with your eyes downcast to avoid being accosted by someone who wants a donation to a ‘good cause’.

But many of us are very jaded with the constant requests to donate to good causes. We are horrified when we hear of how much money gets spent on administering charities and even more horrified when we hear of people getting personal benefit from the money that has been donated.

Volunteer Overseas

Last Sunday I had the privilege of hearing about the difference some dedicated people can make in the world and I wanted to share this with you. Our friends Marilyn and John lived and worked in Laos for some years. They loved the country and the people and throughout the years I have known them they spoke of their dream to return to Laos and use their skills to make a difference.

Lao childrenNow they are doing just that, using their considerable professional and practical skills to volunteer in Laos.

They have set up Global Support Association with a board of directors who are all experienced professionals sharing a similar passion to make a big difference in the lives of the children at an orphanage and school in Laos. Donations go directly to the cause, with all volunteers paying their own way and all administration costs absorbed by the volunteers themselves.

On the website you will see some of the photographs which we were shown on Sunday of the work they have already completed at Suan Luang Facility. We heard delightful stories of some of the small jobs that had a huge impact on the living conditions of the children:

  • scrubbing the dining tables from years of accumulated gunk then covering them with vinyl so they can be easily wiped down
  • washing the plastic food covers and discovering that they were all different colours, not brown as they had appeared to be for years
  • giving each child their own mattress and blanket
  • turning a dirty food preparation area into a tiled, clean and hygienic kitchen.

Passion and Purpose

Passion and purpose were expressed as volunteers spoke of their experiences and of the difference it had made in their own lives. It was a privilege to meet these people and I hope that you will take the time to have a look at what Global Support Association is already achieving.

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Jenni Proctor

Hi, I'm Jenni Proctor from Boomers Next Step. Remember when the formula for success in life was simply to strive for good marks at school, gain qualifications, get a great job, work hard and save for your retirement? Yes, I believed it too! For years my husband David and I wanted to develop a business that we could operate anywhere in the world, but both of us were educated to be employees.  We had entrepreneurial dreams and ideas, but still had employee mindsets. 14 years ago I took the giant leap!  I left my job in Education to start a business as a Career Counsellor and Coach, helping mature adults transition from one career path to another, and particularly from employment to entrepreneurship.  I had studied long and hard to gain new qualifications but sadly I hadn’t learnt how to market my new business. About 12 years ago we realized that we were not tracking well towards having the sort of retirement we wanted. We’d saved; we’d invested; and like so many other people we’d also lost some money along the way. It didn’t help that my business was not bringing in as much as I had been earning as an employee. Our dreams of extensive travel and helping our family were being replaced by a growing concern that we would outlive our savings. It seemed that a traditional retirement would not allow us to maintain the lifestyle we wanted. I love helping people plan the next phase of their lives, but we realized that was not going to be enough.  We needed a way to create an income stream that would pay for the travel and other lifestyle luxuries we wanted, that would provide mental stimulation, and would interest us both.

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