As part of our Christmas traditions here at International Volunteer HQ, we're celebrating the stories of our Real Santas - those international volunteers whose actions are making meaningful contributions to communities around the world beyond one day of the year. Having supported over 80,000 people to volunteer abroad in 40 different destinations, we're constantly hearing inspirational stories from all corners of the globe. Here's a collection of stories from our Real Santas to inspire you this Christmas...
Craig McEwan in Kenya
Currently volunteering in Kenya, Craig McEwan helped raise £1,172.45 to cover the operation costs for a young girl at his placement who has cancer in both her breasts. In addition to covering the full cost of the operation, the money raised is going to be invested in purchasing chickens for the rescue center to provide a sustainable source of income through the sale of eggs. Thanks to Craig and his fellow IVHQers, the center now has its first real Christmas tree and an epic Christmas party in the pipeline!
Katelynn Redfern and Sorphie Borland in Fiji
While volunteering on our Sports Education project in Fiji, roommates Katelyn and Sophie collaborated the funds they raised back home to purchase $1,000 worth of sports equipment for the school where they taught in Suva. The community and students are delighted with the new equipment, which will support the lesson planning for future IVHQers. During the school holidays, Katelyn was also actively involved in our Construction project within Muana Village and made a further donation to invest in the purchase of two swings to be installed at the local kindergarten.
Robert Simmons in Peru
In 2014, Robert volunteered in Peru for 5 months and realized there was a need for a medical post in the small town of Picapiedra, Lima. Rob set up a crowdfunding campaign to assist with the construction of a multi-purpose education center and medical laboratory to more effectively treat ailments and educate residents on good health practices. So far, Robert has raised more than US$5,000 towards the construction and resources for the medical center.
Amber Moore in Ghana
While on a 10-week volunteering adventure in Ghana, Amber fundraised toward a goal of building a chicken coop and purchasing chickens, creating a sustainable food source for the orphanage where she was volunteering. Initially wanting to purchase 10 chickens, Amber raised enough to buy 150! Amber and her fellow IVHQers then worked on an extension for the chicken coop to accommodate the extra chickens.
Richardson Family in Argentina
For their Christmas vacation, the Richardsons are volunteering in Argentina for 6 weeks. Tracey, Kevin, Emily and Adam set off from their home in New Zealand with their bags full to the brim with sporting equipment and games, to share the fun and joy with the children on the Childcare and Sports Educations projects over the holiday period. These donations will double as useful resources for future IVHQers in Argentina.
If you're feeling inspired to volunteer in the New Year, browse these top volunteer abroad programs for 2018, or take this quiz to help pick the perfect program for you.