Hello everyone! My name is Jianna Park, and I study Psychology and Peace Studies at University of Notre Dame. This summer, I will be participating in an exciting volunteer service trip to Sri Lanka!
Sri Lanka is a tropical island off the Southern tip of India, and it has beautiful beaches, safari parks, religious heritage sites and tea plantations. But many of the rural parts are still experiencing lack of personnel and resource available to vulnerable individuals such as those with mental illness or special needs (the ratio of psychiatrist is 1 to 500,000 people in Sri Lanka).
I’ve been given an amazing opportunity this summer to be part of SLV, a London-based nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by Lucy Nightingale, a Psychology graduate from University of Manchester, and Yasintha Rathnayake, a youth worker in Sri Lanka. During my 10 weeks of placement, I’ll be gaining hands-on work experience working with vulnerable individuals who have special needs like autism spectrum disorder. Living with other volunteers and a Sri Lankan homestay family, I will be working full time in a team during the week in challenging environments such as extremely understaffed and under-resourced residential homes, schools, and community learning centers. I will also be responsible for organizing projects and running therapeutic activities (e.g. arts and crafts, dance, games) to help stimulate and improve the target children’s and adults’ basic skills. With the resources I bring, I genuinely hope to help fulfill educational and vocational potentials for those in the marginalized part of society and make a positive impact in the local community.
To briefly talk about how much this experience holds importance to me, in high school, I participated in service trips to Cambodia where I helped raise money to buy children’s books and initiate library projects in rural elementary schools.
The experience gave me a valuable understanding of volunteering abroad: on top of the direct service provided, it not only helps support the local economy (through food and accommodation) but also gives volunteers a chance to broaden their cultural and emotional intellect, which then can become a creative asset for their future service career trajectory—just like in my case where the Cambodia trips sparked my interest in Peace Studies.
Ever since Cambodia, I’ve wished to continue working with various NGOs in different cultures in order to gain fresh perspectives on sustainable human development and to relive the rewarding happiness in giving. Now as I’m excitedly preparing for this trip, I hope to raise money to help fund my travels. As a college student studying psychology (took or taking courses in Cognitive Psychology, Adolescent Development, Clinical Psychology and Behavioral Medicine), this will be an awesome opportunity to apply my knowledge into actually promoting people’s mental/emotional well-being and cognitive development!
Here are the dates: o Starting on June 6, 2016 o Ending on August 13, 2016
And here are the detailed expenses: o Special Needs Placement fee: £1250 ($1890) Included: § Visa § Food on weekdays § Homestay accommodation § Safety support § In-country training § Transport
o Not included: § Flights: approximately £450-£750 ($650-$1,000) § Entry visa: £45 ($65) § Travel insurance: £30-£70 ($40-$100) § Daily buses to and from projects: £70 ($100) § Extra £ 60-200 a week total ($80-$290, optional food and weekend trips)
❤ ❤ ❤ Bonus: for each person that donates $10, I will send you a postcard updating on how my work is going—feel free to leave me a message on Facebook! For those in close proximity upon my return, I will make you a real Sri Lankan curry and rice.
Let’s implant loving kindness, help develop a sense of autonomy and self-realization, and build inner & outer peace in our underprivileged neighbors!
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