It takes three straight lines to form a perfect triangle

(Bella “Boody” Ramos – VSO Volunteer Phillipines)

I was fortunate to be given the privilege to participate in volunteering in an international setting by the (VSO) Volunteer Services Overseas. I took the opportunity to attend in VSO three major trainings & workshops in Manilla, Phillipines, as preparation for my placement at the Volunteer Centre – Cape Town in the role of Program Coordinator. Apart from these trainings, VSO also supported me in terms of medical needs that were provided before my deployment.

Bella Ramos VSO Volunteer

I started communicating with the Volunteer Centre through its Director, Deline Van Boom via email when I was still in the Philippines following the advice of VSO – South Africa. This act of communicating to the Partner Organization at an early stage helped me to establish contact and build rapport. Volunteer Centre had provided me information regarding its activities and the way in which the organization operates. Likewise, I appreciated very much the Volunteer Centre’s effort in finding and facilitating my preferred accommodation with a welcoming and warm host family.

The Meyers, Bella's host family

I arrived in South Africa in February 2006. We had our In – Country Training together with other VSO Volunteers from Netherlands, Kenya, UK and India. The last day of the training was finally meeting our Partner Organization – there, I met the Director for the first time. It was on March 3, 2006 where I was formally introduced to the staff and the Management Committee. Since then, Volunteer Centre has given me the opportunity to be exposed and get actively involved in various activities at all levels of the organization.

It is the desire of every Volunteer to share knowledge and skills beneficial for everybody. However, sharing of these knowledge and skills will only succeed if common interest prevails - if openness and willingness to try & explore new and workable methodologies & approaches are freely accepted & demonstrated.

My placement in South Africa has contributed much in terms of my learning process. It assists my better understanding, acceptance and respect of the uniqueness and diversity of cultures present in the country as well as in the workplace. I learnt to be more flexible and patient in dealing with my colleagues especially in terms of urgency and management of time.

Having this international experience had permitted me to acquire new skills and gained more self – confidence. My exposure as I become involved in the National Volunteering Programme is very enriching and fulfilling as I advocate and promote volunteering in my own small way. I really enjoy my work – no dull moments ! I am so grateful for these opportunities.

The success of Volunteer Placement depends on the role played by Volunteer Sending Organization, Volunteer Receiving Organization & the Volunteer. They’re like three straight lines that make a perfect and well-built triangle.