The life of a volunteer: Thomas

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Thomas DebrouwerTell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Thomas Debrouwer, 27. I am a volunteer with the United Nations World Food Program in Quito, Ecuador.

Where do you do your volunteer work?
Mainly here in Quito

What were your reasons for doing volunteer work?
Private reasons mainly, but I was considering the option for a long time since I am interested in development issues.

What kind of work did you do? What is a "normal" day for you?
I monitoring programs and do a lot of computer work to manage data, calculate indicators, create surveys. Also field visits to meet beneficiaries and program implementers.

Have you volunteered somewhere else before? Where? What did you do?
In Honduras, as a journalist, in Ecuador with another foundation (helping children do their homework), and in Egypt (children's camp).

What makes you interested in volunteering?
The theoretical absence of self-interest

Would you recommend volunteer work and why?
I would because it provides a great sense of satisfaction.

How can you become a volunteer worker?
By searching on the internet volunteering opportunities and contacts.

What advice would you like to give to those who are planning to do volunteer work?
Be patient because competition for volunteering job is much harder than people think, I heard of cases of people paying to be volunteers and this is pretty shocking.

What has volunteering taught you?
This depends a lot on the job itself. Personally I acquired many skills but not so many related to the volunteering itself.

Would you do it again?
Definitely, yes.

Why should you not do volunteer work?
Because most organizations spent too much time begging for money and donors lack the same sense of caring for others that characterizes volunteers.

Do you need to have good language skills?
Yes, but this is not the most important thing since your physical appearance already make you look like a stranger. Beneficiaries would understand your difficulties and would try to help you. Human contact has nothing to do with language skills.