Kat’s Volunteer Story 2022

What did you do whilst volunteering at Sparkle Malawi? How did a typical day look for you?

The amazing Bryony had developed a thorough itinerary for myself and my daughter Rosalie. We observed teachers in the classroom, played football and sports games with the children, we served the children lunch and helped wash clothes in the river. We organized a team building session for the staff and teachers and ran the “Human Knot”, a “Get to Know Each Other’s Name”, a “Scavenger Hunt” and a “Cultural Awareness Discussion”. My daughter also introduced everyone to “Duck Duck Goose” and “Red Light Green Light” it was a lot of fun and very tiring. But so nice to not be sat behind a computer all day!

Why did you want to volunteer with Sparkle Malawi? In what ways does Sparkle’s mission and work stand out to you?
I had heard about the amazing work that Sparkle were doing and the story of the Foundation is so inspiring. I wanted to see it for myself and, on doing so, am even more impressed than I was before. In hugely challenging circumstances, Sparkle is thriving and the team are absolutely brilliant. It was a pleasure to be a tiny part of this beating heart for a short time. I also really wanted to give my daughter Rosalie the opportunity to come and experience this with me and to open her eyes to the amazing world around her. It was an experience neither of us will ever forget.

Could you tell us about the impact that you think your volunteering had? Did you feel valued and like your work had a clear purpose?
I hope it did. I think the team building session was really inciteful and the stories I am now telling to friends, colleagues etc is definitely raising awareness for Sparkle. I think probably the staff on the ground are MUCH better at serving lunch and washing clothes, but it gave me a real appreciation of the privileged life we lead and again helps bring this to life with the stories told afterwards. I think the feedback for the teachers that I provided will hopefully go some way to helping further enhance the amazing offering. We would love to return and now I am familiar with the situation on the ground, I will be in a much better position to think about things that would be of value to bring next time and also to organize more thoroughly given what I now know.

What is one highlight that stands out from your experience volunteering in Malawi? Any memories that will stick with you forever?
It’ll all stick with me. But I think my favourite moment was playing football at Sparkle in the rain and the mud and seeing how incredible the children are at sport. And how much fun we had building our team and supporting each other. It was brilliant.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering with Sparkle in Malawi?
Go immediately. You’ll love every minute and it will change your life forever. If you have them, take your children. It will open their eyes and introduce them to an incredible country, nation, and people – expanding their horizons and helping them appreciate how lucky they are, and how important it is to give back to others and help.

How was the process of volunteering with Sparkle? Was it well organised? Did you feel supported by Sparkle staff?
We felt incredibly supported by the Sparkle staff. I think they all did an outstanding job, and we were bowled over the how enthusiastic, fun, engaging and funny they all are. It was such a pleasure to get to know these incredible humans and to hear their stories about how they are pushing beyond the boundaries of normal cultural traditions. They are some of the best people I’ve ever met. I would also like to say a huge thank you to Bryony for all the efforts with the itinerary, the logistics, the constant emails and the support on the ground. She was so helpful, positive, and kind.

Thank you so much Sarah, Mwayi, Davie, Moses, Cliff, Rose, Chris, Angela, Veronica, Aida, Agnes, Brian, Esther, Gertrude, Eric, Mwayi (teacher) and all the other staff. You are amazing. I really hope I have the honour to see you again someday and thank you for making our experience one we will never forget.

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