My name is Laura Wilson from New Zealand. I first heard about Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos when I was living in Chile, teaching English. I had already spent a year in Brazil on exchange when I was 17 so I had seen some of the harsh realities of Latin American poverty, which was unlike anything I had ever seen in New Zealand. I had volunteered in an after-school childcare centre for children living in poverty and had loved it, so when I a good friend told me about NPH and then another friend, Krisitna Cavit actually went to the Dominican Republic and lived at one of the homes, I knew it was something I wanted to be apart of.
I applied to work over the Dominican Summer, which starts late June, as a dance/aerobics instructor. When I walked onto the grounds of NPH I was instantly taken aback. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was and how happy and healthy the children were. I think a lot of people envisage that an orphanage will be a terribly sad and depressing place, just as I had, but it was the complete opposite! The children were so full of life and energy, and I was amazed at how organized and beautiful the grounds were.
I spent around two months working and living with the children. During the week I taught dance and on the weekends we did different activities, such as sports, treasure hunts and movie nights. I loved every second of it and definitely plan to go back to either visit or work in the near future. Their lives were very simple by comparison, but they had everything they needed from education to dental care. I was blown away by the support from individuals around the world, at NPH I really learnt that a little can go a long way
I was also impressed by how much responsibility the children were given. They were taught to help serve dinners, wash their clothes and clean the bathrooms. From the get go they are taught to be responsible for their actions and be independent young men and women. The other volunteers were also of a high standard. The application process is very professional so volunteers must be very passionate and hard working to get accepted, which is really comforting. All the people I worked with were incredibly dedicated and loving people.
I have found that some people I talk to in recent years have lost faith in NGO’s saying that they can’t trust where their money goes and that too much of it just gets spent on marketing and salaries. However, after having experienced NPH first-hand, I can truly say that every penny is well spent and these children are so incredibly grateful to get the financial help they need from the more fortunate. Anybody who gets the opportunity to work at one of the NPH homes or support a NPH child will not regret it. It was an incredible experience and I learned just as much from these beautiful children, if not more, than they did from me.
Summer Volunteer at NPH-DR in 2010