I had decided during my first year of studying post graduate occupational therapy that l wanted to work for two years in Australia and then head overseas and volunteer for a year. Through a series of events it was decided that l would head to Central – South America. Many of my friends had said great things of Bolivia, her culture and her people. So l started exploring the interwebs and came across Sustainable Bolivia. There were a few main things that sold me on SB, their overall ethos on sustainability and the contribution they were hoping to offer, the mini grant program and that they had a dog on their staff list.
I arrived in Bolivia after volunteering in Mexico for 6 months and found a fabulous and supportive volunteer community. Shared dinners, weekend trips away, nights out, charlas and many a discussion on development and why we were all there were had. I volunteered with Puntiti, an orphanage and day school for children with a range of disabilities. It took me a little while to find my feet and get into a rhythm there however after much support from the boys at SB we set some project goals and a fundraiser and got to work!
With the help of the organisation and many generous friends and family we made postural supports for ten of the most difficult children, bought resources for the therapists and activities for the children. The excess money was left in a fund to be used to purchase wheelchairs and wheelchair cushions. It was a fabulous opportunity and experience to see that with the right support and being surrounded by the right attitude you can work with an organisation to achieve some great and hopefully sustainable goals.
I loved my time in Bolivia, l will cherish the friendships made and the experiences had and will miss those mountains and good times that surrounded my time there. Good luck and keep it up SB, you’re doing a great job!