In Finland, the days are getting shorter and colder when the end of the year is coming closer. Therefore, I thought it is a good time to look back the present year and my first year as a volunteer for Finnish Association for Nature Conservation and the development projects in Madagascar.
I started the volunteering in March when Elina, the Development Cooperation Coordinator of FANC, was looking for new volunteers in Facebook. I am passionate about nature conservation and I study tropical forestry and agroforestry in the University of Helsinki. Volunteering for this kind of projects was something I had wanted to do already for a long time.
After the first meeting with new volunteers in March has happened a lot.
First, we collected work clothing donations for the reforestation team in Madagascar. My friends and family donated generously raincoats, rubber boots and trainers. One of the highlights of my time as a volunteer was to see a photo of a Madagascan reforestation team member wearing my friend’s used trainers that he was wearing when he finished his first marathon. It is extremely satisfying and motivational to see concretely how the help is reaching the destination.
In May I spent two sunny days in World Village Festival, where we sold Madagascan handicrafts made by Menalamba women and told the festival visitors about the development projects. This December we have plans to go to sell handicrafts on a local Christmas markets, and as a big fan of Christmas, I am super excited about this!
Apart from this, I have written some blog texts and made Facebook updates on the project page, planned new fundraising possibilities for the project and learned about the project management and fundraising possibilities for the NGO’s and development projects.
When I graduate the university, I wish to find work in the field of nature conservation and development cooperation. I want to support the valuable development work in Madagascar by volunteering, but the same time the volunteering has given me a lot of work-life skills for the future. Besides, I have met some new amazing people!
Did you get interested and want to join our team of volunteers in Finland? Please contact the Development Cooperation Coordinator Elina Mähönen by e-mail, elina.mahonen(at)sll.fi.
Text: Laura Blomberg, volunteer
Picture: Riikka Pusila, volunteer