The HELP Model
If you're reading this, we know your heart is probably in the right place. We're guessing that you had a friend come with us and tell you about their experience or maybe you googled some form of "volunteer abroad" until you found this page hoping to learn how you can make a difference. The good news is: you can, and we are here to help you. The not as good news is: development work is hard and it's not for everyone. But we hope that for you, in your case, you're up to the challenge.
We've seen our fair share of failure. Projects that we thought are awesome that ended up not being in the right cultural context. Lessons that were planned with careful preparation that don't get across as well as hoped. Planting the wrong seeds, guessing wrong on what comes first - the teacher or the school, and feeling discouraged when how we want to help isn't how people want to be helped. But the good thing about failure, if you don't get discouraged and give up, is you learn and you get better.
Over the years we have learned a lot and we have come up with a model in how to do development work that really can make an impact. With groups of hard working volunteers and interns we have seen amazing projects and things working better than we ever had imagined. Growth in individuals and communities that come from themselves, that we can't take credit for other than to claim that we were there and aided in some small part of the process. You see, although you'll play an important role, and you will network and plan and explain and research and encourage - the real answer to overcoming poverty is the people themselves that you will be lucky enough to work with and learn from. But the kickstart, the initial belief that things can change for the better, the person to stand in an impoverished community and say "this isn't fair" - where you're born shouldn't get to dictate whether you live or die, that will be you. And for that, we owe a lot to you.
We HELP Staff have worked in a lot of places around the world and we've seen a lot of unfair situations that we really want to improve, but we can't be everywhere at once. We need you. We need hardworking, problem solving individuals to step up to the challenge and join our team. If you're looking for a volunteer experience where every hour is planned and you are given one big project to do and leave, this program isn't for you. If you're looking for an easy way to see a country while spending a few hours getting in some volunteer time just as a resume boost, this isn't for you. But if you want to be part of a team that is committed to change, committed to finding good partners on the ground, spending hours in meetings and lesson plans and teaching and learning and figuring out problems day in and day out as you attempt to improve the lives of those around you in the way that they need and want help, this is exactly for you. And we are excited to have you join us. If you're willing to put in the work, we will help you. We will facilitate the experience that you want, get you in the field that you are dying to see and work in, and help you reach your goals. This experience will be life changing and it should be. So reach out to us and let's chat. Apply for one of our teams and interview. We hope that this is the experience that you've been looking for and we hope to welcome you into the HELP family.
Best of luck to you,
The HELP team