Volunteering is for everyone regardless of age. Even retired individuals can enjoy retirement whilst traveling, volunteering, and making a difference. We will share with you Heini’s story.
Heini at the Nutrition Project for the sponsored children under the Dumpsite Project
Heini retired from his job in 2010. Since then, he has participated in volunteer programs in many countries like Costa Rica, Vietnam, India, China, Thailand, and the Philippines. Among the projects Heini volunteered with were house construction for less privileged people, teaching English at a child care facility, and helping out at the community.
Heini with his host mother
For several years in a row, Heini would come back to the Philippines. It’s not solely to visit, but to volunteer as well. We asked him why he keeps doing it. He answered, “the Philippines is my favorite place to do volunteer work at.”
Heini first learned about VFV as he was searching the internet for a volunteer program abroad. He found VFV, and out of several projects being offered, Heini chose the boys rehabilitation centre project. The boys rehabilitation centre became Heini’s first project with VFV for 3 weeks in 2012. Heini combined teaching English with some digital photography lessons. He shared how working with the boys was a great experience for him and he had so much fun.
Heini met many amazing people during his first volunteer program with VFV. He built relationships with the boys and staff of the rehabilitation centre, VFV staff, his host family, and people from the community. In fact, Heini is still in contact with most people he first met in 2012. These same people are the reason why he keeps coming back. He came back each year from 2016-2018. And he plans to visit again this coming November! He intends to volunteer too. Isn’t it awesome?
Heini with his fellow volunteers and project coordinator
Since returning to the Philippines, Heini has been involved with the child care facility and nutrition project as well. The Nutrition Project is Heini’s perfect place to work with because it helps the children under the Dumpsite Project. The Dumpsite Projects helps former child laborers go to school, receive medical aid, and get one nutritious meal a day. To top it off, Heini has taken a liking to Rico, the Nutrition Project Coordinator. Heini considers Rico his bestfriend in Tacloban.
Heini also divulged that he has sponsored a 14 year old girl from the Dumpsite Project two years ago. Since he keeps coming back to volunteer, he is able to meet his sponsored child and see her progress.
Heini with the VFV staff
What has Heini to say about his experiences thus far? He’s impressed with the amazing work that VFV does, especially for children from underprivileged backgrounds. And for anyone interested in a volunteer program abroad, he highly recommends VFV. The homestay aspect of the program is great too. Staying with a host family gave him the opportunity to experience the locals’ way of life, taste delicious local foods. And he met lovely people who became friends.
Heini’s story tells us there are ways to enjoy retirement. And not simply enjoying, but giving it a meaningful touch.