Learning in a village community

My name is Vilma Martínez. I am from the department of Intibucá, Honduras. My stay in Finland as a volunteer is wonderful. I volunteer in Myllylähde, a village community of adults with special needs. My work consists mostly of supporting the villagers, but also performing tasks in several other areas, such as biodynamic agriculture, in which together with the villagers I harvest berries, fruits and vegetables that we have sowed. We clean, sort and pack them for storage. Berries, fruits and vegetables such as cranberries, strawberries, plums, apples, potatoes, onions, beetroots, carrots and green beans.

In the weavers’ workshop of the community, I learnt to make table runners, tablecloths with felt balls and to create flowers out of leaves. I also participated here in activities such as the choir, eurhythmy, painting and Finnish courses.

Myllylähde gives people with special needs an opportunity to participate effectively in the life of the community by letting them develop their abilities and skills by producing, sharing and living together in a fraternal community. Myllylähde has given me a chance to develop my abilities to support people with special needs. I think that volunteering here requires and has offed me a chance to develop further, teamwork skills as well as skills to learn, help, teach and lead group work. I have also developed further my organisational skills as well as different ways of working that help to improve the quality of the work.

I have travelled to and discovered another country with a totally different language. I have participated in two trainings in which I have lived together with volunteers from different countries and shared experiences with them. International volunteering with learning a new language and meeting people from different cultural backgrounds has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge, which in the future might help me in finding an enjoyable job.

“As a volunteer, I have realized that helping others is actually helping oneself. It has allowed me to see my life in a new way.”

Volunteering here makes me grow day by day as a human and professionally as well. It is my ambition to keep expanding my knowledge by travelling and discovering other cultures, and to find an inspiring job where I can use my abilities. It is my aspiration to help my family and continue volunteering to make societies better.

As a volunteer, I have realized that helping others is actually helping oneself. It has allowed me to see my life in a new way. What is evident in many ways is a distinct before and after period in voluntary service because voluntary work is full of new learning experiences, which starts the moment you decide to place yourself at the service of others.

Vilma Martínez

Vilma did a European Voluntary Service volunteering period in Myllylähde Community in Hämeenkoski is a part of an Erasmus+ Key Action 2 project  “Skills and Competences for a Global World”. The project aims to strengthen the non-formal and intercultural learning impacts on the volunteers and to investigate these impacts in terms of the skills and competences they gain.