After working in Casa Luz with children, I have now had a fantastic opportunity working with elderly homeless men. These men have many different problems from mental illness, severe disabilities, long term illnesses and also addictions to alcohol and drugs.
My daily responsibilities have varied from administering medication, cooking, helping with donations, general hygiene such as cutting nails, hair and shaving the men. Helping the disabled men with meals, taking the men out for exercise and the general care of the men (especially emotional care as the men have no family and enjoy the company of others).
This project has been a very personal achievement for me as it has made me understand the needs of these kind of people and what is desired from a person working closely with them. Not only have I developed on a personal level but I believe I have developed further skills for future employment.
I am able to connect with people on all levels and use my initiative to gain more understanding of the specific needs of others.
I believe this opportunity will help me in the future because my personable skills and the ability to work with others has been greatly improved. I had these skills in all my previous employments but now I feel I can look to work in other areas once I return to the UK.
I would also like to add that without this project welcoming me with opening arms, recognizing my potential and allowing me to flourish with their full support, none of this would have been possible
Penny Birch, long-term EVS (European Voluntary project) volunteer
Project supported by the EACEA and the Youth In Action programme of the European Commission.