Great to have you as part of our Most Wanted Roman, thank you! Where are you in the world & how are you? I know you were recently in Brazil, did you leave there pre-pandemic?
First of all, thanks for having me. Right now, I am in different parts of the world, mentally-speaking. Why? Let‘s get back to this later on. Physically, I am in Aachen, at my parents house, and I am doing quite well, thanks!
Indeed, I have been in Brazil recently, from October to December. During my time there, I volunteered in a day care center, which offers children from difficult social backgrounds a perspective. Brazil is seriously affected by the coronavirus right now and luckily, I left pre-pandemic (my thoughts are with my friends in Brazil!).
Even more luckily, I did not go to Shanghai in February, where I would have learned Mandarin for two months and meet some friends of Gordian.
Pre-pandemic (such a strange way to frame or pinpoint time, but that’s the world we are in!), how has your life morphed? For better or worse I should add!
As Heraclitus said, change is the only constant in life. So it did not change for better or worse, it is just a lot different.
On the one hand, I had been frustrated that my journey to China has been cancelled due to the coronavirus (which is of course is a "First World Problem!"). On the other hand, I have the chance to devote my time and efforts to things like my donation campaign for the day care center I had worked for in Brazil.
For many of us (including myself), it is a bummer that social events like concerts and parties are cancelled due to the pandemic. In my opinion, social interaction is kind of a balm for the soul (at least most of the time).
However, there are still many things to be done, like preparing my studies, learning Spanish and so on. Sometimes it gets hard to decide what to do and how to prioritize (that’s where ODE comes into play!)
Haha, I do like that last point! You are very involved with your NGO work, maybe you could give me some insight into the type of work you do, the type of NGO’s you’ve worked for?
The first time I got in touch with social work was during my internship at a homeless shelter, which had been obligatory at my school. I really thrived at this work, so I continued to volunteer (this time, literally voluntarily) in my holidays, helping out at homeless shelters and collecting donations.
After finishing school, I wanted to travel to a country where I was able to help someone and moreover, dive into a new culture. Coincidentally, the institution I volunteered at before had connections to Brazil. I seized the opportunity and worked at a day care center for children in a small city in the state of Sao Paulo. The institution is called "Lar Sao Judas Tadeu" and is a refuge for poor and orphaned children since 1947.
Roman at the Centre he volunteered at, with students and fellow volunteers.
Is there any NGO work in particular that has stuck with you which you still advocate for?
For me, volunteering in a day care center for children has been the most exciting and valuable work.
Back in Brazil, I really had the impression that I was able to impart some kind of knowledge and values to the kids (at the age of 19 this might sound a little odd, but I was happy to share my life-experiences so far). I think that education should be handled with great emphasis, especially in a country like Brazil, where many children are deprived of school attendance and where the government misuses a lack of education and awareness for their own ends. Without the aforementioned education, children in Brazil will remain in a vicious circle of poverty and violence.
Is there any way people can continue to provide support to the day care centre you worked at? Maybe a website they can visit? Somewhere they could potentially donate?
Yes, there is an easy and transparent way to support the day care center I worked at. With the help of their organization, I recently launched a donation campaign for them.
12,50€ pays for an urgent aid package for one child for one month. This includes food, hygiene products and clothes (it’s written in detail on the website). Prospective shouldn’t be a privilege.
The money is directly and without any commissions transferred to the day car center (we publish bills and transfer receipts). Every donation is a huge blessing and really makes a difference!
When people are deciding to donate to something like this, do you feel they look at the criteria in the wrong way? Or, do you feel there is a way of looking at the criteria for the decision which would make the choice easier? (even though it really should be quite an easy decision!)
When it comes to make a donation to charity, everyone is different. There are people who have a good intuition on deciding whether a certain charity is “productive“ and trustworthy. However, there are also people who are too naive or too skeptical, which is reasonable.
There is fraud and crime going on in the world of charity, especially in 3rd world countries. Even established institutions aren’t that trustworthy (as reports revealed). Thus, there is an uncertainty that the donation might be misused.
I think that’s why it is great to get in touch with people who visited the institution themselves and can vouch for a sound and transparent use of donations. Moreover, transparency is key in such a matter. That’s why my campaign shares transfer receipts and bills directly with the donor. There is a detailed list what is needed on my website and how much everything costs.
Until the aid packages reach the kids, the donor can track his donation by means of our shared information. I am always open for questions and inquiries regarding my campaign:
Thank you for that and 'm glad we can highlight as well as give readers a way to help your mission and the charity.
We have just launched our new blueprint feature. I know you've used the ODE app before, maybe we/you could make a decision process which we can share with our community? We could do it on choosing a charity to donate to, choosing a training type, deciding on where to travel next? What do you think?
Again, congratulations on your project – as I said before, I think ODE has got a bright future ahead (I was really fascinated by the concept!).
Regarding the blueprint feature, the ideas you mentioned for the decision process are all great!
I think a decision process for a mixture of your last two suggestions, “choosing a training type“ and “deciding on where to travel next“, seems like a great idea. Due to the coronavirus our options of physical activities in gyms, public swimming pools and so on are limited. That’s why the current situation fosters alternatives: outdoor activities.
Before the coronavirus, I admittedly haven’t been a fan of this kind of activities. As of now, I really enjoy stuff like biking, hiking and canoeing. So I think for people like me, who haven’t discovered outdoor activities, and for outdoor enthusiasts, it would be a great and helpful decision process on which outdoor activity to discover next (including “adrenaline rushes“ such as paragliding, rock climbing or motor boating).
Possible decision-making factors could be: “adrenaline-factor“, distance, physical requirements, costs and environment (water, air etc.).
This would be fantastic and I would definitely plan my next trip with ODE!
And as promised with the last point there from Roman, here you can find the blueprint for outdoor activities. I have made it together in collaboration with Roman and the Team here in the ODE office. Enjoy!
As always, all the best from Potsdam. Until next time,
The Team at ODE ❤️