My name is Jaime Chérigo, I am from Panama City, Panama, and I have been an active volunteer since October 2016. I work with several NGOs here in Panama, such as Voluntarios de Panamá (massive mobilization of volunteers for multiple causes), Adopta Bosque Panama (Environmental protection), Fundación Serenamente (Mental health), and others. When I started volunteering I had been through a difficult moment of crisis in my life and doing volunteer work was the perfect "medicine" that helped me recover from that crisis and also motivated me to continue moving forward.
From that moment on I have firmly believed that getting yourself involved in providing unconditional service for others is the best form of therapy one can get involved into. Doing volunteer work not only made me regain the joy of living, it also became one of my greatest passions and something that I want to continue doing for the rest of my life!
This fundraising campaign is titled "The dream of a volunteer" and by now you could be wondering - "What is exactly Jaime's dream about?" - Well, I'll tell you: In December 2019 a comrade volunteer named Liz told me about this wonderful program of the Israeli government called VOIS, which is a platform that allows people from all over the world to go and do a year or two of volunteer service in Israel. This is their official website: Volunteer in Israel - VOIS Program
Can you imagine a better opportunity for a passionate volunteer like me, than traveling to an amazing place with so much culture, history, and tradition, such as Israel, to do a year of volunteer work over there? And the best thing is that I would be able to learn many useful things that I can share with others later, when I come back. Here in Panama we are still in development and Israel is a first world country, there is so much that we can learn from them to help us improve the way we're currently able to provide this kind of services. Just thinking about it draws a huge smile on my face!
VOIS program offers everyone the opportunity to volunteer for one of several NGOs, some of them work with children, others with elderly people, others with autistic adults, and so on. There are many options available. You can find more information on the following video:
This program's representative for Brazil and other countries of Latin America is called VOW I initially contacted VOIS personnel in January of this year and they then referred me to Paola Carvalho, the coordinator of VOW in Brazil. She is the one who has been guiding me and giving me all the information about the requisites needed to be eligible for this opportunity. Once I get to Israel the NGO I will be working with will take care of all expenses related to accommodation (Shelter), food, transportation, and moderate day-to-day expenses. Nonetheless, there are a series of things I need to cover on my own before I can successfully apply to this program. I will provide you with a list of them and the approximate cost of each:
- Round trip plane tickets - $1,500
- Travel & health insurance (1 year) - $500
- The program's administrative fee - $300
- Passport renovation - $100
- Document validation expenses - $100
All of this amounts to an approximate of $2500 in expenses (plus $500 for any eventualities that could come along) that I need to collect before the end of May 2020, so I can make my dream come true. As a professional, I'm freelance graphic designer and my work provides enough for my maintenance and everyday expenses, but not much more. I dedicate plenty of my time to non-profit social causes, and I truly love this, but it makes it a little bit difficult to get the money just by working on my own as a freelancer, and it's why I'm here asking for your help.
I have never done a Crowdfunding campaign before, but I have a good reference from friends who have received from backers the aid and support they needed to make their dreams come true. After being a volunteer for several years I've truly learnt to believe in the kindness of strangers, this is why I have no doubt I will find people who will also believe in my dream and help me reach it.
Do you happen to be one of them? Thank you for your support and God bless you!