My name is Arnaud Fayet , I am 24 years old, I am half French half Vietnamese .
I was born in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh city from a French father and Vietnamese mother , I used to live and studied there . I quit school at 16 , i didn’t liked school much , I wanted to work and earn my money.
I used to go to France every summer to visit mt grand parents and aunt . At the age of 18, I decided to live in France , in Lyon, with them .
I did my own volunteering service for nine months which I worked in a school and an association strugglling against AIDS . Since , I’ve met and work with a lot of European people and volunteers , got me an idea to do in the near future .
After my volunteering, I found a job, which I stayed for three years , with an association who worked with a school of kids between 3 to 5 years old . The first year , I worked with kids with no disabilities ( in particularity ) , doing activities like sports or manual activities to progress their motricity . The last two years I’ve worked with a down syndrome kid doing the same activities and follow with the other kids.
At the same time during those years , every two months , I had two weeks of vacation but I decided to work . I worked with adults with any kind of disabilities . I travelled around France and other countries with them, taking care of them, helping for the shower, the food , drinking , medicine , going out, buying souvenirs etc …
I wanted to do my EVS for a long time , took me one year , taking the time for the project, the dates, some appointments to attend.
My name is Cristina, I am 27 years old and I am from the north of Spain. I’m already here for 6 months, but I can say that the Inspire experience is changing my life. I feel that I have a good growth in my personal and work life.
I am a social worker in love with animals, and when I found this opportunity, I knew it would be for me. I have good cooperation skills, listening, empathy and teamwork, and I thought I applied it well, but here you can discover new goals, needs and work paths, and how to apply your skills changes and improves when you work in a big group of volunteers. You learn to have more patience, to listen better, to understand society better and, in my case, to have a new sense of the sociological theories that I learned in college, it becomes more complete and diverse.
I had never worked in the field of disabilities before, but it was not supposed to be a problem, the adaptability to the programs is gradual and inclusive. I am learning a lot with my coworkers, about their cultures, countries and food, and together we overcome the challenges of work.
I remember the first impression I had of the appearance of the houses near the airport, I did not know if I was in Morocco or in Europe, but two days later I visited Sliema and Valletta and I believed in a mixture of Qatar and Ibiza. I hope to continue discovering the nicest spots of this island with the same enthusiasm as now.
I am very happy to live this experience, and I would repeat it thousands of times.
Hello my name is Hannah- Marie Büscher, I am 19 years old and a german volunteer at Inspire. The “German Red Cross” is the organisation which sent me to Malta and which helped me with the flat, the money and some other formal stuff. I finished the highschool in june 2017 and started this adventure in september . Now I am already 7 months in Marsaskala at Inspire and I am really happy and thankful that I have the possibility to be here. Two years ago I started thinking about a volunteer service in another country for one year, so I started to search in the internet for different opportunities. For me it was sure that I wanted to go to another country (preferably in a warm country with the sea and a lot of sunny days) help other people and do something different than learning and going to school.
Then I found Inspire and I was really enthusiastic because I saw that they combine the work with children and animals, like horses and rabbits. That was perfect for me since I already worked a little bit with children with down- syndrom and also in a riding therapy for kids with disabilities. So that is why I really wanted to go to Malta and work for Inspire that year and will hopefully learn a lot of new things and earn new skills. Now after the first 7 month I can say it was the best decision I have ever made. I already learned so much about children with autism, how they see the world, how they try to handle the daily routine, how to take care of them, how we can help them to live their own lifes and make it easier for them to understand us. I recognized that they do not communicate with words but more with body language. Moreover I notice that the kids understand things better when they have the possibility to see them so that is the reason why we use visuals as well as words in our therapies. The difficulty is that every child is different and that there are so many varieties of autism some kids have huge problems with their disability and some can handle it very good. At last it is very nice to see their development, how they learn to handle situations better or how they start to learn to communicate with other kids or adults. The children and the horses are not the only tasks for me as a volunteer but I think you will find a lot of information on the Website itself. If you really want to know how a workday looks like come to Inspire yourself and make your own experiences it is really worth it.
Another really good thing at Inspire are the other volunteers from many different countries. After a very short time we were like a big family because the “old volunteers” are very friendly and were always helping me to understand everything and that I find my way around very fast. We also do a lot of stuff in our free time together and definitely enjoy the time and all the adventures here together. In addition I live together with two other girls from the “German Red Cross” so we can communicate after the work which is really nice. Moreover there are also three other “German Red Cross volunteers” in other projects on Malta. We all are really good friend and we already know each other before we went to Malta because we had a training in Germany together.
So in this 7 months I saw so many beautiful things, I went to amazing festivals and just had a great time. Malta is a very small island that is right but it is also the most beautiful place I have ever seen. The nature is picturesque and amazing, the sea, the sunsets, the architecture and first of all the local people. I hope that the next 5 month will be as great as the first 7, that I will have the chance to even learn more about the autism children, the language, the country, the history and that I will earn more incredible experience and impressions.
‘Aspire to Inspire before we Expire’. This is a quote I caught a glimpse of on a building in Limerick city; home to the University of Limerick which I was attending before I came here to Malta. This quote sparked my interest and made me contemplate on the aspiring and inspiring individual I wish to become. I strive to be ambitious, hopeful, enthusiastic, uplifting and motivating and so I felt Inspire Foundation, Malta would be the perfect place.
My name’s Emer and I’ve grown up in small rural part of Ireland. I had started the first few weeks of 3rd year Sports and Exercise Sciences degree in university when I was unanticipatedly offered this incredible opportunity to volunteer with Inspire in Malta. It was a massive decision for me as I had to quickly pack up and leave my family, friends, university and work all within a couple of weeks. It was a complete 180 degree change in my lifestyle as I felt I was in a high pressured environment at home attempting to balance college, work and sport. I am thrilled and happy that I made the right decision to join the Inspire team in Malta as it has given me that year break from stress where I can give back to the community, learn more about my interests and passions, immerse myself in a multicultural environment, meet new amazing friends for life, open my mind to new experiences and attempt to grow as a better person.
On the 9th of October I arrived in Malta wearing layers of clothes to reduce my luggage weight and I was almost ready to pass out in the taxi with the heat. As the taxi parked up outside my apartment I felt a small bit anxious as to how well I would connect with my new flat mates. I was greeted outside by my new flattie Myriam who without hesitation helped me to pull my big suitcase up a flight of stairs. As I entered the flat I was welcomed warmly by more volunteers which I was really grateful for as I immediately felt safe and comfortable in my new home.
The following morning I attended the Induction where I was given a quick tour of all the facilities and a breakdown of my role as a volunteer. I felt super eager to get stuck in and familiar with the ropes and daily routine of the Inspire team. For my first few weeks I worked mostly in the Therapeutic Horse Riding area. It takes some time for you to become confident and at ease with the horses but I was determined to get to that stage and once I did I had the best of fun working with the horses and the children during the sessions. It’s rewarding to see children with disabilities who may be uneasy, hesitant and upset at the beginning of the session but once they hop on the horse they are suddenly calm, joyful and enjoy the session.
Moreover I have thoroughly enjoyed and I am very grateful to have experienced the work of Inspire in various areas, including; Multi-Sensory Rooms, Therapeutic Arts and Crafts, Aqua Therapy, Occupational Therapy Sessions, Speech and Language Sessions, Fund-raising, Charity Shop, Administration, Swimming Lessons, and Research.
Almost 5 months into my volunteer experience here and I am enjoying and making the most of every day more than ever. Furthermore I have challenged myself and I am taking great pleasure in teaching English to my fellow volunteers and also performing research in relation to the benefits of Therapeutic Horse Riding in children with Autism. I value enormously the friendships I have made here, they for sure will be friends for life. My eyes have been completely opened to lives of people with Autism. You never fully realise or understand something unless you experience it first-hand yourself. After 5 months of observation and assistance to children with Autism they have really brought great pleasure and joy to me. Likewise I feel passionate about making the lives of people with disabilities more independent, fulfilling and enjoyable.
Finally I am equally excited for the second half of my EVS voluntary experience here, to learn, love and laugh more ❤
Hello, my name is Cathi, I’m 19 years old and I come from Lyon (France). After finishing my year of study I took a gap year because I still did not know what to do after my CAP Sales, then in late March early May I completed a training of 4 months in the field of sport & education. Once my training finished I still wanted to make a new experience but someplace different. My local mission counselor suggested that I work as a volunteer in an association called Inspire in Malta. I had never heard of this country and this association and thanks to Myriams willingness to share her experience as a volunteer I was eager to begin this opportunity in Malta and Inspire.
I am happy to have come to Malta because I wanted to leave Lyon to change my mindset and to question myself and also to gain experience in the field of childcare because I would like to work in this sector one day.
I arrived in Malta on October 9th. This departure was very new for me in the sense that in France I lived with my parents and I did not have much experience in the world of work and I did not fully practice the English language. I also received a very nice welcome from my roommates and some volunteers.
While working here my first impression was that I would enjoy the work at Inspire and my new life. I wondered if it would be difficult for me to integrate into the Inspire volunteer group as I had just arrived and I hardly spoke any English. I asked myself a lot of questions at that time and I was hoping to get along with everyone and also succeed in my new workplace.
I got to a point where I said to myself “a new page is turning, here I am in my new home.”: It was the moment to change for me. Inspire is an association that makes you grow mentally and makes you look differently at people with disabilities and special needs. Children who are disabled are very endearing children who ask for just time and patience, they taught me to have patience and have time for people with disabilities because before I was afraid to approach them. Ever since I work with these people I am happy for the help that I can bring to them, the smiles on their faces make me understand that they are happy in spite of their problems at the time.
Today I do not regret coming here as a volunteer as I found my second family, the Inspire family. They are endearing people who love to laugh in any situation and they make an effort to get to know you, to understand you as a person and to help you whenever you need a friend. I met some nice people who help me to practice my English, to feel good, feel supported, they brought me forward enormously and I want to thank them.
I will never forget the moments spent with all the volunteers and this experience. These are memories that will always be engraved in me.
Thank you Inspire for a great time!
Hello, my name is Desiree, and I am 24 years old and I am from Spain. I have arrived in Malta on October 5.
My experience here is very positive. The center in which I work has different activities. The function of the volunteer is the support the children and the therapists helping them in the sessions, preparing sessions depends on the activity they are doing. Sometimes we have different activities for help Inspire to raise money like helping in marathon races.
The group of volunteers is very special. We do many things together – excursions, dinners, parties. We have a great time! We are all of different nationalities: Spain, France, Germany, Ireland, Greece … and among us we speak English. My main reason why I decided to come to Malta was for English and thanks to the support of all my colleagues in the center I have learned a lot. I encourage all the people to come to Inspire. It is a great experience.
My name is Pablo, I’m 26 and I come from Spain, from a little village in the frontier between Catalonia and Aragon. Since I was 18 years old my life has been related with the educational world. There, I had a job that I really loved, a group of friends, a family, a home… I think I could consider my job as a hobby. Contagious smiles of groups of children, surprise faces when they are learning new things, hugs, cries and complicity looks after 8 years learning altogether.
Coming to Malta was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. After working for a long time with different groups of children, people and friends, which we had set up links giving us security, calmness and happiness. The simple things, the routine the people you love. The comfort zone. Have you ever felt this? Yes, of course…
But, sometimes, some of us feel that this world is becoming small, that we need to jump and continue opening paths that we need to continue learning to grow up in a personal and professional way. In my case, I needed to move, to change, and I was just waiting for something to come up, some fresh wind to take the big step. I found it 2 months before I came to Malta with another volunteer experience in Paraguay, in a non-equality and poor context. There I realized that there was lots of things to see, lots of people to meet, lots of differences, lots of cultures and lessons to learn. There I understood that the world that we live in is not the same for everyone and so I wanted to experience different ways of life to comprehend what we have around us and in this way be empathic, respectful and openminded.
So with that, I took my bag and I filled it with some essential books, some music, pictures and I opened my arms to new people, new experiences and a new change!
And what better place than Inspire? I always had a doubt in my mind If was going to be able to work with people and children with disabilities and in which way I was going to manage these emotions around them. Now, after 5 months, I’m here, with the certainty that coming here was one of the best decisions I have ever taken. Every day is different, and there’s always something new that surprises me, that opens my eyes and make’s me smile and mature more.
Inspire has given us the opportunity to work with children and adults with autism. We work with therapeutic horse riding, art and many more programs. They have given to me a different view of our reality. People with extreme sensibility, with a world different to ours. For me, superkids! How many times I asked to myself what can they see, listen or feel. Working with them I could feel their frustration, panic, incomprehension, the difficulties to manage their emotions or communicate with some of them. But also, their abilities, skills, I have discovered with what things they feel comfortable, what they like or dislike, I learnt to interpret when they are happy and in which way they can communicate this when it is difficult for them. To work with children with disabilities requires to one be empathetic, patient and comprehensible…
In another way, work in Inspire is like working with a family. All the volunteers and workers make me feel as I found a second family here. We share experiences, discussions, and a lot of moments that make Malta one of the best experiences of my life and, for sure, I could transmit in the future to my own students.
Pablo Saurina Angas
My name is Nicola and I’m from Germany. I was born and raised in a small town near Mönchengladbach, in the west of Germany and as we never moved to another place, that is where I spent the last 18 years of my life. When I graduated from High school, I could not even think about staying in Germany to start studying – not with the whole world in front of my doorstep, waiting for me to be discovered. To me, it was always obvious that I won’t find myself or my place in this world while still in my small town borders, still in my comfort zone. So I thought about all the opportunities I had, going abroad. I wanted to try something I have never done before, in a place where I’ve never been before. But most importantly, I wanted to do something useful, I wanted to work in a place where I can improve other people’s lives and help them with whatever help they needed: All in all, I wanted to do something that matters to me, and to others. I applied at the German Red Cross organization which offered to send young volunteers to different European countries and projects. When I first read about Malta, I probably couldn’t have showed you where Malta is situated on the European map but everything about Inspire sounded interesting and exciting: The idea of inclusion, the wide range of different kinds of therapy (like for example horse therapy etc.) and the international features- so I applied.
On 30st August 2017, I sat in the plane on my way to Malta, together with my two German friends, flat mates and co-volunteers Hannah and Catherina. I could not wait to arrive, to see the island, meet all the new people and start my volunteer work. Today I can’t believe it`s been two months, as it feels like I’ve been living here for much longer. Inspire –and Malta- have given me the opportunity to see a lot of things from a different point of view and be open minded to new mentalities, lifestyles and ideas that have never occurred to me before. It would be a lie to say that I came here without any doubt or fear- but it is now that I realize how important it really was to make the decision and leave behind a life that was so familiar to me.
Inspire foundation turned out to be a welcoming and warm place where all different nationalities, mentalities and personalities come together and work hand in hand. My work as a volunteer is therefore quite diversified and I usually never get stuck in a daily routine. As there is always quite a traffic of volunteers at Inspire- volunteers come and go now and then- it’s not unusual to see new faces here and there and make contact to lots of different people from all over the world. Today I realized how integrated I already feel, compared to my first weeks here: Even if it’s just a friendly greeting from a staff member who remembers your name, enjoying a walk through the streets of Marsascala or starting to be familiar with the bus routes – sometimes it’s the little things that make me feel like I belong here.
As I have never worked with autistic children or people with disabilities before, my first weeks at Inspire were quite challenging for me. With the help of the supervisors and therapists, I learned how to deal and communicate with some of the kids, even if it was just by observing the behavior of other volunteers or tutors. I would still consider myself quite a beginner in this area, although it is now easier for me to put myself in the position of the client, to relate to their feelings and needs. After a little while, I got truly fascinated by the concept of autism and it is still interesting for me to follow the children’s progress in different areas, to find out more about the factors that make them either improve or worsen. Many therapists and supervisors are open for questions regarding the client and his/her behavior. Now, that the winter program has started, I am also needed in other areas to help with the admin work or prepare SOP sessions. Especially here, staff members always let you know how grateful they are for you being there and taking away a little bit of the stress and workload they cope with day by day. So even if there are days where my work at Inspire is far from world-shaking, I remind myself of the fact that even small things can have a big impact on how people feel and behave.
Apart from my work at Inspire, I have already seen a lot of Malta and experienced lots of small culture shocks. It seems to me that the German lifestyle is a lot about things that have to be done, things that need to function and systems that need to hold things at their place. I have experienced Malta as an island of many different facets: sunny and warm (also apart from the weather), loud and chaotic, international and open minded and at the same time quite traditional and religious, frolic and even carefree. I would have never thought that your environment would have such a big impact on the way you feel about yourself, but I actually do feel very different here, as this place makes me feel like everything is possible and I can become whoever I want to be. After all, I know that this is just the beginning of my adventure here in Malta and at Inspire and I am grateful for the opportunity to gain much more experience and learn a little bit more about myself in the next ten months.