The more we give, the happier we feel. It’s human nature to feel good after helping someone out, which is why volunteering can offer so many benefits. Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. The potential to gain valuable new skills whilst also offering help to others less fortunate than myself is something that really attracted me to apply for a volunteering project in Fiji.
I was delighted to be accepted onto the Women’s Empowerment Project, where I will be working with women and girls in the Dawasamu district of Fiji. This particular project interested me because equality is something that I believe is so important and should be present in all nations across the globe. I understand that I am fortunate to have the opportunities I have as a woman, and I am aware that this isn’t the same for women in other countries. In Fiji for example, households are typically patriarchal, and this perception has led to women not being viewed as “breadwinners”, and ultimately, they are less able to access resources and economic self-sufficiency. During my time in Fiji I will be coordinating and executing workshops in the Dawasamu region, in a continued effort to close the gender pay gap between men and women. The work I will be doing has the objective to give all women and girls access to equal opportunities such as education, jobs and health care, which is something we often take for granted.
As it stands 31% of the Fijian population are living in poverty, however, the Women’s Empowerment Projects that are running in Fiji have been proven to promote positive change. For example, an additional year in primary school education has the potential to increase a girl’s eventual wages by 10-20%, whilst an additional year in high school adds 15-25%. That being said, only 9% of the seats held in Fiji’s parliament are held by women, and the hope for the volunteering projects is to empower local women and further encourage them to become leaders in their communities and have their voices heard.
For me, this will be a trip of a lifetime and I can’t wait to be involved with a diverse variety of key initiatives to promote health and wellbeing from within the community. As well as volunteering, I will have the opportunity to explore Fiji as a whole by going on excursions which will allow me to fully immerse myself in the Fijian culture. I am sure that this trip will provide me with valuable skills which will benefit me both personally and professionally, and I am excited to be a part of it!