Helping Students at El-Shaddai

My name is Catherine Saria and through Africa Volunteer Corps I volunteer with an organization called the El-Shaddai Center. El-Shaddai provides help to 300 students who are living in poverty. The center provides students with school fees, clothes, food, spiritual guidance, and other things they need. All of the money to fund the center comes from individual student’s sponsors, who are located all over the world.

At El-Shaddai I work as a social worker, working alongside with Mr. Patrick, another social worker at the organization. I have been assigned different types of work such as: preparing education progress reports for students and sending the reports to their sponsors, and translating letters from sponsors to the students from English to Swahili. These materials allow the sponsors to see how their students are doing and to communicate with them about their experiences at El-Shaddai. I also prepare, organize and file student case studies, which track the student’s progress and development over time.

The most important and exciting day at my placement is Saturday, when all the children come together in the center. On Saturdays, I work with the teachers to help provide spiritual assistance, self-awareness skills, entrepreneurship skills and other skills that are useful to the students. The teachers host a variety of activities for the students to participate in and help students with spiritual assistance by teaching them about Christianity and the Bible.

I am most proud of my work preparing the students’ education progress reports. It is important for me to make sure that each student supported by El-Shaddai updates their education reports so we can track their progress. I am already learning so much, and the other staff members are very friendly. I am happy that I am learning about the organization and how to deal with different types of people from different backgrounds.

I applied to be a volunteer with AVC because I wanted to gain more work experience from an organization that deals with community development. I have learned many professional skills as a Volunteer, including helping the community with different problems and teaching them how to address their weaknesses. I have also learned to approach my work with a positive attitude, even though it can be frustrating sometimes. In the past I have gotten angry, but during my time with El-Shaddai I learned that it is better to find a peaceful way to handle things so that I can avoid being upset in front of the community.

In the future, I hope to run my own organization to help poor children. I think that during my time with El-Shaddai I have learned many of the skills necessary to be able to establish and operate an organization, as well as gaining valuable work experience as an AVC Volunteer.