By Laila Borrie for the City of The Hague
First published in ACCESS Spring 2014 e-zine
Are you considering the possibility of volunteering your time and expertise but thought that it wasn’t an option because you don’t speak any Dutch?
Enter PEP (Participation Emancipation Professionals) with their online database full of great volunteering opportunities that matches English speaking residents with an organisation looking for their services.
The dynamics of something are best understood by being a part of it, so I decided to spend the day as a volunteer at Gender Concerns International. In the close knit team of outstanding professionals from various parts of the globe, who are committed to the promotion of a Gender equal society, I felt right at home.
Arriving at the office
Things were clearly very busy when I met Nienke Jansen – the manager and coordinator, who was warm and welcoming. As we sipped on our coffee, she spoke about the organisation and their goals. “I really wanted to contribute to establishing a gender equal society,” she said.
My project for the day
I met briefly with the founder and director Ms. Sabra Bano, a charismatic and very passionate advocate for her cause. She pointed out that while volunteering could be a source of help, it required a level of commitment and expertise that would foster a mutually beneficial relationship.
As my background is in graphic design, Ms. Bano thought I could work on the Libya project. A billboard campaign is being designed to encourage women to vote and take a more active role politically and make their voices heard.
The brief was difficult to fulfill because women in Libya must be depicted in no way other than -symbolically. This really brought home to me what an important role Gender Concerns International is playing in bringing our world more into balance. It also made me reflect on the liberties and rights we take for granted in the western world.
The Indonesian cake
At teatime there was delicious Indonesian cake, as it was the birthday of Joy Beaten- the Financial Interim Manager. After 30-plus years of enjoying a very successful career, Joy said he felt he needed to give something back to society.
Being around such motivated people was inspiring and I had a lot to think about as I left the GCI office. Volunteering can be so rewarding and the start of a mutually beneficial relationship. If you feel inspired to contribute your skills, expertise and make a difference, please visit the PEP page for many volunteer opportunities.
Gender Concerns International is a developmental organisation that works to promote women as agents for change and development.
Municipality of The Hague
06 3008 5371
070 302 4444