VOLUNTEER WITH RISE ABOVE

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VOLUNTEER WITH RISE ABOVE

Lone Nilsen, from Denmark, quit her job, sold her apartment to come to the Philippines and work as a volunteer for the Rise Above Foundation.  She learned about the program from her best friend who had completed her internship with one of the Rise Above’s programs about six years ago.

She is now working as a coordinator for about 70 Danish students who will complete their internship with Rise Above. This is a new position which comes with no job description. Every day is different.  That is why working closely with Elisabeth and Flemming is important, who founded Rise Above. “She is a great help to us”, says Elisabeth.

As a coordinator Lone helps with practical matters such as which jeepney (local transportation) to take. Only arriving a month before the students, I ask her if it is not difficult to advice others when she herself is new to Cebu. She says that if she does not know, she asks around. People here are so friendly. If they see that you look lost, they will come up to you and ask if you need help, even if you are a stranger. That would never happen in Denmark.  The students also come to Lone if they have a professional question, if they are experiencing homesickness, or if they simply just want to talk. She gets to meet a lot of people and the job is never boring.

I ask if it is difficult to implement what the students have learned into the Philippine society. Philippines is very different from Denmark, Lone says. There are differences in terms of work, values and economical background. In the Philippines children are taught how to survive at a very early age. It is tough for the students to witness the conditions these children grow up in. However, the students learn early that they have to adapt to the situation and that there will always be cultural barriers.

Lone visits the Danish interns regularly at their respective institutions. The children in the different institutions need a lot of TLC - Tender Loving Care.

In July Lone will end her six months stay here in Philippines. She would like to do the same kind of work in another country. When I asked if she would like to return to Philippines, she answered, “definitely”.

“Philippines is an amazing country because of its people. Here people smile with their eyes. Everybody wants to help each other. If you were to combine Danish society with the Philippines, you would have the perfect country. Its people give so much back. It is never boring. There are always new things to explore”, says Lone.

Written by Kathrine Canillo

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