Alumni Spotlight: Rhianna Blanch

Rhianna Blanch volunteered in Tanzania from November 14th-29th 2011. She lives in Rockhampton Queensland, Australia. She's a 21-year-old full time university student studying psychology and working part-time as the manager of a psychology practice.

Why did you decide to volunteer with IVHQ in Tanzania?

Rhianna: I wanted to volunteer with IVHQ because they were the most affordable volunteering organisation that I could find. They also replied back to my email inquires very fast and also provided loads of helpful information about the program. IVHQ also had a Facebook page where I was able to talk to other people that have done this program.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Rhianna: My day would begin around 8:30am at the orphanage. I would teach math in the morning until about 10:30am and then I would have morning tea with the headmaster and the orphanage coordinator. Once the kids had finished their porridge and I finished my morning tea, I would play games with the children, run around with them and in general talk to them. After morning tea I would then go back to class and teach English for the rest of the afternoon. Lunch was about 1pm in which I ate with the headmaster and coordinator. After lunch, I would then play with the children until it was home time at about 2:00pm.

After volunteering, Rihanna has chosen to sponsor one of the orphanage children

What made this volunteer experience unique and special?

Rhianna: The most unique part of this experience was that we were able to get to know a lot of the locals at the volunteer house as IVHQ employs locals to work at the house. I meet some amazing people through this, some I still keep in contact with now.

The children were also the most special part of the volunteering experience. They are the most amazing like kids in the world. I also often had a number of local community members coming up to me off the street to say thank you for helping the children. It was very special to know that the community was thankful.

How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

Rhianna: I have definitely learned to appreciate the 'little things' now. I am very thankful that I live in a wonderful place. I have also sponsored one of the little girls in the orphanage (which will make this my second sponsor child). The orphanage often contacts me to let me know how she and the other students are going.

I definitely look at things such as poverty, sickness and homelessness in a different way now. Its easy to see how these kind of things all effect each other and the outcomes are often really devastating.