Rachel Ballantyne

Title
Volunteer Coordinator

Tell us a little about ROV and your role at the company.

ROV Staff

Rachel: At ROV I have the fantastic role of coordinating the International recruiting teams. Each year I get to meet, train, and aid recruiters around the world who are spreading the word about the exciting volunteering opportunities that Reach Out has to offer! Every person that I work alongside is enthusiastic, outgoing, and has a passion to do their part in making a difference in the world

How did you get involved in the volunteer industry?

Rachel: I started with ROV after being a volunteer on their South African program. If someone had asked me a year beforehand if I could see myself doing this type of job, I would have laughed! The African program changed my life, I saw a side to the world, that I could never turn my back on, I made friends with some of the most wonderful volunteers from around the world, and I could see the difference I had made. SO! I worked hard, begged for jobs, and eventually made a ripple.

What makes ROV unique?

Rachel: ROV has so many unique components as a volunteer organisation. It starts in the office, where all of the communications are dealt with. Everyone who works in there are passionate about the job, they're the brains, and they are infinitely friendly and easy going. Then you have the recruiters, they're a big supportive family, who work hard, to see results in third world countries around the world.

THEN you have the volunteers and the programs. Each volunteer that comes through is selected carefully from their application, they display a desire to change the world, to have the experience of a life time, and to be a part of a cultural community! I also think the ROV programs are perfectly structured. Every single program, whether it be in Africa, Asia, or South America combines three very important elements. There's the cultural immersion aspect, the wildlife conservation aspect, and the community development aspect - ROV volunteers come away with having experienced all three of those in 2 weeks!! Phew! Thats a busy two weeks!

How do you ensure your programs are sustainable and mutually beneficial for you, the community, and the volunteers?

ROV volunteering abroad

Rachel: The sustainability of ROV projects in third world communities, is not a lightly handled task. ROV makes sure that we work alongside people within the community, people who can learn a trade through us (ie. house building) and be able to maintain the projects after we leave. We also source laboursmen and tools from within the communities, to help pump money back into the village. ROV also revisits projects to make sure everything is still running smoothly.

The volunteers find it to be a wonderful cultural experience being able to work alongside the locals from the communities we work within.They create friends for life, exchange Facebook details, and keep in touch. There are past volunteers who still go over to visit the communities (after the project is finished) and to visit their new friends. Not only is there a great deal of cultural learning being shared but there is also a great sense of leaving the completed projects in the very capable hands of the members of the communities that Reach Out Volunteers work in.

What does the future hold for ROV?

Rachel: The future for ROV that I see, is a biiigggg one! I see countries all over the world receiving aid from our volunteers. I can see us fulfilling our motto: Change the world; one village at a time. I know we'll finish entire villages, entire communities, entire states, countries, and continents. Everybody who comes through ROV is ready to change the world - with enough of these people, changing the world is a pretty simple task.