Staff Spotlight: Sarah West

woman at taj mahal

What position do you hold at PoD and why do you like working there?

Sarah: I work as PoD’s Volunteer and Charity Manager based in Nepal. I love working for PoD as I believe in the good that we are able to do. I can see first hand day in and day out the positive effect that we, as an organisation, are able to have; this is hugely rewarding. I am also extremely grateful for the opportunity to work and live in another country and culture, and for the constant support, guidance and opportunities to learn that I am presented with by PoD.

Did you volunteer abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?

Sarah: I volunteered abroad in the summer of 2013 in Nepal. I have always volunteered for various charities and it is something I feel is very important and I am very passionate about. Due to the nature of my previous employment, I had 6 weeks off in the summer months and so I decided to take the opportunity to volunteer abroad. I had spent time previously travelling around Asia and loved the different cultures and experiences that were available; Nepal as a destination really grabbed me and as I read up on PoD’s work there, I felt that I would be able to contribute something to the placements.

What does the future hold for PoD - any exciting new programs to share?

Sarah: In Nepal, we are going to be running Sexual Health and Growing up classes for many of the young people whom we work closely with; this is vital as in Nepal, these topics are not openly discussed as so young people never learn about what growing up means.

We have also opened up a new placement for our volunteers; working on Saturday mornings at SOS Bahini, a centre for girls whom have been rescued from or are deemed at risk of sex trafficking. This program has been running for a few weeks and has been working really well. Our volunteers have been organising storytelling sessions, dance classes, jewellery making, games and arts and crafts; the aim of this project is to provide the girls with some fun recreational activities where they can attend and just simply enjoy themselves.

How does your organization differ from other ones in the industry?

Sarah: PoD works from a strong ethical basis and always keeps this as the first and foremost priority. One of the key principles for PoD, which I feel differs it from other organisations in the industry, is that the placements we support are able to sustain themselves without the support of PoD; that we enhance and improve the services provided but that the goal is that they are able to support themselves fully.

What is one thing you would tell any future volunteer?

Sarah: Make sure you research the organisation you are volunteering with, and ensure you are completely comfortable with the ethics that they work by.

How do you think volunteer abroad will change over the next 10 years?

Sarah: My hope that volunteering abroad will become a bigger industry however that more organisations prioritise the sustainability and ethical principles that they operate by.