Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with European Disaster Volunteers in the Philippines?
Scott: I decided to volunteer with the EDV in the Philippines for various reasons really. I researched the proposed EDV projects and thought they were all achievable and well prioritized. Specifically, the building project of the evac centre for 100 families. I also believe in the EDV's approach to their work. They are a volunteer led charity who carry their work out in a very gentle way, by forging strong and very real ties, with local communities and partners. I talk about my past experiences volunteering in Thailand, and a friend at work was excited about trying it, so we decided to go help build. He loved it!! So from there I looked at the EDV because friends of mine are involved with them and another friend, whom I met in Thailand, was in the Philippines already on site. I hope to apply for a grant in August that may help me to return to the Philippines for longer. When you start volunteering it gets under your skin, and it will always lead to more really cool things.
If you could go back and do something different, what would it be?
Scott: If I could go back I would change how long I spent there. I wish I could have stayed as long as it took. If I had more time I would have liked to help on other projects too. It would've been good to help build a rescue boat. Andrew and I are trying to get the £500 needed to fund one though. I would have also loved to be part of the erosion control measures, the appeal being the scale of the work.We also went at the height of summer so it was really hot, which is fine, but a little cooler would have been perfect!
Do you feel like you made a significant impact on the local community? Why or why not?
Scott: Andrew and I were only on site for 10 days, so in that time it's difficult to make a big impact on the actual building, though we were proud of what we did achieve. We hope we made a real impact on the local workers, partners and all the people we met. We were among the first people on site for the EDV so hopefully we made a good first impression and helped ease the way for future volunteers.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Scott: This has only been my second volunteer experience, but I believe each experience will be different on many levels. Each and every one will be awesome as well as very humbling, rewarding and challenging. AND you get to meet lots of really cool people, some of whom will become your friends for life, and have some remarkable memories. Volunteering has definitely had an effect on me. It is currently, and I think will always be, something I strive to do. Thus, it inherently affects my life because it's a passion, and when life is not getting in the way, that is what I will be doing, somewhere.