Zambia Country Coordinator
What attracted you to volunteering with TWAM and to this role in particular?
A friend introduced me to TWAM soon after I retired from an admin and personnel background in the Armed Forces. With my background this role seemed ideally suited to me. Having served in Sierra Leone and been involved in charitable projects whilst out there, I was not convinced that just giving money to people was the best solution and TWAM’s concept of giving tools seemed the right way to help those in need.
What is most inspiring about volunteering as a country coordinator?
It has to be the people I support. Meeting them and seeing what they are trying to do is inspirational. I am also hugely impressed by the TWAM team I work with for the dedication and support they freely give to help their fellow human beings. When I see people with so little, this gives me the motivation I need to tackle my role.
And what part of the role is most challenging?
Maintaining an overview is one; I receive hundreds of applications and dispatch 10 containers each year. I need to keep everyone well informed and ensure that everyone is treated fairly. Another challenge is timing - making the offer of tools so that applicants are not waiting too long after paying their shipping contribution and finally just developing a greater understanding of the country itself.
What is your most memorable moment whilst doing this role?
It depends whether you want memorable good or memorable bad! I have had a loaded weapon pointed at me in DR Congo whilst travelling to the other side of Zambia but conversely visiting a group in the slums of Lusaka and seeing the conditions the people we support live in is all the motivation I need.
What would you say you have gained from this role?
A real sense of purpose. I can continue to use the skills gained during my working life. I have met some amazing people and developed many friendships in Zambia which has enriched me and hopefully made me a better person
Why would you recommend volunteering with TWAM to other people?
I would recommend volunteering with TWAM to anyone who is looking for a challenge, a need for a sense of purpose and a chance to help those worse off than themselves. TWAM offers a very different model to most other charities and means someone can apply skills and talents in an environment which allows original thought, self-reliance, initiative and a chance to make a real difference.