Physiotherapist, Caregiver, Volunteer: An Unforgettable Experience at NPH Mexico
Spanish year-long volunteer Amara Palacio describes how empowering it is to support vulnerable children.
December 13, 2019 - Mexico
Young people often dream of a better world: more fair, equal, and inclusive. A world where all people have equal opportunities regardless of their origin, race, sex, or religion.
To help make this dream come true I chose to give back to the world and society that have given me so much. I chose to collaborate with an NGO (nongovernmental organization) and dedicate my time, effort, and knowledge to supporting those who have not had the luck or opportunities that I have had. I chose NPH because I understand that children are often innocent victims of this society we are building. Often they are also the most helpless, suffering the most cruelty with the least capacity to defend themselves.
I found NPH through a Spanish physiotherapist website that advertises collaboration projects and volunteer opportunities. After graduating from university, I spent a year working in the Basque region of Spain as a physiotherapist in a clinic serving both children and adults. It was a comfortable life, living in my parent’s house with few worries or responsibilities. As soon as I discovered NPH and began to investigate, I knew this was the opportunity for me, so I completed my application and sent my request.
The moment I found out that I had been selected to live out this adventure, a great wave of joy flooded over me. Then, expectations and fears of living in NPH Mexico for a year began to appear. It started to dawn on me that this was going to be a huge change for me: a radical turn in my life.
The reality has far exceeded my expectations.
I originally thought NPH was an orphanage where children stayed temporarily until they found a new place to go. I could not have been more wrong. NPH is not just a home for children; we are a big family and a place that gives vulnerable children the opportunity to grow and become what they have always dreamed of, to have a chance, to be able to dream and make those dreams come true.
I have been here almost five months. The reception I received from the children and staff was more than I imagined. They greatly value having volunteers and the help we can offer them.
The first week I began a rotation through the girls’ homes to decide where I would work for the year. It was a great way to meet all the girls in the house: spending whole days with them, joining in their routines and activities. In a very short time I created great bonds with many girls and gradually got to know them better.
Without any doubt, one of my best days so far was when I told the girls in my current casita that I would be working with them all year. They were elated and showed me so much love. It was incredible and unforgettable.
My second job is working in the clinic as a physiotherapist with children mainly, but also with anyone who needs my services. It is a job that I love. With my own hands, I can help the children. Unfortunately, there are many who need it. But it is very gratifying to see how I can make them feel better and how they thank me with the little they have.
One of my greatest achievements happened here in the clinic. There was a boy who could not play football, which he liked to do most afternoons. He had broken some bones in his foot a few months ago. Together we began an intense rehabilitation with many different exercises. Then finally one day he was able to run and play again. Without a doubt, when I saw him playing football with his friends, it was the best moment since I’d arrived.
Something else that has caught my attention is the children are super-generous. The little they have they share with others, no matter what.
These past five months have flown by so quickly. But, at the same time, so many things have happened that make me feel I have been here my whole life. I hope this feeling doesn't disappear.
Finally, I hope my work and effort help even a little the girls and boys who need it and that my contribution can create even a small change in their lives.
Interested in following in Amara Palacio’s footsteps and becoming a volunteer at NPH? Do you want to use your skills to support vulnerable children? Looking for a new challenge? Visit nph.org.
NPH Mexico Volunteer