It is often said that a life of service is the key to fulfillment. This journey is a deeply personal one where we are faced with pertinent questions like ‘what is important to me?’ or ‘where can my time add value?’. The very act of giving something without expecting anything in return can be a valuable experience. Keeping The Kusasa Project functioning requires consistent funding, however, with 150 children needing to be tended to, we appreciate helping hands from volunteers who want to grow as a person while giving back.
The Kusasa Project reached out to two young volunteers to chat about their experiences while volunteering for us and why they would encourage others to do the same. Earlier this year, Jay Kermisch (19) from England volunteered for about six weeks, and Lexi Holgate (22), a local woman, spent nearly six months with us.
Volunteers support teachers and help children with their educational and social development, in and out of the classroom. Both are students, with Jay studying philosophy, politics, and economics and Lexi is studying psychology. Living roughly 13,000 km apart they sing similar praises for The Kusasa Academy. “It was amazing. I was very surprised by the quality of everything; the teachers, the people, and especially the kids, they were amazing,” says Jay. Lexi says: “I felt like I was a part of something, like a family. Whenever I come here, everyone embraces me. It just makes my day”.
What stands out the most about Jay and Lexi is what the children taught them, not what they taught the children. Jay explained that he was surprised by how bright and caring all the kids were, considering some of their backgrounds. “Their natural level of intelligence, greatness, and humour was all really incredible”.
“When I volunteer, I honestly feel a true sense of appreciation and worth. You don’t have to spend a crazy amount of money to help someone. You can offer your services without anything in exchange. That made me feel so enriched; I just feel whole,” says Lexi. After visiting us, she is not even out of the door when she is bombarded with hugs from a gaggle of happy children.
These two well-spoken volunteers knew why they signed up for the job, knowing that it would be hard work, fromworking in the kitchen to assisting regularly with our sports timetable.. “Every day
when I left, I thought that I would feel drained, but I just felt whole. I don’t even have another word for it, I just felt so ‘whole’,” explains Lexi. Likewise, for Jay, working as part of a team and working with the Kusasa-kids was enough compensation for his time.
Listening to them, it is clear a passion for helping their fellow human is instilled in both of them. Not only have they found a family away from home but Jay and Lexi advocate for this valuable experience. Throughout their time here, they have absorbed the nuances of the academy. Our passages are alive with the laughter and cheers of the Kusasa-kids and that was enticing enough for them to stay connected with us for years to come.
If you are interested in volunteering at The Kusasa Project, you’ll find more information here.