Our volunteer teams make a difference. Not just on the people or community benefiting from the project they work on (such as a new latrine, a house or a water-retention structure), but also on the participants themselves.
Volunteers return home with their eyes and hearts opened and their world perspectives changed. They return with long-lasting memories and friendships based on sharing experiences that are deeply personal and touching.
We have long-term partnerships with the charities abroad where we send volunteer teams so we know they are reliable and that our projects are followed through to completion. Those partners also guide what projects are tackled based on community need and priorities.
Our projects must be sustainable, community-led, allow for volunteer service and alleviate poverty or promote human rights and empowerment.
The first country where DWC volunteers ever got their hands dirty was Sri Lanka. The devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami sparked the organization into action. Since then, DWC has worked in the Tangalle region of Sri Lanka to help rebuild homes and lives. Volunteers have built 29 new homes, a community centre, prayer building, playground and a shop. English language and computer skills training have been provided for more than 100 students. Tuition and scholarships have been awarded to dozens of students.
DWC has since expanded to serve in more than a dozen countries. As some projects have ended, so too have our ties to some countries. We currently send teams to nine countries on three continents.
Here are a few of our success stories:
Our volunteers worked alongside the villagers of Chamcar Bei to build a community centre and playground and water structures to provide clean drinking water. They have also provided well-bred goats and cows, and constructed latrines and 13 ‘dream homes’ that are modest by developed-world standards, but are far more comfortable, safe and sheltered than what some of the community’s poorest families have been living in.
The average life expectancy is only 33 years in Swaziland. Volunteers built a community centre for people affected by HIV/AIDS to get crucial training so they can earn an income. Several homes for child-led families were built, as well as community care places that provide daily meals and education to orphaned children.
In Guatemala, 1,500 children now have a safe, welcoming place to go each day after school and a place to learn if they cannot afford to go to school. Teams worked on the school and an attached community kitchen with the Open Windows Foundation, an organization that has become a major community support in an agricultural part of Guatemala where most families barely earn enough to keep a roof over their heads.
In the parched Rajasthan region, our volunteers worked with villagers to dig trenches and build sub-surface dams to retain monsoon water. The water is used to irrigate crops through the dry season. Better and more frequent harvests for the villagers means more income to buy livestock and pay for healthcare and education.