The rewarding bonus of helping others!
August is the month of vacations, beach, rest, silly season and a special day: World Humanitarian Day! Celebrated annually on August 19th, the humanitarian aid takes us to the topic of this article: the help of our peers through volunteering.
Ana Mota is Product Manager at Fabamaq for over three years and takes decisions about several products daily. In October 2020, our Gamer discovered a new game where she can make a difference along with CASA - Centro de Apoio ao Sem Abrigo’s team.
We spoke with Ana to understand how her volunteering at CASA and professional demands can be reconciled and what advantages this kind of experience can bring to personal and professional growth. The result of this conversation is available to read below:
How did volunteering appear in your life?
Volunteering is something that I wanted to try for a long time. At the University I went to informative sessions about some projects and I never took a step forward.
In October 2020, I decided to move on with this idea because I had the same willingness, and the pandemic context left me with more free time. As a consequence, I decided that volunteering at CASA’s project would be a good way of investing my free time. I tried the first time, liked the experience, and now I have worked with them for a few months. I can say that this was a very positive decision for my life
What is the role of the institution?
Normally, I do my volunteer work once a week because the teams follow a plan structured by days. Sometimes I also do shifts on weekends when they need an element to complete the team. CASA has a solidary restaurant and teams on the street. I do my volunteer work with the street teams.
I arrive there at 6:30 pm, help the team with meal preparation for 150 persons in an industrial kitchen, and then pack everything and prepare the kits for distribution. In the period between 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm, we finish the preparation and then, at 9:00 pm, we take the institution van and make the distribution in different points of Porto. We already have a route defined and an estimated number of people that we help directly, and a part of this group counts on CASA support for a long period.
How is this experience helping you?
I learnt a lot from the experiences of some of the beneficiaries. This experience helped me compare different realities and consider some challenges and problems I face from another perspective. There is also a sensation of contributing to something bigger than us. We help more ourselves than these people that don’t have anything else regarding our support. We leave the shift with a feeling of mission accomplishment. It’s a rewarding experience without any doubt.
Besides your personal transformation, do you think that his experience brings benefits to your career?
Yes, certainly. After starting this volunteering experience, I see myself as a different professional. Now, I feel I’m more calm approaching daily challenges. I was an anxious person with small things at work before I started my collaboration with CASA. Now, I feel that I have a quieter approach and a better ability to recognize the real importance of each happening in the work environment.
Is there any particular message that you want to leave for World Humanitarian Day?I think that volunteering is something that we all should try at least one time in our lives. For example, I pass by several neighbourhoods while commuting during the day, but when we got there with CASA, during the night shifts, we see a different reality. It’s a real shock that we don’t see and is very close to us. We look around and see 50 people asking us for food in a debilitating condition. It would be good if we all know the differences that exist in our society.
It’s relevant to enhance that Ana Mota’s action in CASA already motivated a campaign at Fabamaq. We collected several goods (accessories and clothes) to deliver to the beneficiaries of the institution.
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